Volume Twenty-Four

No. 1


Winter 1983



Please come to the first general meeting of the year.






DATE: Sunday, March 6, 1983

PLACE: The Holmstad,- Fabyan Parkway entrance

TIME: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.






Be one of the first Batavians to see this exciting multi-media history of our city filmed in "living color." The presentation begins with Batavia's past and then gives a panoramic view of life in Batavia, circa 1982.  "Batavia -- A Tribute To Its Time" was created by Robert Popeck, Tim Mair, Dennis Anderson, and Jeff Schielke.  We thank them for this unique birthday gift and hope you will bring family and friends to the March 6 meeting of our Society.


The following slate of officers were elected at the December meeting of the Society.  


President                     Leigh and Penny Tracy          

Secretary                     Mary Matteson                       

1 yr. terms Treasurer     Elliot Lundberg                        

Trustees                       Jean Conde                              

2 yr. terms                   William Wood    


Ed LaMotte and Walter and Georgene Kauth will continue as trustees, serving the second year of their term.  


The officers, with regret, have accepted the resignation of Earle and Lillian Horton as Vice-Presidents, which now leaves a vacancy on the board. If you are interested in applying for the rewarding position of Vice-President, please contact the Tracys (879-7429).



At the January board meeting, the officers unanimously voted to contribute $500 to the Sesquicentennial general fund, expressing support for Batavia's birthday celebrations.


Our own "Sesqui" projects include: * plaquing of 100-year-old buildings * participation in the July 4th Landmark Walk * restoration of the Coffin Bank * promotion of the book "Historic Batavia" * membership recruitment * sale of Depot Museum-Sesquicentennial keychains (delivery approx . mid-April)



On most Friday mornings, there is a hub of activity upstairs at the Depot Museum when Dorothy Hanson, Helen Anderson (Mrs. Ray), Marilyn Phelps, Jean Conde, and Penny Tracy meet for their weekly 4-hour work session.  


Under the professional guidance of Dorothy Hanson, the team of workers sort, catalog, type, mark, and store our Society's artifacts.  A current project is the cataloging and storing of photographs.  


The most difficult part is recognizing people and buildings.  The box labeled "to be identified" will soon be filled.  


Perhaps a "Picture Party" can be part of a future Historical Society meeting where members can aid in our search for names and places.  Any member wishing to help with this project (the books are next!) may join the Friday morning group.  


Please contact Dorothy Hanson (879-7492).


DO YOU HAVE A COPY?   Copies of Historic Batavia by John A Gustafson and Jeffery D. Schielke are still available. The paperback book sells for $7.50 and gives "a complete history of the city of Batavia, Illinois, from the first settler of this area up to the present year -- 1980."  The books are available at the Depot Museum or can be ordered through the Society by mail (please add $1.50 to cover handling and postage).  The books make wonderful gifts, too.



The following donations have been received and add to the wealth of our collection.  


1)  A letter to Mayor John Van Burton, City of Batavia, from L.B. Turner, Vice President, U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co., dated October 26, 1936; re: sewer connections. (discovered and saved by Walter Kauth)


2)  A $500 check from Elizabeth Hall (a director of the Furnas Foundation), "This gift comes to the Society because I love you (Lucile Gustafson) and know how much this worthwhile organization means to you."


3)  The Winter, 1983 edition of "Windmillers' Gazette" featuring Daniel Halladay and the "U.S." Windmills.  Many of the photographs shown are courtesy of the Batavia Historical Society. The issue includes an invitation to visit Daniel Halladay's town and gives a guide to Batavia's historic sites. We have purchased 200 copies of this issue and will sell them at the Museum.


4)  An old, wood desk chair believed to be from one of the local banks, for ultimate use in the restoration of the Coffin Bank. (discovered and saved by Georgene Kauth).


5)  A November, 1933 issue of "Household Management" published by the Household Journal Company, 45 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia, Illinois, Ellen H. Bjorseth, Editor.  The journal was "published monthly excepting for the months of May, June, July, August and September."  Subscription price: one year, 25¢.  (Sent to us by the Curator of the DeWitt Historical Society of Tompkins County, Ithaca, New York). Do any of you remember this journal or Ellen H. Bjorseth? And what did she do during those months?


6)  A copy of the 1860 Kane County Census (purchased by the Batavia Historical Society).


7)  A folding, wooden lap board used for a writing surface, complete with patent label dated August 18, 1874 -- inventor, John E. Cotton (given by Leigh and Penny Tracy).


8)  2 copies of "A Century of Grace: An Eternity in Glory" Immanuel Lutheran Church, Batavia, Illinois -- 1882 to 1982, centennial issues commemorating the 100th Anniversary of this church (given by Pastor Donald W. Moll).




We are just beginning to sort boxes of Historical Society files; clippings, and keepsakes and to catalog some wonderful treasures from the Gustafsons' personal belongings.  Included in this last category are some Boy Scout memorabilia (equipment catalogs and Scouting magazines).  


Organized in 1915, Troop #3 began with a few problems, according to John Gustafson: "Carl Aspen started a scout troop in St. Charles, the first one in the area. There were those who wanted to start a troop in Batavia, but eight boys were needed to start one, and there were only seven initially interested.  But then Arnold Gustafson (John's brother) was asked to join, and he became the needed eighth member. Arnold is the only member of that first troop still living." "The first leader of the group was Berthe Mann, but it was discovered that the Scouts wouldn't allow a female Scoutmaster. The boys asked Pastor Higginbotham of the Congregational Church, who agreed to become the first Scoutmaster of Batavia.” By 1917, Troop #3 had 27 Scouts. 


Another item given to the Museum, is described by Lucile Gustafson "as possibly being one of the most valuable possessions our Society has. The maps were bought years ago by my father." She is referring to 5 sheets which comprise the Sanford Fire Maps of downtown Batavia, as drawn in October, 1885.


The maps give the following description of Batavia:



Population --- 4,000

No Steam and 1 Hand Engine

No Independent Hose Carts

Water Facilities --- Not Good

Prevailing Winds --- W. & S.W.


The maps are drawn to a scale of 50' to an inch, and inventory existing buildings and their uses. The maps are particularly detailed for industrial buildings.  An example is the Newton Wagon Company; the map details the equipment inventory, the scale of rooms, the hose connections, the indoor wood storage areas, and the outdoor lumber piles. We are very fortunate to have such a valuable resource which allows us to see our city as it stood 100 years ago. We plan to preserve and display these maps in the near future.


The following letter is from someone who had a February birthday. A copy of the original was found in a file folder. You will recognize the name. Springfield, May 1, 1860 T.C. Moore, Esq. Dear Sir I now find it will be impossible for me "to be with you on the 5th. I regret this; but I am not personally very prepossessing; and our good friends in Kane, as elsewhere, have seen all my thoughts on paper; ever hence they will not be much the losers.


Yours truly A. Lincoln










Back in the nineties, each city, town or village boasted of its fine residences, which were referred to proudly as show places.  So in 1894, when material was being gathered for the publication of the Batavia edition of the "Headlight," nothing would do but that the photographer had to come to Batavia, drive up and down the streets with his horse and buggy, and decide which homes were suitable for reproduction in that esteemed publication.  And the photographer set his instrument in front of eleven Batavia homes, threw a big black cloth over his head, looked thru the glass to see

that he had his victim spotted, muttered a few words about looking pleasant and snapped his history making pictures.  Above we print the results of that afternoon's work on Batavia streets. Many of these homes are easy to recognize.  The J. P. Prindle home is now the Hollister Funeral Home.  The Captain D. C. Newton home is now the Batavia Public Library.  If the fence were removed, the H. K. Wolcott home would look very much the same as it does to day.  The other homes are the Oscar Anderson, corner of W. Wilson and  Jackson street, now occupied by the son, W. L. Anderson; the Wm. Van Nortwick Dome, occupied by Mr. and Mrs. John Van Nortwick; the E. W. McCullough home on North Batavia avenue; the Geo. Spooner home on Main street, west of Washington street; the Wm. T. Pratt home on First street, occupied by the James Sayers family; the Geo. H. Burnett home on S. Batavia avenue, now occupied by the L. D. Cronk's; the F. E. George home on N. Prairie, now occupied by the Hoag's, and the John A. Anderson home on McKee street in which Mrs. J. A. Anderson still lives.





Please keep my membership current. Dues for 1983 are enclosed.


NAME:       _________________________________________

ADDRESS:  ______________________________________

CITY:        __________________

STATE:      ____

ZIP:         _______




Single: $ 3

Tandem: $5

Sustaining: $10

Life: $50