Volume Seven

No. 2


June, 1966

Published by the Batavia Historical Society

Prepared by John A. Gustafson


"Every generation enjoys the use of a vast hoard bequeathed to it by antiquity and transmits that hoard, augmented by fresh acquisitions, to future ages”. - Thomas Macaulay



SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 1966 at 3 P.M.





"BATAVIA GROWS UP" - John A. Gustafson


Present city officials and former officials still living will be honored guests.


The displays throughout the city are being arranged by Mrs. James Wertz, Mrs. Pauline Campbell, Mrs. Peg Bond, and Mrs. George France.  (This is an excellent opportunity to encourage the sale of our book, Batavia-Past and Present).  The displays in the cases at the Civic Center will be arranged by Mrs. Elaine Cannon and Mrs. Clare Kruger.


Refreshments will be served by Mrs. Raymond Patzer, Chairman, Mrs. Dewey Swan, Miss Marie Larson, Mrs. Walter Wood and Miss Ruth Challman.


The President’s Chat


 It was six years ago that you elected me to serve as your first president.  After two years of growth I felt that the society should have a "new parent," but now you have returned the responsibility to me; so I am hoping to see us continue to develop into an active group interested in preserving and improving our city which has much of historic value.


The Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission invited me to attend the first meeting in Champaign on April 18th.  I asked Mrs. Kruger to accompany me. We were greatly stimulated by the discussions in the general meetings and the special interest groups which preceded and followed the luncheon meeting which was addressed by Governor Kerner.


On April 25th Mrs. Betty Madden, Chief Curator of Art at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, whom we had met at the meeting, visited here. She is preparing a book on Illinois houses of the 19th century for the Sesquicentennial year and was charmed with the lovely old places here. She also is interested in any items made in Illinois. Do let me know if you have anything which she may borrow or even photograph.


Mrs. Kruger is chairman of the program committee composed of Miss Erma Jeffery, Mrs. Mary Williams, Mr. John Gustafson, and Mr. Robert Larson.  They have excellent plans in the offing.


Mr. Stanley Lenart is working with the student historians.


The following are endeavoring to secure new members and to encourage some who have dropped out to return to the fold: Mr. Philip Carlson, Mrs. Ellis Carlson, Mrs. Donald Johnsen, Miss Viola McDowell, Mrs. Gordon Smith, and Miss Alice Storer.


We are pleased that Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Charleton will have charge of all of our publicity.


My thanks to everyone for saying “yes” when asked to help. Eunice K. Shumway



Robert Barclay gave us a most interesting talk on “Stagecoaches-Mid-Western Style” at our last meeting.



This followed the election of officers and preceded a coffee hour and a general goodwill talk-fest.


We thank all of the out-going officers who served the Society this past year. Their interest in putting on good programs, in committee work, serving refreshments and in dozens of other ways to further the good of the Society is appreciated.


We have held our last two meetings in Batavia churches-in December in the First Baptist Church, and in April in the Congregational Church.  The use of the rooms and facilities of these churches were given gratuitously, and we thank them for their generosity.


We have received mementos recently from Mrs. Albin H. Johnson, Mrs. Robert Johnson, 471 Chestnut St. and Mrs. Margaret Allan and Frank Jarvis.



In our interest in the things which happened 75 years ago, let us not forget that important things were a1so happening here a hundred years ago.  At that time Batavia was only thirty-three years old.



A petition asked for a special election for the purpose of determining whether the town should subscribe $20,000 to the capital stock of the Ottawa, Oswego and Fox Valley Railroad and to issue bonds for this amount.



However, no bonds were to be issued unless assurance was given by said railroad that the road would be completed from the Vermillion Coal Mines, south of the Illinois River, to a connection with the C. and N. W. Railroad.  This petition was signed by 106 voters of Batavia.


On March 29, 1869, three years later, a vote on the above subscription was taken at a special Town Election. The vote was - for 331, against 58. Total vote - 389.


This railroad was constructed to furnish coal to the Fox River towns and is the railroad on the West Side purchased and completed by the C. B. & Q. Railroad in 1870.


Another event that happened in 1866 was the purchase of the Howland and Company Paper Mill by the Chicago Fiber and Paper Company. This industry was in one of the stone buildings south of First Street and later part of the U. S. W. E. and P. Company plant.  However, something went wrong and shortly thereafter they went into bankruptcy. In August of 1870

 the Van Nortwicks acquired the buildings and the business and made a success of paper making in Batavia.


The German Methodist Episcopal Society erected a frame church on the East Side this year.


Then in August of 1866 an ordinance was passed at the Town Meeting to form a Fire Department. This was to consist of twenty or more persons to be appointed by the President or Trustees. One captain and one assistant were to be elected from their number. They were to have sole and absolute control of all members at fires. They were to report on the condition of all fire apparatus (mostly buckets and ladders then) and to recommend new material. All citizens at the fire were required to help put out the fire if requested by the captain. All members were granted certificates by the Town Board.


Membership dues payable to Ralph C. Benson, 207 N. Washington Avenue Phone TR 9-3525. Current year  ______________________      Dues in arrears ___________________