"THIS is downtown Kankakee today - a teeming area of people and automobiles. 

       Retailers, catching the fever that produced civic improvements such as new street lighting and parking areas, have turned the city's business streets into a lineup of gleaming storefronts, highlighted by new buildings.

     The view at right, looking east, shows how the aging countenance of Court st. looks after its face lifting. Below is a photograph of the approximate same section of Court st. as it looked when the city was a quiet village in 1908."



Kankakee at Home 

LEFT - A. O. Smith Co., makers of water heaters. RIGHT - Herschel Owensby checks dogs on special dog food diets at Gaines Research. 

"A Town that Refused to Retire"

"EVERY resident of the city - from the old-timers relaxing (above right) at Schuyler and Court to F.R. Henrekin, secretary of the chamber of commerce, and Mayor Albert F. Hattenburg (above left) - is a Kankakee booster. 

     They are all proud of their 'wonderfully diversified economy.' Asphalt tile, dog food, farm machinery, fishing bait and furniture are just some of the products supplied to the country by industrious Kankakeeans." 

"AFTER their day's work is done and the stores have closed, the people of Kankakee retreat to their homes just a block or two away. Sticking their metal fingers skyward above the frame dwellings and green trees are hundreds of television antennae. They are hoisted as high as 60 feet to pick up images from Chicago station.          RIGHT - Birthplace of late Gov. Len Small, in 20 acre Len Small Memorial Park, is a shrine"

"RIGHT is an aerial view of the little giant of the prairies showing the business section and the wooded residential areas that surround it."

"SOME 60 miles south of Chicago lies Kankakee. This home of 26,000 ambitions and prideful citizens was once destined to be a retired farmers' town- casual and carefree. But among its citizenry were fellows with ideas. In 1937 and 1938, they started it growing. Today it is a driving, bustling town, full of plans and progress. 

      Yet, no matter how busy a town becomes with present and future building, there's always time for a leisurely chat. Leaning against a railing of the Court St. Bridge over the railroad tracks, Hiram C. Russell shares ideas with bright youngster Ronnie Friego."


This article was originally seen in the Chicago Daily News May 24, 1952. All text has been reproduced in a digital layout.

"ON the dividing line, where city and rich farmlands meet, is the huge plan of the Florence Stove Co., 2207 W. Station."

Little Giant Prairies of the Kankakee

"RIGHT - One of the city's public institutions is Kankakee State Hospital. LEFT - Beyond the six square miles of city are flat farm lands - among the leaders in corn production in the nation. Alene Bilyard helps her dads hired hand, Paul Pallissard, bring a black Angus bull to the barn."

Its Industry and Its Pride

Kankakee's People