Volume Thirty-Three

No. 6   


November 1992

The Holiday Season is approaching once more and that means it is time for the Annual Meeting of the Society and the usual pot luck supper with all the delectable dishes prepared by our members.  Be sure to mark your calendar now so as not to miss this year's meeting.
Date & time:   Sunday, Dec. 6, 1992 at 5:00 p.m.
Location:         Bethany Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall.
Supper:            Please bring a dish to share and your own dishes and silverware. Meat, rolls and coffee will be furnished.
Recorder music under the direction of Pat Walker of Aurora will provide our musical entertainment this year.
A business meeting of the Society will preceed the program. Included will be the election of the following positions on the Board of Directors, each for a term of two years: president, treasurer, recording secretary, and two directors. Florence & Frank Olson, co-chairpersons of the Nominating CQmmittee, need to hear from people willing to serve.
Give them a call at 879-3715. If they call you, don't say "No". They would also welcome suggestions of people who would make good Board members.

Russell "Bussy" NelsonThe Green Pheasants was a local organization started in the mid-1920s.  It held a charter issued by the State of Illinois.  I don't know how the name was chosen.  The members were mostly from Batavia although some came from other towns. The organization rented the upstairs space over Guy's Garage for its club rooms.  This was in the old limestone building which stood on S. Batavia Ave. about where Abe & Doc's station is today.  One large room was furnished like a living room with a davenport, easy chairs, piano and radio.  On the floor was painted a shuffleboard court.  In a smaller room was a pingpong table and a pay phone.  There also was a kitchen and washroom. The members each had the combination for the door lock so they could go up to the club rooms at any time.  Sundays were probably the day when the rooms were used the most.  Then we would go to play cards, listen to the radio, and just spend a leisurely afternoon.  
The rules were that no liquor was allowed and no females were allowed except on special occasions. Business meetings were held once a month.  The officers were named for parts of the pheasant.  The president was given the title of Beak, the secretary was the Right Wing, the treasurer the Left Wing, and the sergeant-at-arms the Spur.  Les Chelstrom was the first Supreme Beak. The Green Pheasants sponsored a number of sports teams including a football team, hardball baseball team, and two basketball teams ("varsity" and second).  The club provide the uniforms and insurance for the players.  These teams played similar teams from other communities including Geneva, St. Charles, Aurora, Marseilles and Oregon.  Even though the club was sports oriented, members were not all athletes and their ages covered a wide range.  The team colors were green and white.
A county pingpong tournament, held in the high school gym, was sponsored by the Green Pheasants as well as a swimming meet at the Quarry for the young kids in town.  Around Christmas a party was held in the club rooms for the poor children.  They were given presents of clothing, fruit and candy. The club put on several plays and musical comedies featuring local talent.  These were held in the auditorium of the high school.  The Green Pheasants broke up about 1932 or 1933 due to the depression.  It couldn't collect enough dues to pay the rent and other expenses.




Which of these young men is Russell "Bussy" Nelson who wrote the article about the Green Pheasants?  Can you identify anyone else in the picture?




Front row: (L to R) Kenneth Johnson, Kenneth Anderson Second row:    Albert Johnson, Gerald Conde, Dave Johnson, George Cassell, Gunner Bergman, Art Johnson, Clarence Johnson, Arnold "Tuz" Johnson, Melvin Hegstrom. Third row:       Perry Lawrence, Ivar Pierson, Roland Eckman, Richard Holmstrom, Chuck Connolley, Leroy Currivan, Ward Conde, Herman Shaw, Bernard Warrick, Ray Larson. Fourth row:     Art Hesse, Arnold Peterson, Ray Johnson, Weldon Hopkins, Guy Sperry, David Anderson, Bob Swanson, Russell Nelson, Arthur Peterson. Fifth row:        Elmer Freedland, Phillip Pomp, Lawrence Swanson, Ted Schultz, Emil Coleman, Ray Larson, George Pierson, Floyd Johnson, Harry Chamberlain, Les Chelstrom. ]




Left to Right:Front row:       Jerry McLellan, Richard Markuson, Herbert Johnson, Roland Ekman, Edward Fenske, Keith Hopkins, Kenneth JohnsonMiddle Row:   Arthur Johnson (mgr), Horton Carlisle, Maurice Ruggelbrugge, Leon Esser, Guy Sperry, Don Scroggins (possibly "Fats" Seyller), Johnny Williams (coach).Back Row:      Weldon Hopkins, Russell Clark, Ogden Engstrom, Emil Coleman, Harry Pierce.




I wonder if anyone else remembers going to first grade in the old Geiss house on East Wilson St.  I also wonder if anyone has a picture of the house.  I believe it was moved to another location subsequently, someplace in the north end of the east side.  It would have been in the years 1926 and 1927 that it served us as our first grade classroom.  The house faced Wilson Street and was either the third or fourth house west of Van Buren on the north side of the street.  This was at the time the "new" addition was being built on the east end of the old Louise White School. Our teacher was "big" Miss Oleson to distinguish her from "little" Miss Olson who also taught in the Louise White School.  The "big" referred to the fact Miss Oleson was rather tall compared to "little" Miss Olson and we were all very fond of her. During the spring of the year, Miss Oleson helped us all plant a garden in the side yard of the house and we proudly grew lettuce, radishes and I think that was all.  


On the last day of school we all brought buttered bread to school and, as I recall, we were able to order milk at school.  We happily feasted on our home grown lettuce and radishes.  I don't think lettuce or radishes have ever tasted so good or been considered a treat. By this time of the year, Miss Oleson had become engaged and no one was more excited over her engagement ring than the little girls in her first grade class.  The boys may have been also, but I can't speak for them.  Miss Oleson subsequently became Mrs. Oppfelt, the wife of Glenn Oppfelt who was a partner of Bert Johnson, Sr. in the Oppfelt & Johnson Drug Store.  



MARILYN ROBINSON, our vice-president, for the exceptional  programs she arranged this year, for the script she wrote for the Cemetery Walk, and for her historic articles in the Windmill Herald.


CARLA HILL,  our curator, for arranging the two excellent talks by T. Lindsey Baker on the windmill industry which were presented during Windmill Festival Days.


JODY HALTENHOF, one of our newer members, for chairing the committee and organizing the Cemetery Walk.  This was an extremely interesting and worthwhile endeavor that has prompted many people to tell me how great they thought it was!


MAY LUNDBERG, for her faithfulness for many years in scheduling the Museum volunteers to insure it is properly staffed each day.




who, for the past ten years, usually have devoted one morning a week to organizing, cataloging, identifying and properly storing the Society's artifacts upstairs at the Depot Museum.  



At last, after almost three years of waiting and working with the executor and attorney for the William vanNortwick Estate, the Society has secured the furniture from William vanNortwick's apartment which came from his parent's home in Batavia.  It was delivered in late October and will be displayed next year in the north (rear) room of the Museum. The Museum also has acquired four additional display cases which match the beautiful old ones already in use.  These were all originally used at Marshall Fields store in downtown Chicago.  Joseph Burnham, Ruth's late husband, was responsible for acquiring the original cases for the Museum. Looking ahead to next year, in addition to the vanNortwick display and using the additional matching display cases, we hope to develop a display for the inside of the caboose, determine the best use for the Coffin Bank building, update our security system, and floodlight the Museum at night.



With the building of the new townhouses around Bellevue Place, it is interesting to remember it began as a private school called Batavia Institute. Below is a copy of an original "flyer" from the Museum's collection of documents. This was issued in 1854 at the time the school first opened.







Individual:             $3 Joint/Family:          $5 Sustaining:         $10+Life (each):          $50Business or Institutional:        $10

Bus/Inst. Life    $100

NAME(s) _____________________________________________  ADDRESS ____________________________________________ CITY ________________________ STATE _____ ZIP ________ Mail to:            Treasurer, Batavia Historical Society                        P.O. Box 14, Batavia, Illinois 60510

Prompt payment of dues is appreciated!  All dues paid after October 1st will be considered payment for 1993.  If you plan to attend the Annual Meeting you may pay dues to the Treasurer at that time. If you would like to give a membership as a holiday gift, send the above information and dues to the Society indicating it is to be a gift.  The gift membership card will be mailed to you so that you may enclose it with a personal card or note.