Volume Thirty-One

No. 3


May 1990


Announcing the . . . First Annual Bernard Cigrand Antique Show and Sale


June 9 and 10 Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a. m. -4:00 p. m.

Batavia Civic Center
327 W. Wilson Street Batavia, Illinois 60510

Proceeds benefit the Batavia Historical Society


Tickets:            $2.50 in advance; $3:00 at door. 

 Tickets will be available at all Batavia antique shops, banks, and the savings and loan.








Dr. Bernard J. Cigrand, the "father of Flag Day,” was a resident of Batavia Township for a period of twenty years, from 1912 until 1922.  During that time he lived in the lovely stone house which he built and which still stands at 1184 So. Batavia Ave. Dr. Cigrand was born in the small village of Waubeka, Wisconsin, on October 1, 1866.  Waubeka is located about 30 miles north of Milwaukee.  His father, a blacksmith and wagonmaker, was a native of Luxembourg and emigrated to Wisconsin in 1852.  Dr. Cigrand was the youngest of six children. At the age of nineteen he became a school teacher in a small country school near his home.  Later, in 1886, he quit teaching and attended college to train to become a dentist.  Two years later he graduated from Northwestern University Dental School.  The following year he was married. Both as a child and as a teacher, he had an interest in history and in the flag of his country.  



It is said that on June 14, 1885 his students at the small school in Fredonia where he was teaching were assigned themes to write on the subject of the American flag.  The date, June 14th, coincided with the date on which Congress officially adopted the "Stars and Stripes" as our flag in 1777. It was as early as 1886 that Dr. Cigrand first publicly·proposed Flag Day, and be campaigned from that time on in articles· and lectures for the adoption of June 14th as·a day·to honor the Flag.  In 1894, the American Flag Association was organized with its purpose being to give the flag appropriate recognition. Dr. Cigrand was the secretary, and later president, of the Association.  National interest developed from the celebrations held in Chicago and a nationwide organization was formed with Dr. Cigrand as its president.  The earlier organization was primarily based in Illinois. While promoting his idea of a day to commemorate our flag, Dr. Cigrand also was busy in his new profession.  


He practiced dentistry in Chicago beginning in 1888.  He served on the faculty of several dental schools including Northwestern University and the Illinois School of Dentistry.  He also was elected president of the American College of Dental Surgery. These honors certainly would have been important to Dr. Cigrand, but one of his proudest days must have been when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation for a national observance of Flag Day on June 14, 1914. By this time he had built his home on Batavia Ave. where he also had his dental office.  According to records at Mooseheart, he served as the official dentist there in 1917-18, succeeding Batavia's Dr. Gifford Johnson when "Giff” went into service.  In 1920 he moved his offices to Aurora where his son, Elroy·, joined him in practice. In the spring of 1932 Dr. and Mrs. Cigrand moved to Aurora.  They had just settled in their new home when Dr. Cigrand had a heart attack while in Chicago to deliver his weekly lecture at the University of Illinois Dental College.  He died on May 16, 1932.







The Antique Show mentioned on page 1 is a benefit for our Society.  In the last newsletter I asked for volunteers to help sell tickets at the door and to collect tickets.  To date, very few people have offered to help! I need to hear from everyone who will lend a hand as soon as possible so a schedule can be developed.  The plan is to have-the volunteers work two-hour shifts starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 9th, and at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 10th.  If possible we also would like to be able to staff a booth at the show to sell Society items and enroll new members. The dealers plan to make this an annual event.  Let's show our appreciation by giving them this support. Please call Jim Hanson at 879-7492 and offer to assist.  If unable to reach me, call Marilyn Robinson at 879-2253.  Volunteers will be given complimentary tickets to the show.



Marilyn Robinson Receives an Award


Our Vice-President, Marilyn Robinson, was the recipient of an award from the Illinois Historical Society for her book, LITTLE TOWN IN A BIG WOODS.  The award was presented to her at the annual meeting of the state organization held in Peoria on April 27th.  Her book, written for elementary-age children, has been a best seller for the Society.


New Life Members


During the past six months nine life memberships in the Society have been purchased.  This brings our total to 63 life members. The latest additions have been Don and Margie Clark, Tom and Marion Mair, Harold and Shirley Peterson, Marie Pitz, Roberta Poole, and Frank Saupp, Jr.


Newsletter Spans the Ocean


The last issue of the newsletter travelled half-way around the world to New Zealand.  Previously there was one member living outside of the U.S.A.---Barbara Conde Hopkins who lives in Canada.  Our second one, living "down under," is Joane O'Conner, daughter of Lynn and Agnes Clever. Here in the states we have members living in 19 states other than Illinois, scatter from coast to coast.  The greatest number of out-of-state members are in California (6}.  Here in Illinois members reside in fourteen other communities with the most living in Geneva.


Pardon Our Dust


With all the work going on at the Depot Museum, the dust is flying.  The most obvious is the new landscaping around the exterior.  When completed, there will be a ramp to the lower level of the Museum to provide access for the handicapped.  In addition, the Gunzenhauser-Smith gazebo will be located on the site near the pond and the Coffin Bank, Batavia's first, will be situated to the north of the Depot.  The Museum's exterior is scheduled for a new paint job and new, clear protective covering for the windows has been ordered. Inside, work is underway as well.  The basement is being prepared for a number of permanent displays related to the history and development of our community.  Upstairs, new shelving and special protective storage boxes for our artifacts will soon be in place to better organize our "work area."


The Park District certainly has made this a "Year for the Museum" with all of this work taking place!  We look forward to being able to display more items when the work is completed.  Even with these modifications, the Society will still lack space to display many items and our storage area is limited as well.


Navy Uniforms Needed


This may sound contradictory to the foregoing mention of our lack of storage space, but the Society would like to have the Navy and Marines represented in its collection of armed forces uniforms.  A number of people have donated W.W.I and W.W II Army uniforms but the Society has not received representations for the Navy and Marines. If anyone has a uniform in good condition for either of these branches that he or she would be willing to donate, please contact Carla Hill at the Park District.  As space is limited, it will be necessary to limit the number accepted but hopefully someone will find and donate uniforms for each war.  Carla's number at the Park District is 879-5235.




The following are a sampling of remembrances which have been received as a result of the request made in the January issue.  I would like to hear from more of you with anecdotes and/or glimpses of Batavia's past.  Just jot them down and drop them in the mail. In the early 1900's gypsies still traveled in covered wagons painted with flowers and drawn by horses.  My home was on the northwest corner of Batavia Ave. and Houston St.  The gypsies parked their wagons in front of our house and walked downtown.  I had been told that they kidnapped children and so I hid until they left town. My father, Van Burton, was mayor during the first World War.  I remember our phone ringing about four one morning announcing the end of the war.  Father notified all of the factories and churches to blow their whistles and ring their bells at a certain time.  It must have been early in the morning because it was dark.  The whole town turned out and ran downtown with noisemakers.  We burned an effigy of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany on the bridge. M. B. C.  

I remember the large iron horse trough outside the Kinney and Jeffrey store.  The boys would put small fish---sunfish and pumpkin seeds---in the trough to make the horses snort and rear up when they took a drink. Another remembrance was the stock yards at Prairie and Webster streets.  Boys were paid to drive cattle down the streets to keep them out of people's yards.  Cattle were shipped out every day via the Burlington. Anonymous 

Before I started Grace McWayne School we lived on Washington St. (now Lincoln) by Batavia Dairy.  I recall the time when cattle were herded up Houston St.  I never really knew where they came from, nor where they were going, but all those cattle in the street, in the yards and on the sidewalks, was a very impressive sight in the eyes of a kid and I never forgot it. N.J.  


A Mr. Minich ran a little grocery store about a block north of Blaine St. School and just around the·corner.  We used to buy penny candy there at the end of each week when Dad got paid.  Only a nickel for each of us three children, but, Oh!, how we picked and chose and poor, kind Mr. Minich would stand there patiently waiting until we finally chose the most we could for what we had.  He was so kind and patient.  Then after the start of W.W. I he was so mistreated by people because he was German.  They splashed yellow paint all over the store building even though his son had joined the Army.




Joe Burton had a grocery store on the corner of Batavia Ave. and Main St.  He always gave a bag of candy when the bill was paid on Saturday.  Across the street was a small one-story building that housed a hat store owned by Miss Alexander.