Volume Five

No. 3  


September, 1964

Published by the Batavia Historical Society


One of America's angry writers, Eric Sevareid, recently predicted that our last frontiers of serenity and space will disappear "unless we learn, as the English have learned, that progress has to be defined to mean preserving and cherishing as well as changing and improving." - Stewart L. Udall, Secretary of the Interior








by Arnold P. Benson



by Arthur V. Perry, Superintendent of Schools.


Bruce G. Paddock will be in charge of the meeting. On February 10 and 11, 1915, the Women's Club dedicated the High School Auditorium.  On March 29, 1915 the present High School building was officially dedicated.  Thus, next year we will celebrate the Semi-Centennial of its dedication. Also, on November 16, 1914, the first Parent-Teachers' Association was formed in the Central (McWayne) School.  The next day, a similar organization was started in the Louise White School. The Society is saddened by the loss of two of its members recently.  Our sympathy goes out to the families of Mrs. Frank P. Smith and Guy Conde. Mrs. Frank Smith was reporter for the Aurora Beacon-News from 1918 to 1962, 44 years.  


She was always interested in Batavia and its history.  We owe her a debt of gratitude for putting this history on paper for future generations to read.  Her energy and diligence made her a remarkable person. Guy Conde came out to see me on November 17, 1961.  Miss Eunice Shumway brought him out.  He told me a lot about Batavia at that time that I wanted to know.  It may be that sometime I’ll have room in the Newsletter to tell you some of his memories that I have in sixteen pages of notes.  May I just touch on some of the interesting stories that he told me then? C. B. Dodson owned the farm where the Fabyan Forest Preserve is now.  


When he sold out and moved to Geneva, he moved some of the big trees on the farm to Geneva.  He took these trees across our stone bridge because, either the steel bridge in Geneva was not strong enough or the passageway wasn't large enough to allow the trees to pass through. Also he said that circuses in Geneva and Aurora, in the early days, came to Batavia to cross the Fox River.  Elephants wouldn't cross a steel bridge with loose plank flooring such as in Geneva and Aurora, but had no qualms about crossing our stone bridge. In 1897 Guy and Harry Belding bought the Batavia Steam Laundry, which I think was on the Island.  In 1901 Guy was sole owner and later sold it to the late Frank P. Smith.  In 1909 he was secretary of the Batavia Plumbing and Heating Co.  


During the early years of Mooseheart, he helped in its development and installed plumbing and heating in the various buildings. Since our last report, we have received gifts from the following donors: Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hendrickson, Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Wynn, Mr. Millet, Mrs. Elsie Cleland, Mrs. Jennie Prince, Mr. John Van Nortwick and Mr. and Mrs. Orman Barkdoll.  We thank all of these people for their generosity and kindness in remembering the Society. One of the surprises inherent in belonging to the Illinois State Historical Society is to receive a book bonus every once in a while.


Recently we received a copy of "Legends and Lore of Southern Illinois" by John Allen.  This is an absorbing book, well written by one who knows southern Illinois intimately.  I wish someone would write about northern Illinois in like manner.


The annual dues of $5.00 are nominal when the rewards received from joining are considered. Jake Feldman and Raymond Patzer are in Community Hospital at this writing.  We wish them both a speedy recovery. Mrs. H. N. Jones, chairman of the Committee working on the "Then and Now” book says that Mrs. Pauline Campbell and Frank Elwood are taking the "Now" photos to match the "Then” photos which have been selected. Mrs. Ben Limbaugh and her committee are working on the museum question.  They have several sites in view, but how to finance any of them is the big problem. The cases in the Civic Center are being changed to school memorabilia to supplement our September program.

Dues are due.  


Now is a good time to pay up if you haven't already done so. Does anyone know the present whereabouts of the Fred S. Milne family?  I have an inquiry from Wheaton for their present address.  If you know, please notify John A. Gustafson. The museum for the Geneva Historical Society has been started.  They plan a beautiful building in Wheeler Park.