Plano Business Directory in 1870
Published in the Kendall County Record, May 12, 1870
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
Plano, Illinois, April 14, 1870. To the editor of the DeKalb News.
I presume it makes no difference to you how I got here nor do I suppose you care a cent how I get home or whether I ever do or not. However, here I am. I find myself very comfortably ensconced in Dixon's Hotel. Will you let me introduce you to Plano! Look out through the hotel windows. Do you see down to the left, across the green award of this open square, that substantial brick block? Across the railroad track from it is the mammoth elevator and Harvester factory with immense piles of lumber and machinery. Just across the street there are rows of stones and brick blocks. To the right of these you see many fine residences jotting what was to my certain knowledge prairie three years ago. Do those substantial, two-story white houses look as though they were built on the open common last year? Yes, you say truly, when you tell me Plano is a brisk looking place, as viewed from the hotel windows. Let me introduce you to a few of the personnel of this bright looking little town.
Mr. Dixon, the hotel landlord, knows as well as any man in this business how to prepare a good substantial supper and breakfast. A soft clean bed awaits you for a good night's sleep. This other gentleman who just came in is Mr. Dixon. Introduced you once did I? No I haven't, this is the other one, you must know it is the Dixon brothers that run the institution. To a stranger they look alike. When acquainted you will soon learn to tell them apart. They are matched like the Dutchman's horse, "one is willing to do all the work and the other is willing he should," only you don't know which is which.
Come; let's walk down the street. Here, look at the hotel outside. Fine brick building isn't it? In the basement you see a dining room, billiard room, and three nice storerooms. The first floor contains hotel parlors, office and three splendid storerooms beside the necessary (three) spacious stairways to ascend to the upper stories of the hotel. The upper stories contain the bedrooms and public hall, as well as the Masonic Lodge room.
Mr. J. H. Smith, who carries clothing, boots and shoes, occupies this store. Messrs. Eldridge and Lathrop, drugs and groceries occupy the rest of the building. Well filled aren't they?
As we go down the street we pass the post office occupied by Mr. H. E. Bullock as postmaster and real estate agent. A very obliging gentleman as you will learn if you but ask a favor of him. Here on the corner is the old Excelsior House, a very well kept hotel. We understand it is presided over by Mr. Barber. Across the street, in the wooden block, is Eldridge's grocery and provision store and Jenk's jewelry store. Do you see those gold fish in the glass receiver on J.'s showcase? He keeps them to sell. Only three dollars for those beautiful fish, and the glass aquarium complete. You couldn't catch bullheads in the Kishwaukee with a seine Saturday afternoon, for that money.
Come over to the corner in this beautiful brick block of three stores. In this one is W. C. Andrus' hardware and tinware. Hasn't he nice show windows and arranged very tastily too? Want to go in do you? Positively can't, haven't time.
Come across the railroad to the elevator, mill and Harvester factory combined in one building. Here you find Lew Steward and Company is building 800 harvesters. Pretty big job so everyone is pretty busy and we won't disturb them or their workmen. Do you notice the bookkeeper? The pensive looking chap with the moustache. Does he look like a warrior? Not much you say, but I can vouch to you that he was. In front of Mobil, I saw Lt. Frank Lull, aid-de-camp to General Veatch, now Adj. General of the State of Indiana, deliver an order to General Dennis. The shot and shell were flying so thick I dared not stand upright, let alone ride horseback. So you must know it was dangerous. But we must hasten.
Over across the street is Green and Clark's hardware store. In the next room we find Church and Givens unpacking a big stock of dry goods, boots and shoes. Charley just returned from New York and brought them with him. Not in his overcoat pocket but on a special train chartered for the occasion. We believe Charley is a scion of the senior member of your firm of Givens and Randall.
But step in next door and see, A. Benedict and Company's drugs and groceries. We knew Doc years ago when he was studying medicine up in Michigan. Knew him in war times to live in the same "dog tent" with your humble servant until we had encamped for five months of the rainy season in the metaire swamps of Louisiana. Doc lay with mud for the last two weeks wet to the skin and shaking with chills and fevers all the time. He didn't like the country, so he resigned and quit. He always was a hard chap to please. Mr. Moore, his partner, you will find affable, courteous and polite as well as a thorough businessman. In the back part of their store, A. N. Beebe, one of your subscribers, general insurance agent and Secretary of the Kendall County Agricultural Society may be found. He is a live, active, energetic worker.
Next door is the book room, business office and general headquarters of the Latter Day Saints led by Joseph Smith Jr. Up stairs is their publication the True Latter Day Saints Herald.