Volume Twelve

No. 4


December: 1971



Disdain for history is symptomatic of the malaise of today’s youth culture and the larger society which nurtured it. Resenting death we murder time.  Almost too late we see that what we have slain is not time but our sense of ourselves as humans.  To reject the past is to deprive today of its meaning tomorrow.  To evade the significance of time is to empty life of its significance.  It is that meaninglessness which pervades this age of instant gratification and instant results and permanent dissatisfaction.


Editorial "The Death of Time" - - - New York Times










Mr. Charles Christiansen, social studies teacher, will speak Miss Vanderlaan, speech teacher, will prepare one or two students to present a skit or reading relative to Christmas. The Junior High School Orchestra directed by Mr. Williams, will present a program.Sounds like an excellent program.  Refreshments will be served by Mrs. Douglas Hoover, Mrs. Willard Eckblade and Mrs. Russell Nelson.

The Nominating Committee to select next years officers has been appointed.

The art exhibit at our September meeting was a grand success thanks to the sponsorship of Mrs. Marge Rundle:  program topic was “Batavia Art and Artists, Past and Present.”  It was a pleasure to meet some of the former Batavians now living out of town, and to see their art work.  Of course, we always feel proud of our present and past people and to see their work.  We trust that mere Batavians will become art devotees. We are making as complete a list as we can of artists in Batavia. including painters, sketchers, wood carvers: leather and cloth workers, etc.  This last meeting, with its artists, helped immensely.


The Batavia Chamber of Commerce has turned over three inquirers for information to us.  A Florida man wanted to know about Hicks, Fredendall.  A Chicago woman asked for information about George B. Moss, Thomas Moss and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph J. Minium.  Then a man called from Denver, Colorado for a history of the Newton Wagon Company.  We were able to help all three inquirers.

Our efficient, conscientious Membership Chairman has had to relinquish that position.  Thanks, Sadie Lundberg - so temporarily send your dues for 1971 or 1972 to Neal Conde, Jr., 210 N, Washington, Batavia, Illinois 60510.  If there is any question about your dues, call 879-5982.  


Dues may also be mailed to P.O. Box 15, Batavia, Illinois. Since completing our last Newsletter, we have received artifacts from the following people. Roy Weaver; Duane Treest; Mrs. Donald Joy, Aurora, Mrs. Joy gave us a photograph album that she found in her attic.  The photographs were not identified.  She thinks this album belonged to a Batavian because most of the photos were taken by early Batavia photographers.  It will be on display at our December meeting. Being an officer in most organizations is a thankless job - it means a lot of work, much thought and some fault-finding by a few individuals.  


That holds true of our own officers.  We appreciate what they have done and we thank them for the deep concern the out-going officers have had for "the good of the order.” We do thank the Furnas Electric Co for printing, folding and addressing our Newsletters.  Usually Harold Patterson has clipped and stamped them, along with his manifold duties as Program Chairman. Next year, 1972, will be an important year for Batavia with its many centennial celebrations.  It will also be the 100th anniversary of our big factory fire on March 10, 1872 and a lesser factory fire on December 23.  More about these next year. We will have a few of our Society's factory group photos on display at our December meeting with a sheet attached to each picture on which you can write down the names of  the employees you recognize, please.  We have a total of 22 group photos, all different, so this work of identification will have to be carried over several meetings.  We will start with the Challenge Company employees.




We received the Letter or Discontinuance of the Post Office of Bald Mound, Illinois discontinued February 28, 1905, from Melvin Rasmussen.  Envelopes, postcards and postal cards of these Discontinued Post Offices (DPO) are valuable.  If you have any of them, don’t destroy them.  It looks also as if in a short time there will be no physical Bald Mound.  Trucks are hauling it to the NAL site as fast as they can. According to Ferslew's Kane County Directory and Gazetteer, 1857, the following were the Post Offices in Kane County at that time:  





Big Rock

Blackberry (now Elburn)


Clintonville (now South Elgin)




Grouse (NW Corner Sugar Grove Twp,)  



Kings Mill

Lodi Station (now Maple Park)


North Plato

New Virgil

Rutland St. Charles

Sugar Grove

Udina (Plato Twp.)


How many of these Post Offices have been discontinued?

We wish you, one and all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR




I was interested in Stewart Udall’s article on windmills in the April issue of Reader's Digest. I had previously seen that term that he uses, in some other article.  This was Zero Environmental Impact (ZEI). In my last letter to Robert T. Clifton, Texas, who is writing a book on windmills, I said, "Both wind and water power mills have Zero Environmental Impact. There is no coal, gas, electricity or atomic power used; the power comes from the wind or water, therefore is free and there is no pollution of anything."  We can't go back to that era I know, but I think it's worth considering: for instance, that the Fox River furnished the industries in Batavia with at least 500 horsepower of free energy for many years.  What would that power cost today with increasing costs of power and the present concern about pollution. Water power was the reason Batavia was settled on the Fox River.  A saw mill and a grist mill operated by the river were our first industries.  Levi Newton was thinking "water power" when he came here to plan his wagon factory.  He sat on a rail fence on the north side of Wilson Street, on the Island, considering where he could best build his shops so that he could construct his wagons in the most expeditious way.  


They say that the Island north of Wilson Street was a wheat field and, in this field, he envisaged the location of his office, the wood room, his blacksmith shop, paint shop and other buildings that he would need.  He planned all this before a stone was laid. THE NEED FOR MUSEUMS“. . . . the past of the modern world is short.  The names of yesterday's heroes lay with yesterday's torn newspapers.  They have served their purpose and were now forgotten.”  The above quote is from The Firmament of Time by Loren Eiseley. That's why we need organizations like the GAR, American Legion and the V. of FWs to perpetuate the memory of the heroes who have gone before and now compel us to remember the price in suffering they have paid for our continuing freedom. That is why we need organizations like museums to collect memorabilia of time and scenes long past to call to memory how our parents and grandparents lived.  It is so easy to forget that we didn't always have automobiles, paved streets, telephones, central heating plants, electric lights, gas stoves, television and a thousand and one other things which we think are indispensable today.  Do you remember the wood and coal cook stove and when the old base burner was used for heating?  They had to be set up every fall and taken down every spring and do you remember the “chilblains” we had every winter as we warmed our wet shoes on brackets on the stove?  That was before the days of inside plumbing and all that that implies.

John mentioned that 1972 would be important for Centennial celebrations, but in the month of November the Evangelical Covenant Church will observe a Centennial Memorial and also lay their new cornerstone.  The McKee Street (Swedish) Methodist Church is 100 years old and the United Methodist Church 135. If there are any other anniversaries, just contact our Historian, John Gustafson. We appreciate the support of all the members, even if you are unable to attend our Quarterly programs. Neal Conde, Jr., may have some definite plans for our Museum, which will be in the “Q” Depot, to present at our December 5th meeting. Some Batavia history for 1971 . . . . on or near Wilson Street - New Park District office in Civic Center and reorganization of the Huddle.  A new Import Distribution Center in the relocated Barber Shop who moved to the bottom of Wilson St. hill; also a change in tenants in the Anderson Bldg. by the Beauty parlor relocating.  A change in Junior High by the 9th graders moving to the new addition at the High School.  New tenants and/or change in owners in the old theater building.  


The People's Place, or Youth Center in old Body Company building.  Horizons Unlimited in Body Company Bldg.  Gossard outlet in Erday's building and, Operation School Clothes upstairs, sponsored by the churches of Batavia - Phipps did a big internal remodeling - Scott Art & Print Shop moved several doors West - the barber shop enlarged its business, a new leather crafts shop - Anderson has big remodeling plans, a new art shop just north of Wilson Street a remodeled front porch on Holy Cross parsonage.  There are many other changes and improvements which we haven't mentioned; in 100 years this will be ancient history.  Will these all succeed economically?  Will we contribute as much to their success as they will to our needs and welfare? We look backwards at disappointments, broken hearts and great achievements and proceed forward, over uncertain paths, with confidence gained from experience and faith in the future. H. O. Patterson