When was the last time Chicago witnessed a total solar eclipse?

Dear Tom,
When was the last time Chicago witnessed a total solar eclipse? My sister says we saw one as children in Kankakee. When was that?
—Pat Beck
Dear Pat,
It was more than three decades before Chicago became a city when this area came within a whisker (99.9 percent) of a total solar eclipse — June 16, 1806, with totality observed southward into central Illinois. Your sister did not witness a total solar eclipse, but she might be recalling the June 30, 1954, solar eclipse that brought the Kankakee region about an 88 percent obscuration. That eclipse peaked shortly after sunrise, but was barely visible due to extensive cloud cover. Another possibility might be March 7, 1970, when a midday eclipse blotted out nearly three-quarters of the solar disk on a generally clear day that provided excellent viewing conditions.
Three decades before Chicago became a city, this area came within a whisker (99.9 percent) of a total solar eclipse — June 16, 1806.