Volume Seven

No. 1 

                                                                                                            

March 1966

Published by the Batavia Historical Society

 


"America stands today poised on a pinnacle of wealth and power, yet we live in a land of vanishing beauty, of increased ugliness, of shrinking open spaces, and of an overall environment that is diminished daily by pollution and noise and blight."

 

Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall in "The Quiet Crisis." 

 

NEXT MEETING

SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 1966

AT THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH PARLORS

 

PROGRAM

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

"STAGECOACHES - MID-WESTERN STYLE"- Mr. Robert Barclay

 

 

Following is the slate of nominees for offices of the Batavia Historical Society as proposed by the Nominating Committee - these, or others, to be voted on at the April 17th meeting:

 

Miss Eunice Shumway

Mrs. C. J. Kruger

Miss Joanne Kane

Ralph C. Benson

Philip B. Carlson

Stanley Lenart

President

Vice President

Secretary

Treasurer

Trustee for Two Years

Trustee for Two Years


 

Young Ben Limbaugh and his associates were in charge of the program in December titled "Memories of a 19th Century Christmas." We are glad that the young people are taking an interest in helping us with our programs and we thank them for this interest.

 

We have received mementos recently from Francis J. Carr, Mrs. Dorothy Ann Miller, Miss Evelyn Anderson and Walter Johnson. Our thanks to these friends for their gifts.

 

We are most happy that some of the pupils of Stanley Lenart have entered essays about our Library in the May issue of Illinois History. Some of our Batavia pupils have taken advantage of this opportunity previously to write for this magazine. We hope that more of our young people will do so in the future.

 

The following is a quote from the Director's Page of Illinois History for January 1966:

 

"There are seventy active junior high students at Washington Junior High School, Aurora.  Under the leadership of Mrs. LaVere Ross these students just raised $606 for the Aurora Historical Museum ($70 from yearly dues and $536 from a city-wide tag day}.  In addition they help their local historical society by serving as guides at the museum and by obtaining one adult membership for each student.  Now they are busy helping other junior high schools in Aurora to participate in our state program and to assist the Aurora Historical Museum. They have won the Northwest Regional trophy two years in a row."

 

Have you examined the pictures in your book "Batavia, Illinois; Past and Present" carefully? May I call your attention to just a few details that you may have missed?

 

The front cover, top picture, shows the U. S. Wind Engine and Pump Co. plant in all its glory. But did you notice the late Philip Carlson’s boat tied up along the piling in the foreground? He built that boat in his basement and it was a beauty. This photograph was taken by E. B. LaSalle from the top of the U. S. windmill test tower which was located just south of First Street.

 

Then four pages over, the photo looking north on Batavia Avenue, with the streetcar, shows the first Revere House built earlier than 1857 and torn down in 1939. It was one of Batavia’s two important hotels in the early days. The other hotel the Howell, is shown near the center of the book. Note the wooden hand pump on the porch to the right. This was undoubtedly the product of the Norris and Doty Pump Factory. They were located in the building at the northwest corner of Houston and N. Water Streets. The Howell Hotel was just a step-and-a-half away from the CB&Q depot on S. Van Buren Street.

 

Then turn back two pages and there is a picture of the Fowler Hotel. I understand it was in this dwelling that was housed the first piano in Batavia.  Later the W. J. Smiths lived in the east half of this house and the L. C. Cranes in the west half. So the Smith and Cranes lived as well as worked as partners. Besides these three hotels there was the Transient House on W. Wilson Street, which was the back part of the present Olmstead’s Television and Appliance Store.

 

On page 36 note the old picture of the original first Methodist Church, the present School for Exceptional Children. This has a belfry surmounting it. In the distance one can plainly see the Congregational Church with steeple. This blew down in 1877 in a high wind. The late Rev. Alex Petrie said, when he was janitor of the Methodist Church, he had an agreement with Eugene Mann, janitor of the Congregational Church, to ring the church bells alternately.

 

Every picture in this book has a story. The book will be more valuable as the years go by.

 

By the way, if you want a copy of "Historic Batavia," you had better get it at once. We only have a very few left and no telling when we will get any more printed. "Batavia, Illinois; Past and Present” is on sale at the Library and several other places in town.  Price of each is $2. 00.

 

We recently received a spy glass carried by Captain Leonard J. Carr while sailing his own ship and before coming to Batavia in 1839.  This gift was from his grandson, Francis J. Carr. Capt. Carr built part of the house in which we, the Gustafsons, now live. That was after he moved to town after leaving his Nelson Grove farm.

 

The name Batavia means "Fair Meadows" in the Dutch language according to Dr. Heiser, author of “An American Doctor's Odyssey.”

 

Last Christmas time I received several notes about the name Batavia from dictionaries and encyclopedias - research done by Rev. J. F. C. Green, who was the minister of the Congregational Church here from 1922 to 1925. Among other things, he said, "The Batavian Republic was the name given to Holland by the French after its conquest in 1795." Also, "The Batavians were, under Augustus, the allies of Rome whom they served as cavalry men and as skilled mariners. They received the title of honor, 'The friends and the brothers of the Roman people.’”

 

We received an inquiry from Mrs. George Lamb, Chelsea, Iowa about the Carl and Short families. John and Henry Carl and Alfred Short were Civil War veterans.  John Carl was a quarryman in 1867 and Frank Carl worked in the Paper Mill.  

Do you know anything more about these families?

 

Ray Patzer kindly gave me a clipping, "100 Magnificent Museums in Illinois" from the Illinois Bell Telephone Company magazine.  I sent for some additional copies, and was sent ten.  As long as they last, you may have one.  If you wish to send for a copy yourself, send to the following address: Box M. Room 1801 208 W. Washington Street Chicago, Illinois 60606

 

The following may sound trite, but I think it's worth thinking about.  Don’t just go on your vacation trip.  Anticipate it and read everything you can about the place where you are going.  It will mean so much more to you.

 

"Some time in the year 1854, a Father Sullivan came from Aurora to offer Mass in the farm home of John Lonergan, east of the village of Batavia. A scant dozen of Catholics assembled in the Lonergan home for this first Mass.  Undaunted by the small congregation, Father Sullivan persevered in his missionary effort.  Within a few months, he had rented a single room in a block in Batavia Avenue immediately north of Wilson Street, and so slight was the increase of Catholics that this small chapel was adequate for six years.”

 

So begins a history of the present Holy Cross Church in Batavia, written by Fr. Edward McDonald for the Observer for March 14, 1958. The article was headed, "Men of All Faiths Aid Pioneer Batavia Priests.”

 

This farm of John Lonergan's has come into the news recently. A map of Batavia Township, part of the map of Kane County for 1860, shows L. Lonergan as owning 196 acres of land north and south of E. Wilson Street and east of the Kirk Road.  This farm was later owned by Lloyd D. Wood, succeeded by his son, Walter H. Wood. This is now owned by the Furnas Electric Co. and undoubtedly will be the scene of great industrial development in the future.

 

Dues are due. We will try to attach a statement of your account to our next Newsletter.