Volume Thirty-Three

No. 4


July 1992



July 24th:       

During Windmill Festival Days, two lectures will be presented regarding the windmill industry.  T. Lindsay Baker, a well-known authority and author on windmills, will be presenting talks on the production of windmills and on windmill sales.  One presentation will be in the afternoon and the other that evening.  Watch the local papers for details on time and place.  These programs are being sponsored cooperatively by the Park District, the Heritage Committee of ACCESS, and the Batavia Historical Society.


Sept. 20th:      

Mark your calendars now to save the date for the next regular meeting of the Society.  We will return to our usual time and place (3 p.m. at the Civic Center) for a program about the Lincoln Highway that went through Batavia. Further details will appear in the next newsletter.




1.   What congregation has built four churches at four different locations during its 120 years in Batavia?


2.   What congregation organized in 1882 after being served by pastors from Aurora for many years, and has erected 

      three churches since that time with its first built in 1888?


3.   What two congregations organized in the mid 1850s, built their church edifices in 1866 & 1867 (both of which still

      stand), but the church organizations of both dissolved around 1970 and the members joined other congregations? 





By Helen Bartelt Anderson


This is a story about my memories of Beulter School, Dist. 100 in the 1920's. Buelter School was located on East Wilson Street Road in Batavia Township. It was a typical one-room, rural school with grades from 1st through 8th. Enrollment varied -- at times there were as many as 15, other times 6 or 8. There was never more than one teacher. The school room faced south with a large blackboard on the wall.


Two maps hung above the blackboard. They were on rollers, like window shades. One was a map of the world, the other of the United States. Being on a south wall, New York was to the west and California to the east. I have never been able to erase this image from my mind, so for a second when I hear New York, I visualize it in the west and vice versa. There was a row of large windows on the east side of the room, three smaller ones on the west side.  Windows let in the only light we had for studying.  


There was no electricity. In the back of the room were two cloakrooms with shelves to store our lunch buckets. There were two entrance doors, probably to help keep out the cold, north wind. The small hallway in between the doors kept overshoes, a shovel and broom. To the south of the school were two outhouses, complete with Sears catalogues. It was a cold walk at recess or noon on below zero days. Large desks for the higher grades were on the east side of the room, next to the windows. Two other rows were smaller, with two quite small desks for very small children. The larger desks had ink wells. We learned the Palmer system of penmanship by practicing each day.


It was a real accomplishment to be able to do the push-pull and other exercises with a straight pen that had to be dipped in the ink well constantly and then made scratchy marks on the paper. Ball points improved that situation. My first grade teacher was Helen Barker. I believe her father owned a lumber or coal business on East Wilson Street. I believe her family moved to Chicago that summer. Helen went with them.  


She taught two years at Buelter School. My next teacher was Agnes Nelson. Agnes lived with her parents and two sisters on Feldott Road which was about two miles from the school. Agnes walked this distance most of the time. It was Agnes' job to keep the school clean, plan lessons for all grades, carry in wood and coal for the heating stove, etc. When there were older children they helped, too.


A fresh pail of water was brought in each day from the outdoor pump. We each had a tin cup for drinking which hung on nails above the wash stand, also our own towels. We had one wash basin to wash our hands before lunch. Karo syrup pails were just the right size for a sandwich, cookies, an apple and sometimes a hard-boiled egg. 

Agnes Nelson stayed for two years. Our next teacher was Hilda Wenberg. Hilda was sister to Ruby Wenberg and Pauline Faeth who now live at Holmstad.  She was also aunt to Jim Wenberg, who married my niece, Marilyn Bartelt.  She only stayed at Buelter School one year. After Hilda, a Mrs. Smith taught for a year or two. Then Agnes came back and stayed for several years.  During that time, she became Mrs. Tom Perrow.  He did a lot for all of us--played games, helped with hard jobs, etc. I loved school and my teachers, especially Agnes.  


I usually got along well with the other students.  But one day, several of us were walking together to school. On the way, we passed a little creek and nearly always stopped to play for a few minutes. One of he boys found a little snake and threatened to put it down my neck.  I broke all speed records going the rest of the way, screaming every step. We did not have playground equipment, but had lots of fun anyway. 


On rainy days we played, "Hang the Butcher," Tic Tac Toe and similar games on the blackboards. We had a very large sand table which was fun for all ages.  The damp sand made wonderful castles, mountains and rivers.  Animals, people trees were cut from cardboard. Outdoor games were "Andy-I-Over the Coal Shed," "Baseball," and "Last Couple Out."  In winter "Fox and Geese" or "Snowball Fights."


I remember one time we were playing "Last Couple Out" when Margaret Konen (Barkei) and I collided. Her teeth made a gash in my head. I felt that I was mortally wounded and ran home to Mama with a towel held to my head. I didn't get much sympathy from anyone so recovered quickly. Two or three times a year the County School Nurse visited rural schools. One aftermath of World War I was an outbreak of smallpox. The nurse told us that each of us would have to have a vaccination by our own physician. That was a scary thing for all of us. The county nurse always brought her portable scale which weighed and measured us.


We were also visited occasionally by the County Superintendent of Schools, Mr. E. M. Harris. He was a tall, thin, stately man with black hair and beard.  We were all very quiet and respectful when he came. By the time I was in 8th grade --1926, the School Board thought the students should have some musical training. Mrs. Maude Dewey from Aurora taught note reading and singing. I still can't sing. Agnes was a very aggressive teacher and tried to keep up with town schools. We belonged to the Audubon Bird Society.  


We went on field trips to identify birds and wild flowers.  When we returned to school, Agnes gave us pictures of birds and flowers to color. The pictures had descriptions on the back. This was fun, and I've never forgotten. We were taught to respect nature things, to recognize bird songs and enjoy nature's beauty. Before holidays we decorated our schoolroom.  


At Christmas we made garlands for the windows and spent time each day practicing for the program. We didn't sing a lot of carols because there wasn't a piano. Not any of us could sing anyway. We spoke pieces and did plays.  Mrs. Perow always gave us a box of candy and nuts with a handle to carry it. She served hot chocolate and cookies to everyone. Shortly after school started in the fall, our big enjoyment was to run over to the apple orchard across the road from our school.


This orchard belonged to the Buelter family, Henry, his wife, Fern, and sister Helen. Helen was guardian of the ripe, beautiful apples. Even though we were warned not to go into the orchard, the temptation was too great.  It only took a few minutes to run over, fill our pockets with apples and enjoy a crispy, juicy treat at recess. One time Helen Buelter chased us with a butcher knife. That slowed us down for a few days.  


I doubt that Helen even cared. She just got a kick out of scaring us. I'm sure the land for Buelter school was donated by this family. Picnics at the close of school were great. I looked forward to my favorite foods. Awards were given for reading, spelling and attendance. All 8th grade children took their final exams at the Court House in Geneva. Graduation was also held there for all rural 8th graders in the county. I was very proud in my first store-bought dress of lavender voile with lace trim and satin sash; also my first silk hose and dress shoes of tan leather with 1-inch heels.


I graduated in 1927. I do not know the names of teachers who followed our beloved Agnes Nelson Perrow. I do know that Buelter School remained open until about 1950.







- All those who volunteered to assist at the Antique Show and to Carole Dunn for coordinating the Society's part in the show.  


- The ticket sales were handled by Ted & Wilma Schuster, Bob & Lil Brown, Ken & Jackie Upham, Jo Kisser, Gladys Noren, Agnes Clever, Patty Will, Shirley Hoover, Ellen Beedle, and Elliott and Norma Lundberg


- The Batavia Antique Dealers for sponsoring the Antique Show for the benefit of the Depot Museum


- Dr. Barnes for the extremely interesting program he gave at our last meeting.  


A record attendance attested to the interest in his topic and the numerous comments expressing how much those attending enjoyed his presentation indicate Marilyn Robinson, our vice president and program chairman, made a wise choice.


On June 1, a representative of the Institute of Museum Services spent the day at the Depot Museum with our curator, Carla Hill, as part of a national study of the needs of small and mid-sized museums.  


Batavia was one of twelve sites studied in its size classification. Although there is no funding tied to the study, a report will be sent to Congress once all the data is compiled.  


Carla hopes the report will help identify both our strengths and weaknesses and provide guidance in relation to exhibits.




I really enjoyed the eighth grade, especially sewing class with Miss McQueen (Lucille Carlson.) She was very professional and always dressed immaculately in a crisp, white uniform. I would hurry into the cooking room in the old home economics building to copy the recipe Miss McQueen would have written on the blackboard.  


We all had to copy the day's recipe in our book before we could begin cooking. Each of us had our own gas burner to cook over and a little oven to set on the burner whenever we baked. 


The ovens were stored in a pantry when we didn't need them. I remember one day when I was especially proud of the rolls I had baked. However, when I got them home and tasted them I knew I'd left something out. I didn't know what.


Lydia Jeane Stafney


(Note: The above was received following the article by Lucille Carlson about her teaching days printed in the April 1992 issue of the newsletter.) 



1.   The Evangelical Covenant Church has had four buildings in four locations since its organization in 1871. Members first met in private homes, but soon a hall was rented in the Anderson Bldg (N.E. corner of E. Wilson & River streets). 


In 1876 a small frame church was erected at 130 N. Batavia Ave. Sixteen years later (1892) a new church was built on the south-west corner of Jackson & Houston streets, followed in 1921 by a brick church at the southeast corner of Lincoln & Houston.  


The present church on W. Main St. was dedicated in 1973. It was originally called the Swedish Evangelical Covenant Church and its records were kept in Swedish for many years.



Immanuel Lutheran Church (originally the First German Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation of Batavia) built its first building in 1888 on Webster St. for $1,289.76.  In 1925 a new church was dedicated, built in the same area as the first.  Today the congregation worships in its newest facility at 950 Hart Road.



In 1866 the Zion Evangelical Church erected its building at the southeast corner of N. Van Buren and State streets. The following year the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) constructed its house of worship at 316 E. Wilson St. The Zion Evangelical Church later became known as Faith Evangelical United Bretheran Church. In 1968 the organization officially dissolved and many of the members joined either the Faith Church of the Bretheran or the First Methodist Church.


The building, now owned by Holy Cross, is on the site of a proposed condominium development and efforts to have it moved and saved are being considered. The Christian Church was sold in the early 1970s and presently houses Kon Printing. The organization dissolved shortly thereafter.  A new congregation built the Fox Valley Christian Church located at 1605 W. Wilson St.


Note:   Most data for this quiz came from John Gustafson's notebooks.  If you know of any errors, please write a note giving the correct information and send it to the Society.  


The churches included in this issue's quiz and last issue's do not include all the changes in church buildings among the "older" Batavia congregations.


The Faith Church of the Bretheran on N. VanBuren replaced its 1896 structure when it dedicated its present one in 1968. Likewise, the Logan Street Baptist Church is of quite recent vintage while the history of a church serving the Black community goes back to 1865.


The first McKee Steet Methodist Church (Swedish) was built in 1875. It was torn down and replaced by a new stone church in 1889. In 1971 the McKee Street congregation joined the United Methodist Church and its former building at McKee & Lincoln today is used by New Life Assembly of God.