Dozens killed, injured in Pekin corn plant explosion

How Time Flies is a daily feature looking back at Pantagraph archives to revisit what was happening in our community and region. 

100 years ago

Jan. 4, 1924: Dozens were killed and cleanup efforts still underway after an explosion at the Corn Products Company plant in Pekin. The blast blew out the walls and buried men — there were 72 workers in the plant at the time — beneath tons of debris, with many left badly burned. “The horrors of war that you read about cant begin to compare with the awfulness of this thing,” said Dr. Harold Vonachen, one of the first Peorians called to aid the injured. 

75 years ago

Jan. 4, 1949: The arrest here Monday of a Rockford man who has been writing threatening letters to President Truman, since his escape from Elgin state hospital last summer, ended an intense search by secret service agents. He was arrested Monday morning at Union Bus station.

Jan. 4, 1974: Downtown Normal may well be the best site for a new Amtrak passenger station for McLean County, Bloomington Mayor Walter Bittner said Friday. But he will not support such a site until all possible locations are explored.

25 years ago

Jan. 4, 1999: Beginning today, parents who want information about a daycare center’s track record can call a toll-free number established by the state. The system is intended to make it easier for parents to find out if a facility, either in a school-like setting with dozens of children or an in-home facility that accepts just a handful, has had any substantiated complaints with the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services. 

Compiled by Pantagraph staff 

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