Volume Thirty-Three

No. 5  


September 1992




Plans for the next meeting of the Society have been finalized and another interesting program is in store for those who attend.  Mark your calendar now to save the date.


Date:              Sunday, Sept. 20, 1992

Time:              3:00 o'clock

Place:             Bartholemew Room, Civic Center 327 W. Wilson Street



"The Lincoln Highway", a talk by Clare and Ruth Frantz of Sugar Grove.  The presentors have travelled most of the old Lincoln Highway and have done a great deal of research and have photographed many places along the way.  Batavia Avenue was part of the highway making this talk of particular interest to our members.


Business:         A short business meeting of the Society will precede the program.




The meeting will close with our usual opportunity to have conversations with friends over coffee and cookies.


We need 1 or 2 volunteers to assist Patty Will with the refreshments and an equal number to help Ray Anderson put up the chairs before the meeting and store them afterwards.  If you can lend a hand with either, please call!  Patty's number is 879-6439 and Ray's is 879-5433.




With the automobile replacing the horse, state and national highways were developed. In 1916 the "Complete Official Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway" was published. It contained a town by town description of the route from New York to San Francisco.  


The following is its comments on Batavia:


"Batavia. Pop. 5000.  Kane County. Two hotels, $1.50, American plan, 2 garages. Local speed limit, 8 miles per hour, not enforced. Route marked through town and county. Two railroad crossings at grade, protected. Two banks, 2 railroads, 150 general business places, 1 express company, 1 telephone company, 1 newspaper, 6 public schools, electric lights, trolley, water works.  Commercial Club. Lincoln Highway local consul, C. C. Collins."




1.  What Batavia home has been occupied continuously by members of the same family for the longest time?


2.  What Batavia industry has been operated continuously by members of the same family for the longest time?


3.  What Batavia store has been operated continuously by members of the same family for the longest time? 




The annual election of Board members takes place at the December meeting.


Positions to be filled this year (with incumbents in parentheses) are:


President (Dot & Jim Hanson);

Treasurer (Elliott Lundberg);

Recording Secretary (Patty Will);

and two Directors (Ray Anderson & Marlene Rotolo).


Terms are for two years. Incumbents may be re-elected.


The Nominating Committee would appreciate any suggestions of people to fill these positions or of your own interest in being considered for one.


Call Frank or Florence Olson, the co-chairpersons of the Committee, at 879-3715 to express your interest or offer your suggestions. 



As some of you may know, the West Side Cemetery contains a Potter's Field. It is believed that many of those buried there died as a result of the cholera epidemic that swept through the United States in 1849. No accurate count of the deaths in Batavia are available, but in just one week Aurora reported 48 deaths. Thus, Batavia certainly sustained quite a number during the epidemic.  


Other unfortunate, nameless people have been buried in this area of the cemetery through the years. At the present time there is no monument marking the location of the Potter's Field. On October 4th, the Batavia Historical Society and the Heritage Committee of ACCESS will co-sponsor a Cemetery Walk at the West Batavia Cemetery to raise funds for a suitable monument to mark this burial site.


Guided tours of the cemetery will be given between 1 o'clock and 4 o'clock with groups starting approximately every fifteen minutes. Dressed in period costume, a group of actors from our local Albright Theater will be portraying some of Batavia's forefathers such as John vanNortwick, Capt. Don Carlos Newton and Rachel Newton along with a number of other early men and women.


As those taking the "Walk" visit various gravesites, they will hear these actors tell about the lives of the people they are portraying and provide a "sense" of what early Batavia was like. Advance tickets will be sold after Sept. 15th. The cost will be $3.00 per person or $5.00 per family. Advance tickets will be available by calling Jody Haltenhof at 406-1138. They also can be purchased at the Sept. 20th meeting of the Society. Tickets may be purchased on the day of the Cemetery Walk at the gate for $3.50. In case of rain, the event will be held the following Sunday, October 11th.


We need volunteers to assist in this worthy cause to act as tour guides for the groups of people on the Walk. As a guide you will not be expected to be a "historian" prepared to answer questions. Your task will be to take groups from one gravesite to another to see and hear the actors. Please consider helping during this event, either for an hour or two or for the entire three hours the event takes place.


Call Jody Haltenhof at 406-1138 if you will assist. Let's make the Walk a successful program both by attending and by being involved!





Part of an historical society's mission is to preserve the present as well as the past.  What happens today is tomorrow's history. An important component of Batavia's history is the people who lived here at any time. Among the legacy left to our society by John Gustafson is a biographical file on notecards of approximately 400 persons who lived in early Batavia. The Board of Directors would like to add to this file the names of other families who have lived or live in Batavia.  


To do this, we need your help. Will you please give us information on your family(ies) that have lived in Batavia. Information submitted will be typed on cards and added to the current file. The file is used only when people ask for help tracing their genealogy. Information is given only to historical researchers, but it will help in years to come when someone inquires about us who live in Batavia today.


Someone will ask! An outline is given on the next page for you to follow to record your family. Please use a separate sheet of paper for each family. Include everyone--ancestors and descendants. Anyone who ever lived in Batavia can be included in the file. Typing or neat handwriting is acceptable. Please include your name and phone number in case the typist has a question. Addresses are not necessary. We're asking members for data now.  


If your friends are interested in being included, we welcome them. If there is a good response to this first call, we plan to widen our search through a local newspaper. If you do not want to give birthdates for people still living, we understand.




VanNortwick, John son of Wm. & Martha (Flack)


VanNortwick B 4/5/1809 Washington Co., NY   D. 4/15/1890 Batavia M 2/11/1836


Patty Maria Mallory in Penn Yan, NY   D 8/25/1893, Batavia, IL, age 81 Children:        

                             William M.; Eliza J. (Mrs. F. B. Rice); Mary E. (Mrs. Amos Burton); John S.;


In 1836 visited Batavia. Made $3000 of own money investments here. Worked for gov't. on Brooklyn Dry Docks 1 yr.


To Bat. in 1846, to be chief engr. for Galena & Chi. Union R.R.  


Under him road built Chicago to Freeport & from Turner Jct. to Fulton.  


Then he was consulting engr. for CB&Q bldg. from Turner Jct. to Aurora. Later was pres. for 8 years.  


Formed a company of Eastern capitlists vanNortwick, Barker, House & Co.  


Built the Batavia Mills. Supplied Chicago. Bought the Bat. Paper Co., renamed it VanNortwick Paper Co.  


Became sole owner in 1869.  


Stock Co. in 1870 and one of largest in West.  


Built the present Episcopal Church in 1879 and donated it to the congregation.





-- HUSBAND'S NAME (or single person's, if applicable) Husband's history (Parents, birthdate, birthplace, deathdate, if applicable, when

   came to Batavia, occupation, etc.)


-- Year Married                                                              


-- To Whom Married Wife's History (parents, birthplace, birthdate, when came to Batavia, occupation, if any, anything of interest,  

    date of death, if applicable Names of Children:


-- A short family history. Submitter's name and phone number. If you do not have all the information to complete the outline, please

   just submit what you do have.  


-- Any bit of data can be of help to a researcher in future years.


Mail to the Batavia Historical Society Box 14, Batavia, IL 60510




1.  The Conde home at 210 N. Washington Ave. has been the home of a Conde family since it was built by Cornelius B. Conde in 1845. Today it is owned by Neal J. Conde, Jr. and his wife, Mary. Neal is the 5th generation of the family to live in this historic home. Their children are the 6th generation.


2.  Shumway Foundry at 365 Shumway Ave. has been in continuous operation since it was founded in 1872 by Charles Shumway and A. M. Merrill. It has been owned and managed by succeeding fathers and sons up to the present time.  Five generations of the Shumway family have been involved in the business over this span of 120 years.


3.  Hubbard's Furniture has had a Hubbard owner since 1910 when Gustaf E. Hubbard and Charles Johnson bought the business. Earlier owners had been Carlson & Elfstrom and, before them, Benson & Carlson. Today the third generation of Hubbards continues their grandfather's business.





Joe Burton


Early in this century everyday life in Batavia depended on horsepower---real horsepower. If you wanted to go somewhere that wasn't within walking distance, you hitched up old dobbin to a wagon or carriage and giddy-apped away. Most stores had hitching posts along the curb for tying up a horse while shopping. Horse-drawn wagons delivered ice, milk and coal right to our homes. Although at the fire house a crew of men pulled the fire wagon to the scene of fires, if dray horses were working nearby they were used sometimes to replace the men.


Then came the automobile, and by the early 1900's the familiar clip-clop of horses' hooves was becoming a rare sound on city streets. I don't know who had the first car in Batavia, nor do I know its make. I do know that about 1910 Dad bought a Hudson Super Six so he could drive to his business in Geneva rather than take the street car.  


Over the next quarter century he had another Hudson, an Essex, and a real honest-to-goodness Rickenbacher, named after a World War I flying ace. Other cars I remember from that era are the Pierce Arrow, Mercers and Willys, St. Clairs ---all owned by the VanNortwick family. L. E. Wolcott drove a Reo while D. R. Sperry was partial to a Nash--or was it a LaSalle? Mayor John Van Burton had a Cadillac and a Cole. He also had a model T Ford truck to drive to his farm west of town.  


Other cars of the times were the Jordan, Moon, Stutz, Overland, Locomobile, Paige, Franklin, Chandler, Packard and Dort. I'm sure I have left some out. Somewhere along the line I'm sure a Stanley Steamer cruised on Batavia streets. This car got its power from steam and not gasoline. There also was the Electric, a car that you plugged into an outlet when energy ran low. It was not very fast but marvelously quiet. And so we said farewell to "Old Dobbin."  


We also said good-bye to Wheeler's Livery on Batavia Ave. between First and Main streets, where you could rent a horse and/or carriage.  Farewell, also, to Pomp's Blacksmith Shop on the island across from the theater, and a fond farewell to Feldott's Feed store which for many years furnished hay and oats to the owners of Batavia's horses. Goodbye all, and thanks for the memories.





Delivery wagon in front of D.C. Newton horne.

Victor R. Swanson, delivery boy.

Delivering freight on W. Wilson st. hill. Picture taken about 1900.


How to go in style back in 1909. Any­one know the make?