Volume Nine

No. 3  


September, 1968



" . . . a large portion of the human race is made up of defilers and despoilers who, in D. H. Lawrence’s phrase, ‘pull life down and devour it like vermin’ and are a scourge and a menace to the rest of us."

- The Winter Beach by Charlton Ogburn










Paper - "A Brief History of Illinois"

Song - "Illinois"

Slides - "Historic Illinois"

Mrs. Evan D. James

Mr. William B. Benson

Miss Ruth Northrup


Slides are contributed by Frank and Jane Elwood, Ruth Northrup and John Gustafson. Refreshments will be served by a committee composed of Mrs. Evalyn Mair and Mrs. Jos. Burnham.


This will be part of our program to celebrate the Illinois Sesquicentennial.


The last meeting, April 21, was varied in interesting subject matter. About fifty people attended. Miss Loretta Bolle read her article on "Batavia’s Judge Lockwood" which appeared in the February issue of Illinois History. Philip R. Elfstrom spoke on "The Railroads of Batavia" and Roger Beels on "Early Baseball in Batavia." Both men spoke from long experience, Phil was with the "Third Rail” as manager from 1949 on. Rog grew up with a baseball glove on his hand.


We are saddened by the death of two of our loyal, ever-faithful members: Miss Cora V. Benson and Neal J. Conde, Sr. We extend our deepest sympathy to their families.


We have received the following mementos since our last Newsletter.  We are most grateful to the donors:

The Insurance Co. of North America for a book of their Historical Collection.


Mrs. Conrad G. Kaufman for thirty items received from the Estate of the late Mrs. Ruth D. Jones. Mrs. Kaufman is the daughter of Mrs. Jones.


Elmer Nelson for a steelyard, a weighing device.


Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Kautz for a 1912 Bee Aitch Ess Annual.


Mrs. W. C. Spencer for the Record of the Treasurer's Report of the Perpetual Care of the Association of the East and West Batavia Cemeteries.


Vernon Derry, Aurora, for a photo of the Gas Engine Department of the Challenge Co.


The Batavia Savings and Building Association for the wooden sign "Batavia" that was on the C&NW Ry. depot before it was torn down.


No organization in Batavia has done as much for the Illinois Sesquicentennial as we have.  Here is proof:


June 1. 

The Society furnished most of the material, 38 items originally, and helped the Batavia Junior High School, under the leadership of Charles Christianson, arrange an old-fashioned school exhibit in the window of the Board of Education Office, 109 S. Batavia Avenue. The Batavia Body Co. loaned the large Illinois flag. Mrs. P. L. Reedus furnished the two manikins. Have you seen it?


June 13.          

We loaned twenty-one photos from old Batavia to Ray Bergeson for the Board of Supervisors' exhibit at the Kane County Fair.


July 1.             

We sponsored a Band Concert given by the Batavia Junior High School Band, directed by Michael Stiers.  The concert started at 7:30 P. M. on the grounds of the McWayne School.  The Women's Fellowship of the Congregational Church cooperated and conducted an Ice Cream Social at the same time.  Both the Band Concert and the Social were most successful.  It was a beautiful evening and the fellowship engendered was invaluable.


July 8.             

Two members, Miss Viola McDowell and Miss Harriet Chamberlain, loaned articles from their fathers’ barber shops for the window display at the Crystal Barber Shop, 121 S. Batavia Avenue.


July 30.           

We loaned photos, old school books, a desk, chairs, a stove, and other school memorabilia for a school exhibit at the Kane County Fair.  Mrs. Marguerite Brown and our President did most of the work in setting up the exhibit. Mrs. Brown furnished much of the material.  Four of the nine display cases were arranged with books, pictures, children's toys and colorful old cards belonging to Mrs. Marguerite Brown.   Following is a list of the Hosts and Hostesses who served while the Fair was going on, from July 31 to August 4.


Mrs. V. E. Anderson, Mrs. Ralph Benson, Mrs. Marguerite Brown, Mr. Harold Bunker, Mrs. Joseph Burnham, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Carlson, Mr. Philip Carlson, Miss Sigred Johnson, Miss Joanne Kane, Mrs. Irene Kreitzer, Miss Viola McDowell, Mr. Harold Patterson, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Patzer, Mr. Jeff Schielke, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Svendsen, Miss Eunice Shumway.

We congratulate the Batavia Savings and Building Association for their handsome, modern building.  We trust that it comes up to every expectation that they desired in the new building.


We congratulate the members of the Faith Church of the Brethren on the dedication of their new building, Sunday, July 28. It is located at 621 N. Van Buren Street. Rev. Martin Krieger is the pastor.


Two things add attractiveness to our downtown scenery.  One is the twelve honey locusts planted, and well taken care of, in holes in the sidewalk on the west side of So. Batavia Avenue from Main to First Streets.


The other attraction is the flower beds in the W. Wilson Street Park, planted and cared for by the Plain Dirt Gardeners. It is an excellent beginning.


We have an eyesore also and we hope that will soon be corrected.


According to our Treasurer, Ralph Benson, we have five new members.  Welcome to our group. We need your help. The names follow:


Mr. and Mrs. Jos. P. Kelly, 107 So. College Street, Batavia

Mrs. Marguerite Brown, 217 Franklin Street, Batavia

Mrs. Irene Kreitzer, 217 Franklin Street, Batavia

Marie Sink, 1607 Morrell Street, Detroit, Michigan 48209


Batavia was doing things one hundred years ago as well as today:


On May 17, 1868 the first services of the Christian Church were held in their new building.


A large addition was made to the Newton Wagon Co. plant (present Batavia Body Co.) including the present three-story front building, sixty foot square.  This cost $12,000.00.  


D. R. Sperry & Co. was organized.  The original building was just south of the former C&NW Ry. depot (now the new Batavia Savings & Building Association).  Mr. Sperry, prior to this was a partner of Sperry & Merrill and manufactured farm boilers, kettles and hollowware.


In the fall the Swedenborgians organized in the Buck Hall.  They had fifteen members with H. O. Snow the leader.  In 1874 they bought a lot preparatory to building but didn't build.


The Batavia vote for President that fall was - Grant, 372. Seymour, 120.  Grant was Republican and won, Seymour was the Democratic candidate.


A few of the arrivals in Batavia that year were: James A. Allen, who became Superintendent of the Paper Mill; W. H. Stewart, contractor; Andrew Redborg; Thomas M. Hunter, quarryman; Henry Walt, merchant.

We still have copies of the book, Batavia: Past and Present to sell.  This makes an excellent gift for your friends.  $1.00 per copy.


“In Chicago, the attendance at museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, is greater every year than the attendance at our two major league baseball parks and our fine race tracks in this area combined.” Ex. Governor Otto Kerner


They were strict in the old days.  Here is an example taken from Record Book No. 1 of the Board of Trustees of the Town of Batavia:


July 26, 1856. Sabbath Breaking.

  Any person who shall from and after the due publication hereof, disturb the peace and good order of the Society by labor or amusement on the First Day of the week commonly called Sunday (works of necessity or charity excepted) within the corporation of the Town of Batavia shall be subject to a fine of not less than $1.00 nor more than $5.00 for each and every offense.




1.    Results of the recent membership vote on whether or not to accept the CB&Q depot as a museum site and make a substantial donation from existing funds to help pay the cost of restoring the exterior.  There was an astonishing answer, 84 members from as far away as California and New York responded: 83 with a "yes" vote, only one negative vote.  That with the vote at the September meeting brings the total to well over 120 "yes" votes. Encouraged, the Board of Directors met and voted to pledge $1,000 from existing funds toward the material costs of the work presently underway which includes the new roof already installed, the windows and paint.  (Incidentally if any member wants to don a pair of jeans, take a chisel and chip off old paint around the window and door sills before the volunteer sand-blasters arrive or want to swing a paint brush after they leave, contact a member of the repair committee, Phil Elfstrom, Chairman, Jeff Shie1ke or Mary Snow who are lining up volunteers).


2.    The Batavia National Bank fund has been receiving donations from the general public and also the sale of chimney bricks from the station netted $54. This week an appeal to the public for reconstruction funds in the form of fold-out picture cards has been placed in heavily trafficked areas throughout town. These were furnished free to the Society by Bob Scott of SCOTT'S ART & PRESS shop on East Wilson Street.  All funds from this appeal and those donations from members of the BHS are being deposited in our own building fund and include the very generous gift of $500 from Harry Strain in California as well as substantial contributions from the Walter Woods, Harold Hall, Mrs. Patricia (McGeachy) Torn, and a gift in memoriam to John Hettinger from his wife, Ella.


3.   With renewed community interest in the museum project, there has been a marked increase in the donation of items of historic interest. A fascinating old Swedish wooden spinning wheel and set of stone cutting tools used in shaping the lovely stone in the Episcopal and Catholic churches from the Lyle Hendrickson estate courtesy of Mrs. Kenneth Knecht.  An ancient L. C. Smith typewriter was given by Gus Lund's daughter, Mrs. Werner Amrein. A wonderful black stovepipe hat worn by George Burnett of the old Burnett Funeral Parlor was given by Mrs. Ruth Huxtable and the Stephen Lusteds gave an ancient Kane County Atlas in near perfect condition.  

4.   Others outside the organization have joined in to help us in our museum project. The Arthur McIntosh firm offered the U.S. Windmill from the old Wallace farm. "Bosco" Hall, the City of Batavia and Lenny Johnson have already moved the wheel and vane into Hall's office garage and will have moved the frame structure by the time of the next regular newsletter. The American Legion has given us window space to display posters which further explain and illustrate the depot project.


5.    As a final item of interest, the Batavia Historical Society's Board of Directors went on record in support of the Park District referendum to be voted upon Tuesday, October 21st. It has been planned that offices of the Park District would be established on the second floor of the "Q" station and thus the major portion of maintenance, protection and operational costs would be borne by the Park District.  Two members of the Historical Society are candidates for the unpaid five commission posts: C. C. McCune and Mary Snow. Come to the public meeting for film presentation and discussion of the proposed Park District, 8:00 P.M., Wednesday, October 15th, Civic Center. Harold Patterson Chmn., Board of Directors.

At the September 14th meeting of the Batavia Historical Society a progress report was given on the status of the C. B. & Q. Depot reconstruction. As most of you know, the building was purchased by a group of civic minded Batavia business men and offered to the Society three months ago in June.  Since then through the generous efforts of Al Johnson's Roofing Company and carpenters from the V. F. W., a new roof has been installed, custom made windows ordered for installation, and the building will be painted before late fall.


THIS HAS BECOME A COMMUNITY-WIDE EFFORT and a fund has already been established with the BATAVIA NATIONAL BANK. Having twice discussed this matter of the C. B. & Q., it was the enthusiastic and unanimous opinion of the membership present that the Society should assume a significant responsibility in the restoration of the depot. Therefore, the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the members present: "It was moved by Miriam Johnson and seconded by Walter Wood that the Batavia Historical Society members present approve the gift of the (C.B.&Q.) building and make a substantial contribution from existing funds.  A letter must be sent to absent members asking their ratification by Sept. 22, 1969." Therefore, please indicate your vote in the square below and return your ballot immediately so that it may be registered in the September 22nd count.



Harold Patterson Batavia Historical Society
639 South Van Buren
Batavia, Illinois 60510 YES  ____NO  ____ Your Signature ___________________________________