Volume Fifty-Three

No. 3


August, 2012



The Huddle

by Marj Holbrook


1.jpgIt was 1945. Veterans were returning to American shores from duty in Europe and Asia. There was a new awareness, too, that the nation’s teen-agers needed “someplace to go and something to do” just for fun.


Communities across the country responded. Batavia wasn’t alone; Aurora had the downtown Tom-A-Hawk Club for students from East and West Aurora High Schools.


In 1945, Batavia formed The Huddle with Mrs. Wayne Westrope as director. She and her husband lived in Batavia; he was a pharmacist in Geneva. On Friday nights, teens were drawn to activities on the second floor of the Grace McWayne Annex. Music, card games, various activities and lots of conversation brought scores of students who had a good time.


Admission was limited to Batavia High School students. Those who had completed their eighth-grade year could begin coming in the summer before they entered high school.


Mrs. Westrope continued as director until 1950. When she resigned, Mrs. Huldah Schiedler was asked to take her place.


“My mother had only two children at home,” says her daughter Dolores Schiedler Nelson of North Aurora. (Huldah and John Schiedler had five children: Daughter Shirley; twins Donna and Dolores who had graduated from high school in 1949, and twins Robert and Roberta who graduated in 1951.)


“We told her not to take the job,” Dolores Nelson remembers. “We thought she ought to be able to relax after she didn’t have kids at home anymore.” The mother overruled them. She became The Huddle director in 1950 and continued for 16 years, until 1966.


“She enjoyed it so much,” her daughter continues. “At first she did it as a volunteer. Later she was paid, but it wasn’t very much. She was on the phone constantly getting parents to help. And they did!


“Mother treated all her Huddle kids as her own kids. ‘Those are my kids,’ she would say. “That’s my boy!’ She knew them all by name.”


The Huddle's student board - five students from each of the four classes, freshmen to seniors, met at the Schiedler’s home on Spring Street. Board members knew Mrs. Schiedler would always serve refreshments: sandwiches, homemade cakes and cookies. In a yearbook tribute one of her “kids” accused Mrs. Schiedler of making her friend “fat” with so many goodies. Next to the note, the friend wrote, “I am not FAT.”


Activities included dances for Valentine’s Day, Christmas and other events. There was a Jukebox, Ping-Pong, and later a TV


“No one wore jeans,” Dolores Nelson recalls. “Kids came and they were dressed up.” Those attending had to be Batavia High School students and show a card to prove it. Mrs. Schiedler positioned herself at the front door and denied access to students from other schools who tried to get in. Kathy McCullough, who was Huddle board president in the mid-1960s, told Mrs. Schiedler, “at school, students often try to sneak out. But here at The Huddle things are so good, most kids want to sneak in.” McCullough also lauded Huldah’s husband, John, as a partner in the Huddle supervision. He came to many sessions and helped out repeatedly. Dolores Nelson remembers that her father used his talents as an electrician to provide electricity in the lower level of the Bartholomew Civic Center to accommodate stove, refrigerator and some entertainment items that required electricity.


In 1959, the Echo, the Batavia High yearbook, was dedicated to Mrs. Schiedler. The dedication said: “With sincere appreciation for your help and devotion in making possible Friday nights at The Huddle, we, the class of 1959, dedicate our Echo to you.”


Tributes and memories


The 1959 Echo that was presented to Mrs. Schiedler is filled with tributes for her dedication and personal concern: “Mrs. Schiedler, you’ve helped so much to make my first two years (in high school) just wonderful. I’m looking forward to next year.” -- Barb Shaw.


“Mrs. Schiedler, Thanks so much for making our recreation so much fun . I’ve enjoyed coming to The Huddle for four years.” -- Larry Peddy.


“Mrs.Schiedler, Thank you for all the wonderful times you

have given us. –Barb Frydendall.


“Mrs. Schiedler, You have really been great for us here at The

Huddle. I hope you stay for a long time.” -- Sheila Tierney.


Others who did not sign that edition of the Echo, have great memories, too.


“When I attended The Huddle it was in the basement of the Civic Center, remembers Barbara Becker Dickenson. “We listened to music, danced, played cards and games, Ping-Pong, and talked. By the time I was a junior and senior, some of us had cars and we would meet at the Civic Center and then drive to Rex’s Drive-In in St. Charles or The Big Boy (restaurant) in Aurora.” She also remembers that The Huddle would be open after football and basketball games on Friday nights and would have a huge crowd.


Peg Peckworth Parsons who now divides her time between Florida and Maine attended BHS only for her freshman year when activities were upstairs over Rachielle’s Pharmacy: “I remember Mrs. Schiedler kept a ‘tight ship’ and we all had lots of fun. I remember the music, dancing and socializing. What amazed me was that in Batavia different races came together without fighting. I remember one of the Geneva guys tried to infiltrate, but Mrs. Schiedler turned him away at the door.” She also remembers a quartet, Emmit Williams, James Prince, and two brothers, Spencer and Harold, performing while they sang. “That was just great,” Parsons said.


Vivid memories


Two classmates from Batavia High’s Class of 1967 have differing but vivid memories of times at The Huddle. Dennis Thomas, a retired police officer, and Mayor Jeff Schielke both recall times at The Huddle.


Thomas was Batavia’s Deputy Chief of Police when he retired a few years ago. “I was ‘in-and-out’ at The Huddle,” he says. “If the band was good, we’d stay. If not, we’d drive down to the Big Boy in Aurora or to Rex’s Drive-In in St. Charles.”


When Schielke and Thomas were students, there was sometimes a live band composed of students: Ron Smith, leader; Jim Cavins, Roger Nagy and Mark Neeley.


“They were really good and had a following,” Thomas says. He adds that “I loved high school but I wasn’t a really good student.”


As a high school student, Schielke was on the Huddle board in 1965, ’66, and ’67. One event he remembers involved a student, police, and the city electric and street departments. His observations were confirmed by Eldon Frydendall, a Batavia Insurance agent. The incident occurred when Frydendall was in high school in the mid-1950s.


Bob Morley, a BHS student at the time, had a small car –a blue King Midget –Frydendall says. “It looked kind of like a Jeep, sort of square.” One evening Morley came to the Huddle when it was at 8 E. Wilson St., and parked his small car on the bridge.


Morley was talking with Mrs.Schiedler when someone raced up the stairs telling him there was a problem with his car and he ought to come down to street level. When he did, he found the car wedged between the bridge railing and a city light pole. Frydendall speculates that several young men picked the vehicle up –it didn’t weigh much -- and placed it where it could not be moved.


Police were called and Officers George Kramer and Dick Clark responded. The car was stuck so fast that the police called the Batavia Public Works Department. The light pole had to be removed so the car could be placed back on the pavement. Bob Morley’s dad, Dr. Arthur Morley, a Batavia physician, paid the bill for the pole removal. Schielke says that Bob Morley never forgave the students who wedged his car on the bridge and laughed at his plight.


Continuing the tradition


After Mrs.Schiedler stopped leading The Huddle, others stepped in to take over. Schielke remembers that the first new leaders were Floyd Fitch and his wife, Gloria, and Elaine Meyers. Later, Police Chief Bob Popeck enlisted police officers to take an active interest in The Huddle. Popeck formed a parent committee with Mona Nelson, Gloria Fleming, Mary Hill and some others as a liaison between the police, the community and the teen-agers. “It was a way to get better information about kids and families,” Thomas says, “and to foster respect and improved communication between citizens and police.”


Thomas says Officers Fred Behner and Jim Fletcher were instrumental in keeping The Huddle going in those years and Detective Frank McKnight supervised floor hockey games several nights a week.


Mayor Schielke remembers that The Huddle as a teen center wavered somewhat in the 1970s and mentions that this was a time of unrest throughout society. But he doesn’t believe it ever shut down completely.


Frydendall says one of the “last stops” for The Huddle was on the first floor of the current City Hall building before it was remodeled. There was a big open room. Someone donated some Ping-Pong tables and a game like Foosball. The space had no ambiance but it did attract teens.


The Batavia Park District was formed in 1969 and later took over teen activities that had been handled by The Huddle. At first activities were at the East Side Community Center (formerly Holy Cross Catholic Church) . Then some activities were moved to a house the Park District owns at North Prairie and State Streets. Kristin Bykowski, park district supervisor, says the current Batavia Teen Program serves middle- and high school students and those who are not yet 21 years old.


She says there are no advance registrations and admission is $5. While most who attend are from Batavia High, some come from other area high schools, especially when a live band plays. When the Huddle was formed, admission was free but students required proof that they attended Batavia High School. “We have dances, an open gym and activities,” Bykowski says. Dances and activities for large groups are in the East Side Community Center. Small groups meet at the house.



‘other of The Huddle’ Though activities continue, no one has the longevity that Mrs. Schiedler gave to the teen center. In 1964, she was named Batavia’s Citizen of the Year for her dedication to Batavia’s teens. Daughter Dolores Nelson recalls that after her mother ceased to be at The Huddle, she was named Parade Marshal for the annual Batavia High Homecoming Parade. “The day of the parade was nice,” Nelson reminisces, “but Mother just didn’t feel up to going and riding on a float. We decided to sit on the porch and hear the band music from the parade downtown. “The music got louder and we couldn’t figure it out. Then we saw the parade coming up Spring Street right to our house.


The parade stopped there and the King, Queen and their attendants came up to the porch to give Mother lots of hugs. The band kept playing. It was wonderful. It just illustrated what Batavia is like.”




By Glenn Miner


One day, over coffee at McDonald’s, the topic of barbers wasdiscussed. There were stories of “bowl cuts”, “buzz cuts”, notso flat “flat-tops” and the “dipsy-doddle”. Barbers who were tooshort, handicapped, who could or couldn’t cut the popular “flattop”and those who were not pleasant to us in our early years.I decided to investigate and found the following barbers/shopslisted in the various city directories found in our archives.(Batavia changed the street numbers in the 1950’s to simplifyit’s numbering system.)The first barber mentioned, was William Stewart, an African-American, opened his shop in 1852 on South Batavia Avenue.His son, James Stewart, after returning from the Civil War,remained a barber for over 60 years, at 37 East Wilson Street




William A. Nelson, Artistic Barber, 71 S. Batavia Avenue1.jpg

Al Peterson, Barber, 57 S. Batavia Avenue

James Stewart, 37 East Wilson Street


Anderson & Johnson, 61 S. Batavia Avenue

H.E. Halterman, 4 North River Street

A.E. “Del”. McDowell, 4 West Wilson Street

Oscar Pabst, 32 East Wilson Street

James Stewart, 37 East Wilson Street

H.O. Warren, 71 South Batavia Avenue

Archie Boynton, Barber & bath rooms, South Island Avenue



William I. Chamberlain, 9 East Wilson Street

William S. Dreymiller, 8 East Wilson Street

H.E. Halterman, 4 North River Street

A.E. “Del”. McDowell, 4 West Wilson Street

William I. Chamberlain, 4 North River Street

Crystal Barber Shop, 69 South Batavia Avenue

Michael G. Schomig, 53 South Batavia Avenue

Oscar Pabst, 32 East Wilson Street

James Stewart, 37 East Wilson Street

John Wagner, 66 South Batavia Avenue



Crystal Barber Shop, 69 South Batavia Avenue

Michael G. Schomig, 69 South Batavia Avenue

William I. Chamberlain, 9 East Wilson Street

Oscar J. Pabst, 85 West Wilson Street

William I. Chamberlain, 4 North River Street

William S. Dreymiller, 29 East Wilson Street







Fermilab: Then and Now

By Rachael Spalding



1.jpgAs citizens of Batavia, many events and places come to mind when we hear our town mentioned: the annual Windmill Festival, the Riverwalk, the Depot Museum, the Prairie Path, and, of course, Fermilab. Fermilab is, in my opinion, one of the most noteworthy and remarkable places in our city. The site is made up of 6,800 acres of land and is known for the herd of bison that roam the fields, the iconic Perfect Symmetry statue at its entrance and for the pioneer work done by its scientists in the field of particle physics. Fermilab is a symbol of the past, present, and future of Batavia.


The Fermilab legacy began in 1967 when it was commissioned by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and President Johnson. Founding Director Robert R. Wilson established the principles of the then-named National Accelerator Laboratory: the pursuit of scientific excellence, care of the environment, financial responsibility and equal opportunity. These principles still hold true on its campus today. On May 11, 1974, the name of the laboratory was changed to the title we are all familiar with today in memory of Enrico Fermi, who was the recipient of the 1938 Nobel Prize and a luminary in the area of physics. Shortly after this in 1983, the Tevatron (originally referred to as the “Energy Doubler”) began operation.


With a four-milelong circumference, the Tevatron was the highest-energy particle accelerator in the world for years. It was even crowned as a Top 10 Engineering Achievement in Illinois in 1986. Fermilab is also known to be a site of great aesthetic beauty—t features many acres of natural land, including areas devoted to farmers for crop production. Visitors can marvel at the pioneer cemetery that dates back to the 1800s, where Robert Wilson and his wife are buried and can tour the subdivision of Weston where visiting physicists stay. In addition to its historic landmarks, Fermilab has been the site of several groundbreaking discoveries. In June of 1977 the bottom quark was discovered under the leadership of Fermilab’s first director, Robert R. Wilson. The leader of this experiment was future Fermilab director Leon Lederman, who won the 1998 Nobel Prize for discovering two types of neutrinos: electron neutrinos and muon neutrinos. The companion to the bottom quark, the top quark, was discovered much later in February of 1995 under the guidance of Fermilab’s third director, John Peoples.


The amount of time between the discoveries of the bottom and top quarks was due to the construction of a super energy doubler2.jpg that had to be built before further investigation could be done at Fermilab. Then, in July of 2000, under director Michael S. Witherell, the next fundamental particle in the Standard Model, the tau neutrino, was observed at Fermilab. These discoveries were monumental, for they furthered development of the field of particle physics and launched future exploration in the Tevatron. In addition to participating in research on the atomic energy frontier, Fermilab has also initiated developments on the cosmic frontier. Fermilab constructed precision tooling to be used in the Dark Energy Camera in Chile, while the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina that investigates cosmic rays and black holes was constructed largely with contributions from Fermilab. As for the future of Fermilab, it remains rather uncertain.


For the past few years, Fermilab has been pushing to compete with CERN, a major particle accelerator laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. When the United States cut back on funding for atomic research, Fermilab found that the energy levels produced in the Tevatron could not compete with those at CERN and the decision was made to shut down the Tevatron in the fall of 2011 after an impressive twenty-eight years of operation. The future is still bright, however. Fermilab recently provided research that enabled the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle at CERN on July 4, 2012. There are also several projects in the works at Fermilab, including Project X, which will involve the retooling of the anti-proton area and an extension of the linear accelerator in the center of the Main Ring.


The Main Injector at Fermilab will continue sending neutrinos to particle ac celerators in Minnesota and South Dakota. Fermilab will also continue to further development in neutron therapy, which offers pinpointed treatment to patients with tumors. There is no question that Fermilab has played a pivotal role in the development of the field of particle physics, as well as in the history of our community. Its future is undoubtedly bright and we are so privileged to have such an outstanding landmark in our backyard. If you haven’t yet explored the Fermilab grounds, I urge you to take a tour. The site is open to the public every day of the week from 8 AM to 8 PM. More information can be found on the Fermilab website at








Batavia and the Civil War 1862

By Dan Hoefler



April 2011 marks the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Batavia and Kane County did their part to hold the Union together and to eventually gain the freedom for the enslaved population of the south.


As we celebrate the various events that took place during each year of the war it is important to note that when the war concluded and as the veterans of that war grew older, they and their states embarked on a mission to mark those places where they fought with statues and memorials so that future generations would remember their valor and dedication to the cause. Batavia in its west side cemetery has the Newton Memorial. This Civil War Memorial was erected in 1918 and has the following inscription:


This monument erected in honor and in commemoration of the loyal patriotic men who enlisted from the township of Batavia Illinois in the War for the Preservation of the Union 1861-1865 “On fame’s eternal camping ground their silent tents are spread and glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead” The gift of the late Captain and Mrs. Don Carlos Newton



The monument has plaques on the other three sides listing the men and their units which they had enlisted. The statue is of a uniformed Civil War soldier holding a rival. Batavia, along with the rest of Kane County, sent 3,873 soldiers to serve according to the Illinois Military Units inthe Civil War that was published on the 100th anniversary of the War. Commissioned by the Civil War Centennial Commission of Illinois, this document produced a data base of the Units that participated. Every Infantry and Calvary Unit that was organized is listed by company and regiment. The names of the soldiers along with their rank, enlistment and muster dates can be found. In many cases if a soldier fell in battle that may also be listed.


The Year is 1862 and the war turns to the west. Inearly April 1862, the Army of the Tennessee under the command of Ulysses Grant begins to move against the key rail junction of Corinth, Mississippi. After Union victories against Forts Henry and Donelson on the Mississippi River, taking the key rail junction meant access to the Confederate heartland and eventually to the South’s coastal ports. On April 6 and 7th the 7th Illinois from Kane County would participate in the bloodiest engagement in American history up to that time.


The Battle of Shiloh is named for a small church located in the central portion of the battlefield. The battle is also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing. The battle was the first of many large battles during the war that had in excess of 20,000 casualties and was an omen that the war would last for a much longer time than anyone had anticipated.


Thanks to Mr. Jody Switzer we have some idea of how many soldiers from the Civil War are buried in Batavia and in other Kane County Cemeteries, along with the many memorials that may also be found. His work uncovered that possibly 25 soldiers are resting in the West Side Cemetery and 44 in the East Side Cemetery. Batavia has always remembered those who have served and will well into the future. In a future addition to the newsletter, the story of the fight to make Gettysburg a National Park.



News from the Museum

by Carla Hill





Museum Receives Rare Salesman Sample Windmill



Every year the museum receives many wonderful donations from local families. It is always exciting to see a photograph or artifact added to the collection. This past year the museum received an assortment of wonderful artifacts as a gift from Ralph and Roberta Jaschob. You can imagine our delight when one of the artifacts we received was a rare Salesman Sample Windmill Model from the US Wind Engine & Pump Company.


Ralph Jaschob’s father and mother were Harry and Anna Jaschob. The family home was on E Wilson St. Harry Jaschob was a tool and dye maker for the US Wind Engine & Pump Co. for about thirty years, and also worked for Batavia Metal Products during WWII.


When asked about the history behind the model, Ralph said, “When Batavia Metal Products took over the US, (this is what everyone called the company, even during the war), the windmill models were given to some of the employees. My dad brought one home and gave it to me. I can remember some of these model windmills being put up on garage roofs for weather vanes. The one that I had was never left outdoors. I guess some people never thought that these models were valuable. Most of them were probably thrown away when they no longer would operate. It would be interesting to know how many of these model windmills were made”.


Roberta’s father and mother were John and Huldah Schiedler. Their house was on Spring St. Roberta’s dad worked for and retired from the Edison Electric Co. Her mother, Huldah Schiedler, was named, Batavia’s Citizen of the Year in 1964. She was given the award for serving more than two decades as sponsor and advisor to the local teenage youth center named the Huddle.


Roberta and Ralph attended grade school at Louise White School, and high school at Wilson & Batavia Ave. They both graduated in the BHS Class of 1951. They now reside in Minnesota.


Museum Donations 2012

by Chris Winters





The staff at the Depot Museum is pleased to share that we have also received several rareartifacts in the past few months.


U.S. Wind Engine Model Windmill from Ralph Jaschob of MN

D.R. Sperry Company Buggy Wheel Soaker from Russell Smelser of KS

Newton Wagon from Ellen Specter of IA


Special thanks go to our board members, Glenn Miner and John White, for spending a day of their summer to make a road trip to Iowa to bring the Newton Wagon home to Batavia.


We are always excited to add pieces of Batavia’s past to our collections, whether the items are large or small. Please keep the museum in mind when sorting through your attics or corners. We are always interested in obtaining photos, business advertising, and memorabilia from schools, churches, and clubs. These items make great exhibit pieces that we can share with our visitors and help to educate the younger generation in our community.



From the President

Bob Peterson





Welcome to the members of the Batavia Hstorical Society. We are happy to report that the society is doing well. Membership chairman, Gary King, reports that our membership stands at 756. We have added the following members since the first of the year:




Adam & Juli Eggleston, Aurora IL

Laura S. Lundgren, DeKalb IL

Mrs. Caryl Fredrickson, Temple TX

Rosalie Byrne, Franklin TN

John O’Dwyer, Plano TX

Austin O’Dwyer, Overland Park KS

Patrick O’Dwyer, Batavia IL

Jeffery O’Dwyer, Big Rock IL

Tom O’Dwyer, San Diego CA

Maureen Parto, Wooddale IL

Davis W Simpson, St. Charles IL

Phyllis Holstead, Batavia IL

Tom Wicklund, Medford OR

Greg Hall Family Batavia IL

Jody Haltenhof, Batavia IL

Jerry & Marjorie Branson, Batavia IL


Treasurer, Jon Habeggar, has received gifts and memorial contributions from the following. Thanks very muchto these contributors.


Donations since the beginning of the year are as follows:


In Memory of:


Donald Miller from John & Mary Lou White


Francis Youssi from Robert & Suzanne Peterson


John O’Dwyer from Robert & Suzanne Peterson


John O’Dwyer from Richard and Lois Benson


Other donations: For putting the newsletter on-line from Edith Benson


No reason noted-Northern Illinois Antiques Dealers Association


Nominating Committee, chaired by Glen Minor, is preparing a slate of officers and Board members standing for election at our September Annual meeting.


Trevor Steinbach will present Charles Ambler Bucher to the Batavia Historical Society on Sunday, September 30 at 2:00 pm in the City Council chambers. Bucher will be presented as Tailor, Soldier, Burgeon and Public Servant during his life in Batavia.


My special thanks goes out to Wynette Edwards who has volunteered to edit and compose our newsletters for the next two years. Thank you so much, Wynette! (Happy to do it. WE)


See you in the next newsletter.

Bob Peterson


The Batavia Historian welcomes two new writers in this issues. Rachael Spalding is a student at Batavia High School who likes science, music and writing. Dan Hoeffler is a retired school administrator who is a Civil War buff. If you have a special interest that you want to share or enjoy researching and writing about history, the Batavia Historian welcomes your submissions. Send them to The Gustafson Research Center is open for research Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons from 2 to 4 PM and the public library also has a local history room available.