Volume Four

No. 2

April 1963
Published by the Batavia Historical Society

“In 1475 Florence was the most powerful state in Italy, a position it had gained over centuries of growth. It was characteristic of the city to have instructed the thirteenth century architect of its cathedral to design it 'to be worthy of a heart expanded to greatness, like that of the city's soul, the sum of the souls of all its citizens.”
- The Life of Michelangelo by Chas. H. Morgan.


SUNDAY, APRIL 21st, 1963 at 3:00 P.M.



BEGINNINGS OF OUR LIBRARY By Mrs. Carl W. Johnson, our Librarian.


By Mr. Amos Hartman, President of the Batavia Library Board.  This promises to be an interesting meeting.


We are grateful to the library for this opportunity to meet with them in their hall and to share their program. Truly the above quotation is true about our library, its Staff and its Board - it is “a heart expanded to greatness. "Our new, president, Oliver Freedlund, sends greetings to all members of the Batavia Historical Society. He asks for the cooperation of all members to make this one of our most successful years. There is much that the Society can do if we will to do it. It's up to you. We are initiating our new addressograph method of mailing out our newsletter this time.  Do we have your name and address right? We thank the Furnas Electric Company for their assistance. Your Board of Trustees met Friday evening, February 8, 1963.  

You'll hear the minutes read at the regular meeting but here, for your information, are the high points projected: Clare Kruger was made Chairman of the Membership Committee; Miss Eunice Shumway, Chairman of the Finance Committee; and Neal Conde, Chairman of the Publicity CommitteeThe dedication of the Louise White School Bell on its pedestal, will be in September. The Society meeting will be in the Louise White School, probably preceding the bell dedication. Neal Conde is in charge of this program. Wm. B. Benson is Chairman of the Research Committee.  There are several projects that this committee will undertake. These were discussed at length at the board meeting.

Do you have the answers? Who was John Karlson who made excellent violins here in the 1890's? Who was John Wahlgren who issued a Swedish paper called “The Posten” here in 1894?  Who has any information about James Latham? Mrs. Blanche Nelson and Mrs. Elaine Cannon have done a beautiful job in arranging the Earl C. Newton mementos in our cases in the Civic Center. Have you seen them? We are grateful to the Aurora Beacon-News and our reporter, Mrs. Don Johnsen, for publishing several articles about Historic Batavia; also to the Batavia Herald for publishing their column "From Our Early Files."

We have received the third lot of mementos from Edwin Parre which his father, L. A. Parre, had collected. We have also received a third allotment of items from the Earl Newton Estate. Our thanks for these gifts. We are most happy to announce that Bonnie Anderson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Anderson, and pupil in Mrs. Glen Riley's room in the McWayne School, is having an essay printed in the May issue of “Illinois History.”  

Her subject is “The Amish Religion in Illinois.” Paul Ross has written an article titled “The Batavia Institute” for the April issue of this magazine but was unsuccessful in getting it published.  It may appear later. Mrs. Riley is taking twenty students to a Regional meeting of Junior Historians in Elgin on April 27th. The Galena Historical Society will be host for the 1963 Spring Tour of the Illinois State Historical Society May 17, 18 and 19. Walking and riding tours of historic Galena's mines and museums will be a featured part of the program. This summer, if you have never done it before, visit some of the nearby museums - Aurora, St. Charles, Freeport, Graue Mill, Kankakee, Princeton, and Milton, Wisconsin. 

The latter museum is housed in a cement (grout) building built in 1844 and “is the only hexagonal historical landmark in the nation.” Some other places to visit are the Bishop Hill State Memorial; the Metamora State Memorial; the covered bridge north of Princeton just off of Route 26; the Illinois and Michigan Canal at Channahon; the locks at the Illinois State Park at Marseilles; Starved Rock Park; and the Father Marquette statue at Utica.

Then there are the Jubilee College State Memorial, Grand Detour, Galena, Prairie du Chien with its Villa Louis, in Wisconsin.  Other places in Wisconsin that are interesting are the Swiss Village in New Glarus, the old lead mining town of Mineral Point, Little Norway and the Octagon House at Watertown. Other towns in Illinois to visit are Princeton; Hennepin - the court house is a gem - Lemont, Romeoville and Lockport, all old canal towns. Little Rock and Maramech Hill, south of Plano, are historic but they are so close that we miss them. The latter was important enough to be recorded on the early Illinois maps made in France but now the hill is unmarked. 

Do you know what happened there?

Any of the above places can be covered in a “little holiday" of one day, over a weekend. Read up about these places before you visit them and they will mean much more to you.  By all means, take your children along and tell them the story behind the scene.  Illinois is as full of history as any other state in the Union.