Volume Nine

No. 4      

 

                                                                                                

December, 1968

Published by the BATAVIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

 


"The power by which we recall past scenes, the rapidity with which they are brought in review before us, the faculty by which we can range o’er creation, and dwell upon the past and future, demonstrates that man was indeed formed in the image of his Creator and destined for immortality. By the contemplation of the past, we feel our span of existence extended; we enter into the thoughts, hopes and aspirations of generations before us, and in such moments, hold communion with the departed spirits of antiquity.”

- Preface to the Connecticut Historical Collections of 1830

 

NEXT MEETING

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8. 1968 at 3 PM

IN THE BARTHOLOMEW CIVIC CENTER

 

 

PROGRAM

 

 

CHRISTMAS STORIES

MUSIC PROGRAM

MISS ERMA JEFFERY

 

BATAVIA HIGH SCHOOL CHORUS

Directed by Mr. Elwood J. Willey

 

 

Refreshment Committee is composed of Mrs. Walter Wood, Chrm., Mrs. Herbert Anderson, Miss Isabell Colberg, Miss Caroline Nelson and Mrs. Agnes Perrow.

 

The Nominating Committee is composed of the following members: Mr. Frank Elwood, Chrm.; Mr. Robert Larson; Mrs. Joseph A. Burnham; Miss Erma Jeffery and Miss Anne Johnson.

 

They will report a full slate of candidates for office for 1969 to be acted on at the first general meeting of the new year.

 

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed our program for our September meeting. The 85 people there heard a paper "A Brief History of Illinois" read by Mrs. Evan D. James, Mr. William Benson sang “Illinois” and Miss Ruth Northrup showed slides of “Historic Illinois.”  The whole program was in commemoration of the Illinois Sesquicentennial.

 

We are the grateful recipients of the following mementos:

 

From Mrs. Pauline Campbell.  84 - 5x7 or 8xlO photos of Historic Batavia Views, also 57 duplicates of the same, one box of Batavia slides for our Slide Library and five Tiles from the fireplace in the razed Wade House.

 

 

From Mrs. Marguerite Brown.  An engraving of the Batavia Central School Building, a photograph of Abraham Lincoln and an Invitation to the Rock City Social Club given January 27, 1887.

 

Geneva Historical Society, One oil painting 20 by 27” of the War Record of 1st Lieut. Charles E. Smiley.

 

Mrs. Reedus.  Two linen stand-up Collars, one with Wm. VanNortwick's name in it, the other with JRM (J. R. Moore) initials in it.

 

Miss Caroline Nelson. A Nurse's Uniform which she wore in World War I.

 

Frank G. Elwood, 10-5x7 and 9-8x10 photos of Historic Batavia Views.

 

We are saddened by the death of Mrs. Folke Saaf, one of our members, and the death of Norman Johnson, a life member. We extend our deepest sympathy to their families.

 

A young student of the Batavia Schools called me and wanted to know the latitude and longitude of Batavia. I had to tell him that I didn't know and sent him to our library to look it up.  Since then I have found that we are in latitude 42 degrees North and 88 degrees West of Greenwich. I do know that Batavia Township is the southern portion of Township 39 North, Range 8 East of the Third Principal Meridian. Our altitude is 719 feet.

 

Speaking of our township, Mr. Fred W. Schussler, who is an ex-president of the Aurora Historical Society, was here some time ago, for information as to why Batavia and Geneva were two separate civil townships.  I told him I would look it up, also that I would call Mrs. Margaret Allan of Geneva, and let him know what I found.

 

I found this statement in the book Commemorative, Biographical and Historical Record of Kane County, Illinois (1888), page 969 under the title "Batavia Township:”

 

"This (Batavia and Geneva) is the only congressional township in Kane County that has been divided and made into two civil townships under the general law of township organization. It was originally Sandusky precinct, and as there are two villages, Geneva and Batavia, and each feeling ambitious to furnish a supervisor, the one township was made two and each took the name of the village-Batavia and Geneva.  While it was Sandusky it had two voting places."

 

Mrs. Allan says, as far as she knows, there was no fracas or bad feeling, the two towns mutually agreed to be separate townships.


 

Regarding the source of limestone used in the Chicago Water Tower, I have the following citations sent to me from the Chicago Historical Society by Mr. Larry A. Viskochil, Reference Librarian:


1.         "Originally built of Lemont lime stone . . .” Herald-American, Dec. 28, 1952

2.         “It is known as Lemont lime stone . . .”Townsfolk, Oct., 1948, p. 11, 21.

3.         Lemont limestone had become scarce, and the city prior to then had been patching the tower with stones 

            saved from wrecked buildings of similar construction.  For the 1963 restoration, however, the city found a two-

            man quarry in Joliet-apparently the last source of fresh supply.” Sun-Times, July 11, 1965

4.         “For the building material Boyington chose native Lemont lime stone, quarried not far from Chicago.”Tribune

            Grafic Magazine, Feb. 27, 1949 Prior to receiving the above citations, I had the following references:

5.         “On the way home we turn through the streets of Lemont to look at the old stone store buildings, churches,

            schools and then return to the city for another look at the Chicago water tower, built of limestone from Lemont,  

            in 1869 . . .” Tribune, Sept. 10, 1967, dept. "Nature Afoot,”by Mrs. May Theilgaard Watts.

6.         The rough-faced yellow limestone, once much used in Chicago buildings, was quarried near Joliet. . .” Illinois 

            Architecture by Frederick Koeper P. 44  “Water Tower,” Chicago, 1867-69

 

Of course, there were many buildings in Chicago built of Batavia limestone, but we have no record of any specific building in that city.  We do have a record of the following buildings in other cities which were made from Batavia stone.

 

Definitely all of the stone buildings in Batavia. Someone should make a complete list of these which include factories, store buildings, churches, schools, homes and barns, both past and present.

 

Then, there are the following - or were:

 

The Bushnell House at Beloit, Wis.

The railroad and college buildings at Galesburg, Ill.

The C&NW Ry. bridge piers at Geneva.

The C&NW Ry. shops at West Chicago and at Crawford Ave., Chicago.

500 cords of stone were furnished for a Normal School building at DeKalb.  A cord of wood contains 128 cu. ft.  Is a cord of stone the same? If it is, 500 cords would be 64,000 cu. ft.

The Post Office at Wheaton (1897).

Do you know of any other buildings which you know definitely were made of Batavia stone?


 

 

We received an order for three of our books from Mrs. Anna E. Roland of Chicago.  We sent her the books and asked her a little about herself, as she used to live in Batavia.  Her father's name was P. August Beckstrom, and they lived on Prairie Street, then moved to Park Street.  He worked at the Appleton Mfg. Co., then for 36 years, beginning in 1904, was a foreman at Flint and Walling Co., Kendallville, Ind.  There were four children in the family, three girls and one boy. Does anyone remember the family?


 

The old stone building at 17 N. Water Street has been razed to make way for a parking area. This was an old timer, dating back at least to 1860. We have two references to this building.

 

Martin Michelson wrote a series of articles for the BATAVIA HERALD in 1936 titled, "Around Batavia in 1870."  He says: “The old stone building north of Wilson on Water Street, now occupied by the Lenio family, was built by Charles Johnson, who has two lime kilns that we can inspect just north of the spot where the depot stands now . . . ."


Then Frank Smith, in 1948, wrote another series of recollections for the same paper. These recollections were titled, “Batavia in 1875.” We quote - he is walking south on N. Water Street:  “South of that (Doty and Norris Pump Factory, later the Prairie Remedy Co. building,) and for 90 feet south, was the back end of my father’s lot.  Then came the Johnson house. Mr. Johnson was killed when building a stone wall to protect his property from the railroad when he was struck and run over by the engine.  The house still stands . . . .”

 

That's the extent of our knowledge about this house. Does anyone have anymore information about the house or Mr. Charles Johnson?

 

Dues are due.  See Ralph Benson.