The Northern Almanac

WNIJ’s history correspondent, Clint Cargile, narrates 90-second segments featuring key moments from NIU since its founding 125 years ago. This segment, called The Northern Almanac, will air every Monday during Here & Now at 12:31 and All Things Considered at 6:18 p.m. starting February 3rd.

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary.

 

Thousands of listeners tune in daily to Northern Public Radio stations WNIJ and WNIU. Northern Public Radio started in 1954 when WNIU began broadcasting from a tiny 10-watt station on DeKalb’s College Avenue. It aired campus events and music for only a few hours a day. According to local legend (and some of the people who actually worked there), the first words broadcast over the air were “Sh**! It didn’t work.” 

 

 

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary. 

 

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Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary.

 

The Northern Almanac Ep. 12 - 'Leslie A. Holmes'

Apr 20, 2020

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary.

 

Leslie A. Holmes became Northern’s fifth president in 1949. A native of Freeport, Illinois, Holmes loved nature, studied geology and geography, and had done a stint as a geologist for an oil company. Before leading Northern, he was a popular professor at Illinois State University. 

 

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary.

 

While we celebrate NIU’s 125th anniversary, we also must note that it is the 80th anniversary of NIU’s athletic mascot, the Huskie. But the mascot wasn’t always the Huskie. 

 

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary. 

The Northern Almanac Ep. 9 - 'World War II'

Mar 30, 2020

 

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary.

 

The Northern Almanac Ep. 8 - 'The Great War'

Mar 26, 2020

When the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, Northern’s enrollment was 424 women and 58 men. By the fall of 1918, enrollment plummeted to 223 women and no men. Many male students enlisted, some were drafted, while others left to tend family farms or provide other services for the war effort. Several male faculty and staff also enlisted. There was no football team from 1917 to 1919. Nearly the entire baseball team enlisted as a unit in the Hospital Corps of the 129th Infantry. 

 

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary. I'm Clint Cargile.

Fanny Ruth Patterson from Hinckley, Illinois was the first African-American student to graduate from Northern. When she completed her two year degree in 1915, President John Cook wrote her a letter of reccomendation to the St. Louis school system where she had applied for a teaching job.

The Northern Almanac Ep. 6 - 'The Lagoon'

Mar 9, 2020
WNIJ

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary. 

One of most prominent features on the Northern Illinois campus is the East Lagoon. But did you know that it is not even a natural landmark? 

Welcome to the Northern Almanac, the WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU’s 125th anniversary. This week we’re going to look at how NIU continually took steps to distinguish itself as a comprehensive school offering a multitude of opportunities to its students.

Welcome to the Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU’s 125th anniversary.

This week, we're going to cover a few topics, starting with Northern's marching band. Now nearly 200 members strong, the marching band started in 1899 with just 14 young men. They weren't really a marching band back then, but they provided the musical backdrop for football games, pep rallies, and socials. By the 1930s, the band began to resemble the modern-day ensemble, taking the field at halftime in parade formation. 

Northern Almanac Ep. 3 - 'The Northern Illinois'

Feb 17, 2020

Welcome to the Northern Almanac, the WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU’s 125th anniversary.

Before the first classes started at Northern Illinois State Normal school in 1899, a faculty committee headed by professor Fred Charles organized the first student publication, a monthly magazine called, appropriately, ‘The Northern Illinois’. They produced 1,500 copies of the inaugural issue for the school’s September opening. 

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU’s 125th anniversary.

When it opened on September 11, 1899, Northern Illinois State Normal school had 173 students made up of 146 women and 27 men, and as long as they committed to teaching for a time in Illinois schools they paid no tuition.

Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary. Our first installment tells the story of how barbed wire brought Northern Illinois University to DeKalb.