Volume Fourteen

No. 4


December, 1973

Published by the Batavia Historical Society


1f you have built castles in the air your work need not be lost; that is where they should be built; now put foundations under them. Thoreau




Sunday, December 2, 1973 at 3 P.M.

Bartholomew Civic Center


Christmas Musical Program

by the Junior High School
arranged by Mike Scardino and Mr. RotoloRefreshment committee: Mrs. Morris Larson, Mrs. Wm. Maddox, and Mrs. Martin Goers


Nominating Committee for Officers for 1974:


Mary Snow, Phil Carlson and Jeff Schielke.

A flag and alderman badges were given by the Mayor when city offices were moved recently.

Mrs. Hoover and Mrs. Barkdoll gave the society several interesting items to add to the museum materials.

Report on the moving of the Burlington Depot to its new location.


The society was sorry to learn of the death of Miss Viola McDowell and Carl Harrold.


The following article was written by Elsie Hunt, who now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She graduated from West Batavia High School in 1907 with Ruth Redborg Huxtable, William Davis, Brayton Weaver, Dr. Merrideth Mallory and nine others. Most of her life spent teaching in Evanston Schools.




In the early days Batavia Avenue was not paved, and so during the spring thaw and rains, mudholes made crossing difficult. No street cars, no automobiles, truly a country town. Huge wagons piled high with barrels and others with window and door frames from the Hartsburg and Hawksly Sash Factory in North Aurora rumbled past our gate. I never knew where the Cooper Shop was. Upon rare occasions a horse breeder led a beautiful dappled gray stallion along the road. I knew nothing about studs or horse breeding, but I admired that sleek, fat, prancy horse. Years later I paid money to see the famous Lipizzaners do their stuff. They too, were beautiful.

Once or twice a threshing machine thundered up the street, terrifying me almost to bits, lest that huge behemoth would run wild. With the coming of the paving, the street cars and the automobiles, the passing was a little dull. We did make scissors with pins on the street car tracks. We fished in the river. Never knew until a few years ago that our bull heads were a kind of catfish. Good eating they were. Skating and coasting were fun in the winter. 


I didn't have skates of my own. A neighbor boy lent me a pair of his and made small blocks of wood so that the clamps would hold, because heels on girls' shoes were smaller. Word went around in school after the first really cold snap in December, "The ice is safe. Goody!". The music hall on the island furnished entertainment of various kinds from time to time, some from outside, and some home talent and church sponsored.  


The best shows were the basketball games in the Methodist Gym, back of the Church. The rules have changed somewhat, but it still is a good game.  Now some of the players are giants, and the scores over 100. That's progress! The first library I remember was a large room on the second floor of the bank building.  Was slightly annoyed that my mother wouldn't let me read the Elsie Dinsmore books.When I finally did read some of them, I recognized them for the trash they really were. There were better stories in the Bible, even the bloody part of the Old Testament. E.M.H.