We have examined Malta at its origin, its life in the 1880’s, its big fire, life at the turn of the century; now to complete our story we need to examine its recent past, present, and future.
Malta has always been rather progressive. A prime example is the section of concrete highway built on present Route 38 at the edge of Malta. We wrote of this in a separate story in Midweek. What made this unique was the fact that the work was primarily done by local subscription, and at the completion in October, 1914, was one of the first pieces of concrete road in the United States.
A water system was installed in 1915 and a sewer system was completed in 1979. Few new homes were constructed during the 1920’s and 1930’s but the end of World War II saw sudden expansion. The year 1955 brought a block of National Homes constructed between Fifth and Sixth Streets. The following year saw the two blocks south of these covered with new homes by a DeKalb builder.
A new high school was soon constructed, and a suburb, not a part of the town knows as Davis Drive, sprang up just to the west.
Two things have tended to bring a measure of prosperity and home building to Malta. The expansion of NIU, and the construction of Kishwaukee College at its doorstep. If a door to door canvas were conducted a very large percentage of Malta’s resident would be found employed at one or the other of these two educational institutions. This tends to make Malta a bedroom community much as some Chicago suburbs.
Still it is a very advanced farming center, and an old 1910 photo showing lines of wagons waiting to unload at the grain elevators will shortly be duplicated again this fall with the chief difference being tractors for horses.
If any doubt exists on Malta’s advanced farming, we need only to look back to the 1975 Farm Progress Show held on the James Willrett farm. This drew approximately three hundred visitors from all parts of the world.
The last few years have also seen the construction of a modern new bank building with drive up faculties. A new post office was recently constructed and a Laundromat came to downtown Malta a few years ago.
Several years back Dr. Chet Palmer and Dr. Bill Augustine started the construction of a new animal hospital between Malta and Davis Drive. The doctors deal with both live stock and small animals and frequently are out on farm calls.
New the animal hospital at the edge of Malta is the recently opened Peterson TV sales. This had the largest TV showroom in the area with their own service department.
Otterbine Industries opened in Malta a few years back, manufacturing a line of jet pumps for water aeration. Many of these were sold to fish farms in the south and even abroad, to fish farms and salt ponds in Israel. Rodale Press purchased Otterbine, and moved the company to Pennsylvania.
The newest light industry in Malta is K.E.I. This is an assembly plant for exhaust fans and is located on the main street at 115 S. Third. The K.E.I. stand for Klein Environment Inc.
A number of other businesses in Malta keep many people busy. Bob Kyler Excavating has an extremely large operation with much equipment. Also in Malta are a number of building contractors, trucking companies, painting and electrical contractors, auto repair shops, stores, welding shops, a landscape company, beauty shops, auto sales establishment, a custom jewelry, greenhouse, screw products industry and a gun repair shop.
The many secret societies of by gone years are no long in Malta, but among the organizations still existing, the Lions Club is very active. All of the various projects undertaken by this group are for the benefit of others. Many are visible in Malta such as the street signs and tennis court.
The Women’s Club has a new project in beatifying the lawn around the new post office.
A volunteer fire department in Malta has good equipment and shelter with a modern ambulance manned with EMTS.
Our prediction on Malta’s growth would see building in a north westerly direction toward Kishwaukee College, with a considerable population increase in the years to come.