Volume Twenty-One

No. 3


September 1980



Celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Depot Museum's Grand Opening


Celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Depot Museum's Grand Opening in 1975 will be the topic of our next meeting of' the Historical Society on Sunday, October 5, 1980 at 2 p.m. at the Depot Museum.  


All members, friends, and guests of the Society are invited to attend.  A special program recalling the effort which brought about the moving of the Depot and its opening as a museum will be presented. This is an especially important topic because of all the history made in town during the 1970's, few events had more historical importance than the opening of the museum. It is important, believe it or not, that we get on record and tape now the memories of those who played an active role in the Depot project.  


Thus, we have asked several prominent Depot "movers" to recall their memories for us. Beyond the scheduled remarks, we hope that other members and friends of the Society will be willing to share with us their personal memories of this big event. A century from now a future generation will no doubt cherish a tape recording of the memories of one of Batavia's grandest moments. Slated to kickoff the afternoon's events will be some memorable names in Depot history:Phil Elfstrom will tell of the events and efforts which lead to some 20 businessmen buying the Depot to save it for Batavia.  


Dave Sawitoski shall share his memories of the thoughts and concepts discussed by a "Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee" which eventually recommended the Depot move. Walter Kauth shall provide some visual memories which will recall the clear October day in 1973 when the Depot moved across town. Dr. Lucile Gustafson says that she will relate "the marriage" which occurred between the historical society and the park district to make the Depot effort jell.  


She says she even plans to read from "our marriage contract." Carla Hill, current museum director, will tell a little about what the Depot has come to mean to Batavia in the way of relating history, greeting guests to the community, and being "a part of a grand civic spirit”  

Following remarks from these speakers, we hope members of the audience who have a special remembrance of the Depot project will share them with us. Former museum directors Pat Verderbar and Anne Alexander have been invited to share the day with us and Pat has already said she will be on hand. Refreshments for the afternoon celebration will be coordinated by Vice President Penny Tracy and her committee.


Remember, next meeting of the Society will be Sunday, October 5th at 2 p.m. at the Depot Museum, Houston and Water Streets. Carla is also promising a special display at the museum for this event.  



Celebration of the Depot's 5th anniversary brings to mind the thought of appreciation for all the long and dedicated hours of volunteer time which our members and friends put into keeping the doors of the museum open and friendly. Jean Conde coordinates the scheduling of volunteers on a monthly basis and her grand efforts along with all those who serve make the Depot a living example of history for all to see and appreciate. The Society shall always be in debt to the many friendly faces who represent us each week to the hundreds of visitors which pass through each year. Many thanks to "our volunteers" for giving of their time and energy in support of the Batavia Historical Society.




Director Carla reports that she is planning a "workshop" for all Depot volunteers to be held sometime in late October or early November, probably on a Saturday so that weekend volunteer will also be able to attend. One of the points to be covered will be a short, but informative, explanation of the Depot's burglar and fire alarm systems.  Also sought will be questions, criticisms, and comments on how the Depot can be made a better place. The plan of providing a lunch for those attending the "workshop" is also in the works. Volunteers will be contacted as to exact date and time.




Perhaps the big announcement to come from the Board of Directors latest meeting is that John Gustafson's book HISTORIC BATAVIA is being reprinted in total along with a 1962-1980 up-date in community history authored by Society president, Jeff Schielke with the help of many members and friends of the Society. A copy of John's history has not been available for sale since 1965 and there has been quite a call for them in recent years. Soldout for almost 15 years, we have a feeling that quite a few copies of John's book are desired. We have high hopes that the book will be back from the printer by early December and thus made available for Christmas presents this year.




John and Jeff have been putting their heads together in recent weeks to discuss what should be added to HISTORIC BATAVIA and they have fond hopes that the 2nd edition will be warmly received by the community. Finances for the book became available this year when the Society received a $5,000 gift from the estate of Harold Bunker, one of our most faithful members for many years. Mr. Bunker, a lover of books and libraries, will have his memorial gift acknowledged at the front of the new HISTORIC BATAVIA.  


It seemed like a fitting tribute by the board to use Mr. Bunker's gift in this respect given his love of books and history. Of even greater importance is that through the sale of the books, the Society hopefully will recapture Mr. Bunker's gift and be able to use it a second time for another project of benefit.  


The newest edition of HISTORIC BATAVIA will be professionally type set and will be available in both soft and hard cover. Hard cover copies will be several dollars more than soft covers because of the added binding cost with the book just about to be placed in the hands of the printer it looks as though the new edition of HISTORIC BATAVIA will run about 250 pages. More about the date the books will go on sale, etc. will be covered in our next newsletter. We are also happy to relate that a local business has already placed an order for the first $1,000 worth of the new edition of HISTORIC BATAVIA.




As most members of the Society are probably aware, we planted a small tree at the base of the Houston Street pond along side the Depot in August to commemorate the 90th birthday of John Gustafson. We wish to thank the park district maintenance staff and its .head, Chuck Kuhn for their cooperation in this project.  


We were sorry to hear that ill health has caused Elaine Cannon to be moved to the Michaelson House at Holmstad.  We would encourage everyone to remember Elaine with a card or note. Our project of gathering data on local persons is coming along fine.  In a week or so we shall have ready a form which we will ask members to fill out on themselves and their relatives who have lived in Batavia.  


The forms will all be compiled into a card index to be housed at the Depot.  The index, of which we already have about three hundred names on file through the research of John Gustafson, will be available for future use of persons tracing "their roots."  We want to thank Marilyn Robinson of the high school staff and our own Dr. Lucile Gustafson for their efforts in putting together a form on genealogy which we shall be using in this project.  


The summer months brought with it a visit from David Young, an administrator with the U.S. Armed Forces in Germany who was back in the U.S. on a visit.  Mr. Young was making a special stop in Batavia to look into his own family roots. He said he found a wealth of information here thanks in large part to the efforts of Eunice Shumway and Dr. Lucile.




Our next meeting will be Sunday, October 5, 1980 at the Depot Museum at 2 p.m.  

Please plan to attend and bring along a friend.