Volume Six

No. 3 


October 1965

Prepared by John Gustafson




"The very things that Americans adore abroad they destroy systematically at home. Old buildings are broken up in the United States as fast as used packing boxes to make way for new ones.  The loss we endure is not merely sentimental. What we lose is our funded experience."


"Architecture is an art whose masterpieces cannot be stored away like paintings or reproduced centuries later like music. The art lives on in used buildings; they alone can carry it.  Without them we are perpetual juveniles, starting over and over, a people without a memory."

- Editorial in Architectural Forum, reprinted in the Readers Digest for December 1957.





SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1965 at 3:00 P.M.











Remember the meeting we had in February of 1961 called "Among My Treasures?" Many people brought their most prized possession of historic interest, displayed it and then talked about it. There were so many treasures that we ran out of time. We hope that this will happen this time.  Bring one of your mementos to “show and tell."  The success of the meeting depends on you.



The booklet, "Batavia, Illinois Past and Present," consisting of 52 pages and 103 photographs, will be presented for sale at $2.00 at this meeting. It portrays our town as it was almost 100 years ago together with some of the changes which have been made. The old pictures were furnished by members and friends of the society, and the present ones were taken by Mrs. Pauline Campbell and Franklin Elwood. Mrs. Campbell even risked climbing the aerial ladder belonging to the Batavia Fire Department to obtain the present picture for the cover.


The members of the committee who have spent considerable time in selecting the pictures and preparing the captions are Mrs. Horace Jones, Miss Eunice Shumway, Mrs. Pauline Campbell, Mrs. Michael Schomig, Mrs. Mary Williams, Philip Carlson, Franklin Elwood, J. Harrold Blair and John Gustafson.


We had an attendance of seventy at our June meeting which was excellent considering the extremely hot and humid weather we had at that time.


A short entertainment feature preceded the main program furnished by three girls from the Batavia High School. Then our President, J. Harrold Blair, discussed Batavia's main industry until the turn of the century, "Windmills.” Refreshments were served by a committee headed by Mrs. Ben Limbaugh.


We are saddened by the passing of Mrs. Bertha Rowland, Mrs. Frank (Ruth Ballard) Nelson, Mr. William Bowron, Mr. Jacob Feldman, and Mr. Edwin M. Parre. These people were all greatly interested in our society and we will miss them.


Mementos have been received from the following friends: Harold E. Gleason, Aurora; the Geneva Historical Society; Edwin M. Parre; Mrs. Margaret B. McGee, Oberlin, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Mason; Ed. G. Kuhn, Warrenville; Mr. and Mrs. Carl Hendrickson, Mrs. Edward Ross; T. L. Popeck, St. Charles and Harrold Blair.


Two books that every local historian should enjoy are in our Public Library. “The Thin Gold Watch" by Walter S. J. Swanson is the story of the newspaper Copleys. The second book is “The Burlington Route" by Richard C. Overton. This book includes the story of the Aurora Branch, later the Burlington, our east side branch. The presidency of John VanNortwick is discussed in detail. He served the road through the depression of 1857 and through the trying years of the Civil War until 1865.


Have you realized that we do not have a Lincoln Street or Avenue in Batavia at the present time? The late Bill Bowron called my attention to that fact and said he thought it a shame that our greatest Illinoisian was not represented in our street names. At one time Mallory Avenue was Lincoln Avenue and Van Nortwick Avenue was Douglas Avenue. We suppose that the desire to honor our local men warranted the changeover. But subdividers should keep this in mind; our next street should be named Lincoln.

We have not emphasized money gifts to our society as memorials for our deceased members. We recently received a donation in memory of Mrs. Frank Nelson.


We thank all of you who contributed information about telephone operators in Batavia exchanges for the Chicago and the Interstate Telephone Co’s. Ray Patzer has appreciated receiving this information for his story of the telephone companies which he is writing.


We asked Mrs. McGee when she brought her mementos to us recently if she knew definitely and positively if President Lincoln visited her great-Grand-father Judge S. D. Lockwood when he lived here. She said, “No”, but it is a family tradition that he did.”


Have you visited the Geneva Historical Society Museum in Wheeler Park? It's a beautiful building and Mrs. Allan, Miss Mary Wheeler and Frank Jarvis and others have done an excellent job in arranging the exhibits.


Batavia has lost some old building recently in the name of progress. Some of the buildings won’t be missed too much, but some of us old-timers have grieved over the razing of the old H. K. Wolcott (Earl Nelson) home.  We remember it as it was so beautifully kept up by the Wolcotts. It was a proud building and was so well built that it resisted demolition. These buildings of distinction are being torn down and many times jerry-built, poorly designed structures are put up in their place. Who would want these replacements to endure?


This is the first time since we have issued these newsletters that we have used a quote at our masthead the second time, but it seemed so appropriate at this time.


Following are some of the requests for information that we have received.  We have answered them to the best of our ability.


Oak Lawn Public Library, Oak Lawn, Illinois, wanted information about the type of materials we collect and the manner in which they are preserved.


A man from Chicago about Charles Wheaton, especially his connection with the 1870 Illinois Constitutional Convention.


A man from Joliet about the David Bristol and the William Clark families.


A lady from West Chicago called and wanted information about the Alcott and Root families. These families lived in St. Charles but had friends in Batavia.


Mrs. Schroeder who wanted to know about the Col. Joseph L. Lyon family, sent us money for two history books and one year's membership.


Our thanks to Harold Bunker, LaFox, for letting us copy the names of customers, items and prices from the day-books of John·McGuire.  He had a blacksmith shop here on N. River Street in the 1870’s.


Do you remember Bill Sandell, Hilding Streed and Harry Strain, old-time Batavians? We have received letters from the first two and Harry Strain and Mrs. Strain brought some mementos for the society as they were passing through on their way east.  After going through New England, they were going south to Athens, Georgia to see Clarence Jones.


Have you paid your 1965 dues? Our treasurer, Ray Patzer, will even accept your 1966 dues.


Have you asked your friends to join our society? Dues are only $1.00 per year.


Mrs. Horace Jones and Mrs. Mary Ann Judd have had a siege in the hospital but they are now coming along nicely.


We will look forward to seeing you on Sunday -- Come join the fun and bring your friends!