Volume Forty-One

No. 2


April, 2000


 A Walk along East Wilson Street in the Early Days


In 1961 , Mrs. W. C. (Madge Grimes) Spencer, a member of an old Batavia family, wrote a series of articles for the Batavia Herald describing the busi­nesses and homes that existed along both sides of East Wilson Street from the bridge to Prairie Street. She did not say what the time period was, but it appears to have been the early 1890s.


We have done some editing, principally to clarify some of the com­ments for today's readers. For ex­ample, Mrs. Spencer wrote about her walk in the present tense, so we have made changes and insertions in brackets that we considered neces­sary to make it clear whether use of the words "now" or "present" in the ar­ticle referred to the 1890s about which she wrote, 1961 when she wrote the article, or today. Readers will recog­nize many of the buildings that still exist.




We wish to acknowledge the help of our Historian, Bill Wood, in identify­ing the pictures that accompany this article. Many came from his private collection, including ones taken around 1900 by Joseph L. Blair.


Our memories play us many tricks at times, but the notes here recorded are as remembered. There may be errors regarding the exact locations of buildings, or the sequence of occu­pa ncy of these places of business, but they all existed at one date or another on the section known as East Wilson Street.The street was not paved as now, and the hill was much steeper.


At the corner of Wilson and Washington, the hill was cut down several feet, mak­ing the terraces on either side much higher. Early pictures show the old picket fence around the Grimes' cor­ner [northeast corner of Washington and Wilson] only about two feet from the level of the yard. On the Crane corner across Wilson, a high stone wall kept the terrace from falling into the street. The road was unpaved, and the dirt and dust were unbearable at times. On our trip east on this street, we first came west across the old stone bridge, with its arches and pillars of stone from the quarries south of the town (Picture 1).


This bridge was built so strong that it was the only bridge along the Fox River left standing in­tact at the time of the great ice breakup of 1887. The Town Board in 1850 voted "to raise by tax the sum of $500 for the purpose of building a bridge across the Fox River at the Vil­lage of Batavia provided an additional sum of $700 shall be raised by sub­scription for the same purpose."


At the east end of the bridge on the south side of the street, there was a vacant lot, later the site of the ticket office and waiting room of the Chi­cago, Aurora and Elgin railroad, which carried passengers hourly to Chicago for the sum of fifty-six cents per round trip. The lower part of that building was used as a restaurant. When the east side school burned in 1893, an addi­tion was put on the south side, built on stilts, a story above the river. Here Mary Garfield taught her fifth grade until the completion of the new east side school.





























The O.M. Thomle building came next (Here Mr. Thomle car­ried on a furniture store on the first floor, with rooms on the second floor used for a cabinet shop where he built coffins as needed by the townspeople.)


Prices for these hand-made articles ranged in price from three dollars for a child's coffin to about ten dollars for an adult's. The third floor of the build­ing was later used by the Masonic Lodge after it moved from the third floor of the Kinne & Jeffery building. When the east side school burned, the second floor and the basement of the building were used for classrooms, to­gether with the room built behind the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin terminal.


Mrs. Emma Beem was one of the primary teachers whose class was in the basement. (Since the close of the furniture busi ness, the Thomle Block has housed the dry goods business of the father of Louis Silverman, then the Silverman and Morris Company, later the Julius Mor­ris store, and at present [1961] the Phipps Department Store.


Continuing east on Wilson Street, we would come to the Litgen's Gro­cery Store. This store was run by two brothers who, because they dealt in bakery goods and because of their difference in size, were known to all as "Big Pies" and "Little Pies." A.H. Arnold conducted a men's furnishing store in the next building.


Here you would be served by either Charles Grimes or Harry Conley, who acted as clerks.The wooden Indian encountered in front of the next building told us it was a cigar store. John Geiss conducted this business. Here Otto Konrad and others made all the cigars sold, including the widely known "Geiss Five Cent Cigar." Geiss subsequently replaced this and the adjoining structure of the building that is now occupied by Rachielles Pharmacy.]


In the next building Ed Young had a bakery. The bake shop was in the basement. On the main floor, bakery goods, especially bread, were sold, and in the rear was a small restau rant and lunch room. This was later moved to the Island in a small build­ing west of the present [1961] post office. Oscar Brenner and his father occu­pied the next building where they had a general dry goods store.


Their liv­ing quarters were on the second floor. Later th is bu ilding was used as the first movie house in Batavia, with seats selling for five and ten cents. The build­ing was so narrow that the rowan ei­ther side of the center aisle allowed for only three seats. The first picture shown in this theater was "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves."Next we came to the large stone building on the corner, known as the Meredith Hardware Store (Picture 5). Later it became Meredith and Holbrook.


In 1961 this is the site of the Batavia National Bank [now the new site of the Valley National Bank]. There was an outside stairway on the east side of the building. This was used to reach the office of Dr. R.S. Bothwell on the second floor. The tele­phone exchange was located later on this floor (Picture 6). By going through a hall, stairs were reached that led to the third floor lodge rooms of the Or­der of Odd Fellows.




Then we reached the crossing of River Street. On the southeast corner was the large stone building owned by Myron Kinne. This was a fine grocery store that later on also contained a fine drug department run by John Jeffery. It was then known as the Kinne & Jeffery Store. The third floor was the home of the Masonic Lodge until it took up residence on the third floor of the Thomle Block. This building is now [1961] Schielke's Food Store. [In 1977 this building, together with the one adjacent that is described in the next paragraph, was taken down; the space is now vacant.] Immediately joining the Kinne & Jeffery building was the James Mair Shoe Store. Here you were fitted with anything in footwear by Mr. Mair or his clerk, Miss Libbie Mair. This building now [1961] is occupied by the Pinoke Johnson Men's Furnishing Store.


Join­ing this building to the east is a little building once used as a millinery shop by Mrs. Ostrander and her daughter Mamie. Just across a green plot to the east stood the Mair home. The back of this building had a low stone basement, on ground level, which was very cool. Here you could buy fresh milk daily by taking your own container and pay­ing about four cents a quart.


From here on, the climb began to grow steeper, and on the rise of the hill stood the building occupied by Mrs. Gregg and Miss Sarah Lumm [in 1961 by Dr. Morley as a doctor's office]. "Gate" Lumm, as she was called, to­gether with Mrs. Gregg, did fine sew­ing for the ladies of the town, as well as those who came from Aurora and elsewhere.We then came to the corner where stood the home of Charlie Leipold.


This building was later moved to make way for the Texaco Filling Station [now the Grand Central convenience store].One of the landmarks of the town was just across the street on a high rise of ground surrounded by a stone wall, with large stone steps leading up to the building itself. Known as the Fowler House , the build­ing was originally built as a hotel, with many rooms. This hotel was run by the parents of Charlie Fowler.





The interior was so arranged that later on, when the Smith and Crane families moved there from their quarters above the Smith and Crane Store on the north­east corner of Wilson and River Streets, it was easily made into two apartments, with Mr. and Mrs. Smith on the east side and L.C. Crane, with his family of Pearl and Glenn, on the west.


The entire building later on be­came the Crane Funeral Home until that was relocated and the corner became the site of the present Stan­dard Oil service station.To the east of this building was a large vacant lot with a stone wall across the front. This lot was later purchased by Dr. Charles Johnson, and on it he built a home with the basement outfitted to be used as a doctor's office.


Immediately to the east was a large home owned by the Baptist Church and used as a parsonage. Here Rev. George Daniels lived until the parson age was sold to help finance the present Baptist church building that was dedicated in 1889. In after years, this house was the home of the Emmanuel Holbrook family and the A.T. Rogers family, and finally it became the property of Glenn Crane, serving as the Crane Funeral Home. One could not walk up East Wilson Street in those days without next stop­ping to view the old Joseph Blair home.


The quaint little house and yard were surrounded by a white picket fence, and the garden bloomed with beautiful flowers. One especially noticed the quantities of hollyhocks of every color and hue.Another block or so past the Chris­tian Church [now Kon Printing], you came to the C.B.&Q. railroad tracks. On the corner was the H.B. Bartholomew Coal and Lumber Yards. Across the street on the oppo­site corner, still along the railroad tracks, was the Theodore Wood Coal and Lumber Yards. Both of these en­terprises did a thriving business.


This is one place Mrs. Spencer's memory played her a trick. Joseph Blair's house was off Wilson, on Van Buren.


The Batavia Historian, recipient of the Il­linois State Historical Society's 1997 Award for Superior Achievement, is pub­lished quarterly by the Batavia Historical Society.


The editor, Bill Hall, will welcome any suggestions or material -- 630-879-­2033.


The Depot Museum, a cooperative effort of the Society and the Batavia Park Dis­trict, is open from 2 to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sun­day from March through November.


The director, Carla Hill, can be reached at 630-879-5235.


Winter on the Farm

By Helen Bartelt Anderson



Here is another of Helen Anderson's stories about growing up on a Batavia Township farm in the early part of the twentieth century. Our readers always look forward to these stories, told in a way that only Helen can tell them.


Today, January 20, 2000, is a very cold day, with nightime temperatures below zero. I am looking out the window in our family room. The sun is shining brightly in a clear, bright blue sky, in contrast to snow-frosted tree limbs and the snow-covered ground. It makes a beautiful picture. There has been no melting, even on roofs that

are in direct sunlight.


My mind goes back 75-80 years ago to days like today, to the sound of a gas engine-powered buzz saw, with Papa and Uncle Charlie sawing logs so big that some of them required the strength of both men. As a little girl, I watched from the dining room window as they pushed those big logs into the saw blades. Sometimes the hardness of the wood and the size of the log caused the saw to bind and smoke.


They would have to stop to let it cool down and give the gas engine a rest. Men from town cut down the dead trees in the woods. They were thankful to do the work at a time when jobs were hard to find. Instead of paying them with money, which was also scarce, Papa gave them half of the wood.


Some of those trees must have been growing since Indians and buffalo roamed in this area. There was a shallow, rounded trough that ran through our woods, and across Paul Fichtel's woods, also. Papa figured it must have been either a buffalo or Indian trail that led to the Fox River, but because of plowed fields it could not be traced.


The big logs were hauled up to the farmyard by attaching a large log chain to them and rolling them onto a skid. With horses hitched to the skid, it slid easily through the heavy snow. Out in the woods, the trees were cut down by two men, using an 8-foot crosscut saw.


My brother, Roger, who may have 'been seven or eight, wanted so to be a part of this wood-cutting operation, but Papa would not allow him to come near because of the danger of flying chips and sawdust getting in his eyes. After the blocks of wood were sawed into chunks that were more easily handled, the largest ones were hauled into one side of the woodshed, to be used in the furnace. Roger helped by hauling a block at a time in his wagon. The rest of the blocks were piled up in the yard to be put on the chopping block and, with the help of an axe, split into kitchen stove-sized pieces by anyone who found the time to do it, maybe just keeping ahead of the need.


I can hear Mama saying, "Somebody has to chop wood today." Sometimes she had to do that chore herself until Roger was old enough. In the kitchen, Mama cooked pork ribs with turnips, made mashed potatoes, and stewed tomatoes. Dessert was baked apples or apple dumplings.


All of this food was from the farm except the apples. Once a year a Mr. Fitts from Michigan brought a freight car full of different kinds of apples. The boxcar stood on a sidetrack by the depot. People spread the word and bought apples by the bushel and barrel. There were many different kinds. Papa would buy' a barrel orall-purpose, like Jonathan, and maybe a bushel of Macintosh for pies and  baked apples.


Mama's kitchen stove was many things, some good, some not so good. It created lots of dust and ashes. Mama shook the grates so the ashes fell into the metal box below and then carried the ashes out every morning  before she could start the fire to make breakfast. In the summer, the stove pipes had to be taken down and cleaned. But in the winter, there are days when I would trade our gas stove for that old stove. It had six lids -- two lids were over the fire box, two farther to the right where food would simmer (like big kettles of soup), and two still farther to the right that gave just enough heat to curdle milk for cottage cheese or steep onion skins for Easter eggs.


The oven was always ready to bake something good -- potatos, squash, or delicious desserts, also manyloaves of bread. There was always warm water in the reservoir, attached to the side of the stove. Someone had to add a big pailful of water every day -- not from a faucet but, rather, from the pump house across the yard. There were two warming closets above the stove so food could be kept warm if the men were late getting to meals. An open oven door dried mittens and felt boots (heavy inside bootliners). When any of us had a cold, sitting in Mama's little rocker in front of the open oven door brought considerable comfort by chasing a,waythechills. There was a space, about two feet wide, behind the stove that was always warm. It was a perfect spot to put a blanket-lined basket of baby pigs that arrived too early in the season.


Papa also used to test seed corn. He would take a heavy feed bag, lay it flat on the floor, and start rolling it. In each turn, he would place a row of corn kernels that he had shelled from a bright, shiny ear from the corn crib. He would sprinkle water on each row. Then, after he had the cloth rolled up he would wet it, placing it in an old, very long bread pan. After seven or eight days, he would carefully unroll the cloth to see if the kernels had started to sprout. If not, he would leave it for a few more days behind the stove, then check again.


If most of the kernels were beginning to sprout, he would use the best ears in the corn crib for spring planting. If the kernels were only half good, he would order seed corn from Feldott's or George Howarth's.


Even in the cold winter months, there were always exciting things happening for Roger and me. We were the luckiest kids in the world.


March 1887 in Batavia

by Marilyn Robinson


Some significant and insignificant events took place in Batavia in March of 1887. A cider dealer named Searles on the east side of the village paid a fine and costs to a poor unfortunate who got drunk in his place a few Sundays before. Searles must have paid reluctantly because all cider dealers at the time said cider didn't intoxicate.





Anderson Brothers were building another addition to their store on the  northeast corner of Wilson Street and Batavia Avenue Elijah Gammon and his brother-inlaw, Don Carlos Newton, were starting to remove the buildings from the Col. Lyon lot in preparation for the building of the new Methodist Episcopal Church on Batavia Avenue just north of the Anderson Brothers building.


The Baptists were working hard and hoped to begin building a new stone church on their lot at the corner of Wilson and Washington Streets. Mrs. Michael Collins, who slipped and fell on the icy sidewalk near George Harvey's and broke her arm, asked for remuneration from the village.


The Batavia Prohibition Club met in the hall at the engine house and decided to hold another meeting.


Henry Adams, of Dundee, moved his family to Batavia. He was engaged to make the cheese in the factory this season. Rev. w.w. Steele, of Calvary Episcopal Church, was in the midst of delivering a series of sermons to young men. The subject of this weeks Sunday evening program was the "The Fatal Awakening."


All young men in Batavia were cordially invited to attend.


Pictures -- Please!


As you know from reading this and other issues of the Historian, we are  fortunate to have wonderful pictures of Batavia's past in our archives. But we never have enough -- and we know that there are great ones in many of our members' collections.


Please bring them to Carla Hill; she will have them reproduced and will promptly return the originals to you. Do it now before you forget or the images of our past are lost forever.


What do we want? Pictues old or new. Anything having to do with Batavia. The people who helped, in big ways or small, to make Batavia what it is today -- preferably engaged in work at quarries, factories, or offices, or conducting meetings and participating in special events.


The businesses themselves -- the shops, ---~ stores, and factories. Old street~ scenes. Parades and celebrations. Please help -- now!


The "Spit and Argue Club"

by Arnold O. "Chuss" Johnson



The nucleus of the "Spit and Argue Club" arose on the east side bridge when some of the old gents would stand around and discuss the news of the day, the status of the profes­sional sports teams, and their own work experiences. They used to stand by the bridge and sometimes in front of the old Geiss Cigar Store, now Rachielles Drug Store.


You can still see the "No Loitering" signs in the stairway of the building. Some time later, they met at the southwest corner of Batavia Avenue and Wilson Street, in front of what is now Gammon Corners.


There were wrought steel benches there, which were well made and very comfortable. I believe they were put there at one time so that women with their children, coming up the hill or pushing a baby buggy, could stop and rest where there was a little shade.


When it was real hot and sticky, you could depend on there being a little breeze -- I be­lieve there was a draft coming up the hill. The "members" of the club would sit down there in the evening and talk. I don't remember exactly when I be­came a member, but it was after World War II. It must have been in the early 50s.


I sat there pretty regularly, whit­tling my wooden chains -- I completed a 17-link chain during my time there. I was in the club for about ten or fifteen years, from the early 50s until about 1965.


People who were there included Little AI Moberg, the carpenter, and Walter Marcuson, who built several houses in Batavia for resale and for renting, some of them on Houston Street up toward Mallory Avenue. And there were Einar Wicklund, Ernie Philips, Gerald Robinson, and Little Johnnie Johnson, who was a brother of Billie, Stanley, Otts, and Ollie. From time to time, John Anderson -- that's John Arthur Anderson -- would stop by.


Although we used to smoke ciga­rettes, I don't remember many who chewed tobacco, and despite our club's name, I don't think there was any spitting. But there were some strong discussions, ones you could call arguments. Sometimes the situa­tions would get fairly out of hand. It was before the revolution in sex and drugs and the youth problems began. I recall particularly that there was not the bashing, so called, that is going on now.


We had very little interest in talking about the personalities in Batavia in a derogatory manner. Much of the conversation was about old times and where people worked and the people they worked with. We found out a lot about the relationships among the people in town.


Emil Johnson, who used to drive a spring wagon with a white horse, would go out in the morning to take grocery or­ders and then in the afternoon he would deliver the orders for the cus­tomers. There were the milk wagon drivers, Harvey Houck and Carl Thryselius among others, and the dairy owners -- Peterson Dairy fol­lowed by Anderson Dairy, which later moved to Oregon, Illinois. On the east side, there were the Standard Dairy, run by George Poole and his partner, the Cloverdale Dairy and the Pleas­ant View Dairy, owned by Bailing and Troop.


Years before, there was a man on the east side who peddled milk and would fill your half-gallon pail with a dipper --I think his name was Bladford or Bradford or something like that.


Although most of us were too young to go into service in World War I, we knew a lot about the old timers who were in that war and their experiences during the war and the depression in the 1930s. We recalled how some of the old gents would walk back and forth to North Aurora to work ten hours a day at the Sperry Foundry, summer and winter, and we marveled at how some of them were able to do it.


There were the long lines of people looking for work at 25 to 30 cents an hour -­later it went up to 40 cents an hour.


We also talked about the N.R.A., the National Recovery Act. We remembered when the street cars on Batavia Avenue used to de­liver freight to some of the stores in town and the so-called Toonerville Trolley on the east side. It went to Glenwood Park, now a forest pre­serve, south of Batavia and then to Batavia Junction in Warrenville before proceeding to Chicago.


We reminisced about the many people whose experiences were re­flected in nicknames and how some of those people got those nicknames. For instance, there was John Ander­son who was called Grubba John. Grubba is a Swedish word for work­ing hard in the soil. Grubba John lived on property on McKee Street on the edge of town, property that has now mostly been developed into McKee Fields.


There was another man called "Neversweat" -- his name was Ed Swanson. He was a union man. In 1907, there was a railroad strike that affected the shops here in Batavia; when the workers went out on strike, he gave up on the idea of competing in the workaday world, so they called him a 20-year striker.


He had a brother called Crazy Emil, who was a recluse, completely self-sufficient on his ten­acre farm out west on Main Street. He farmed, cut his own fuel from oak trees on his property, and took care of ev­erything, basically like the pioneers. Those two had another brother who was a contractor in Aurora. Their fa­ther, Nels Swanson, was called Po­tato Nels because he grew potatoes at the corner of First Street and Harrison Street. From what I've been told, they were really good potatoes, and he was pretty much of an expert in gardening. I learned a lot about the old timers' gardens -- those discussions I like the best.


Editor's Note: It would be interesting to know why the "Spit and Argue Club" ended in the mid-1960s. We hope something like it is going on somewhere in Batavia today -- and that someone will remember -- so that those who follow us can enjoy similar reminiscences of today's people and events in Batavia.

East Batavia Cemetery
by Marilyn Robinson
First published in the Kane County Chronicle. Used by permission. Marilyn Robinson's column appears in the Chronicle each Tuesday.
Recently two old books were found hidden away at City Hall and given to the Depot Museum. They contain records of the founding of Batavia's city cemeteries.Batavia was settled in 1833, and in Apri I, 1845, citizens met to arrange for securing land for a cemetery. Isaac Wilson moved that "Be it resolved that we determine it expedient to have a cemetery on the east side of the river in Batavia."
The men at the meeting went out to examine ground for a site. When they returned, they approved these resolutions suggested by Wil­son that:
- A committee of five be appointed to negotiate for the purchase of two acres of land; to pay for, improve, and fence the ground; and to sur­vey it and lay it off into lots and al­leys suitable for a burying ground. The committee (trustees) shall sell the lots at auction to the highest bid­ders and prepare a plat of the ground to keep track of the persons who purchase each lot. No person shall buy more than two square rods of ground within the cemetery.
- The proceeds of the sale of lots should be returned to the subscribers who advanced the money for the pur­chase of the ground and improve­ments until all are paid off with in­terest at the rate of 12% per annum. The trustees layoff a portion of the ground as a Potter's Field for the interment of strangers, transient persons, or persons too poor to pur­chase a lot.
James Latham, Isaac Wilson, I.S.P. Lord, John H. Hood, and George W. Fowler were the five appointed to carry out the resolutions.
A month later the proprietors met at George Fowler's store. A board of trustees was chosen. Isaac Wilson and Christian B. Dodson were to hold office for three years, James Latham and I.S.P. Lord for two years, and Orsamus Wilson for one year.
Be­tween the two meetings, the commit­tee purchased two acres of land from George Fowler for a total of $70. The land lay along a public road on what is now North Washington Avenue. The only business recorded be­tween 1845 and 1849 was to hire John Flynn to repair the fence in front of the cemetery for $1.
When the board met in July, 1849, it was reported that trustee Wilson had died and Latham, Dodson, and Lord had moved away. A new board was formed with James Risk, John Gregg, Elijah Lee, Orsamus Wilson, Monroe Lord, and Samuel Arnold.
The board set a meet­ing that evening at candlelight to elect officers. A year later, the trustees met to consider building a fence around the cemetery. Bids were to be taken for constructing a fence five hands high with red cedar posts seven feet high. Eight rod hitching posts and railing were to be furnished. Cornelius Latham submitted the lowest bid, $125.
It is fifteen years before another meeting of the association is recorded -- 1865, following the Civil War. It was called because of the poor condition of the grounds. The original plat map of the grounds was lost. A new plat had bee n made abo ut 1858 or 1859 by Adin Mann with as nearly correct names as could be ascertained. It was voted to remake the plots, mend the fence, and provide that no shade trees should be planted without consent of trustees. Funds were to be raised to build a stone fence around the cem­etery. They raised the selling price of the lots from the previous $2-4 each to $10.
In March 1866, the stone fence idea was abandoned and repair of the old fence was planned.
In February, 1869, new rules were adopted. No dead could be buried in Potter's Field without permission from the board. No one could be buried in the cemetery unless a lot was owned.
A fine of $5 to $25 would be levied against anyone doing vandalism in the cemetery or to property in the cem­etery.
A sexton was to take charge of the grounds and would be paid $2 for digging an adult grave and $1.50 for a child's grave. For this compensation, he was also to keep the grass mowed, and he was given the key to the fence so that no burial could take place with­out his making a record of it.
In 1879. two additional acres were purchased at a cost of $200 from L. P. Barker.
In April 1880, two more acres were purchased, one to the east and one to the south sides. In May, 1885, it was voted to grade and gravel the south and east driveways with con­necting streets on the east.
This is the last of the business re­corded in the books for this cemetery.
[Ed. note: The cemetery was subse­quently deeded to the city.]
Next time the story of the west side cemetery association will be told.

Do You Remember the Depression --

Or Want to Hear the Experiences of Ones Who Do?


Heritage Roundtable

2:00 p.m., April 11

Bartholomew Room, Civic Center


Come to the Bartholomew Room on Tuesday, April 11 , to share the memories of those who lived through the 1930s -- the years of the Great Depression.


What jobs did people hold? What did those who had no jobs do? How did people with little money find entertainment -- movies, radio, fairs, picnics, roller derbies, etc.? And what kind of food did people eat?


Hear answers to these questions and many more.

Bring friends -- everyone is welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

Do You Have a Red Dot?

Please look at your address on this issue. If it contains a red dot, our records indicate that you have not paid your dues for the year 2000, and this will be the last issue of the Historian that you will  receive until they are paid. You can call our treasurer, Jerry Harris, at 630-879-2467 if you believe that our records are incorrect.

Do You Have a Red Dot?

Please look at your address on

this issue. If it contains a red dot,

our records indicate that you have

not paid your dues for the year

2000, and this will be the last issue

of the Historian you will

receive until they are paid.

You can call our treasurer, Jerry

Harris, at 630-879-2467 if you

believe that our records are incorrect.


What's New At The Museum?

by Carla Hill, Director





The Depot Museum reopened to the general public on Monday, March 20. We will be opening with a new exhibit featuring a beautiful collection of fans and women's accessories. During the time we have been closed, we have made many changes. 
A new wall has been constructed in the main room of the museum. The wall will serve as the divider between the changing exhibit area and the new railroad exhibit we are working on.
Chris Winter and I have redone the gift shop area, which will feature the many new items that were purchased for resale by the Society. We experienced a water pipe break in January, which has led to some fairly major repairs in the photograph area in the "Little Town in a Big Woods" exhibit in the lower level of the museum.
The new cataloging volunteers have started work at the museum under the leadership of Marge Holbrook.
We hope eventually to computerize the museum's collections.The new addition is well under way, and we will be making plans for the dedica­tion very soon.
The Society will be celebrating an anniversary this year, and the museum will be celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary since its dedication in April of 1975.
We look forward to an exciting spring and summer! We are always looking for volunteers at the museum. If you are interested in volunteering, please call Kathy Fairbairn at 406-9041 or Carla Hill at 879-5235.

Membership Matters
As of December 31, 1999, the So­ciety had 441 members: 114 life members, 301 annual individual mem­bers, and 26 institutional members. Our net growth in membership for the last three years was 13 in 1997, 105 in 1998, and 59 in 1999.
Since the last issue, William Ahlgren of Batavia and Richard and Jaimie Schmidt, also of Batavia, have joined the Society as life members.
Other new members, from Batavia unless otherwise indicated, are:
Julie and Allan Beckstrom (51. Charles),
Phil Benson (Valley Park, Missouri),
Bill and Sue Blair,
Roger and Judith Breisch,
Bette Lou Bumgarner (Arcadia, Florida),
Thomas F. and Betty S. Hart,
Mr. and Mrs. AI Hurt (Tucson, Arizona),
Kim Knudson and Rae Cushing,
Clarice Kunz (Aurora),
Donald and Nancy Murphy,
Joseph and June Staudenbaur,
and the Ray Theis family (Yorkville).
We welcome these new members and look forward to their participation in the activities of the society.
With deep regret, we report the deaths of members Jean Chevalier; Wallace Freedlund; Russell ("Bussy") Nelson, whose mernories of almost 90 years in Batavia were fea­tured in the last issue; and Richard Shewalter.
We received gifts in memory of Bussy Nelson from Yvonne Autenrieth, Philip I. Benson, Mr. and Mrs. F. Blazek, Nancy Gill, Bob and Hazel Hawse, Violet Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. J. Marconi, Dr. and Mrs. George Maxwell, Clyde Means, Mr. and Mrs. James Peterson, Mr. and Mrs. William Peterson, Mr. and Mrs. John Pini, Marilyn Poole, Robert Ream, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Riley, Patrick Scroggins, Catherine Urich, Margaret Urich, Mat­thew Urich, Larry and Annie Wicklund, Tom and Cynthia Wicklund, and John and Sandi Wilcox.
We also received gifts in memory of Joseph Burton, whose death was reported in the last issue, from Robert John Bagel, Linda Bareis, Allen F. Mead, and the Medi­cal-Dental Staff of Loyola University.
Joe and Addie Marconi made a do­nation in memory of Connie Markuson, and the Fox Hunter Questers (Sandra Chalupa, vice president) made a gift for the purchase of genealogical research material for the new research room.
The Society wishes to extend thanks to these do­nors.


Spring Membership Meeting -- Don't Forget!


2:30 p.m., Sunday, April 9, 2000

Civic Center, Bartholomew Room


Enjoy an afternoon with Frank Lloyd Wright, personified by Lyman Shepard, a founding member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation.


Mr. Shepard travels from coast to coast bringing his impression, in authentic costumes, of Wright's career.


This is a "don't miss" event! Bring your friends. Light refresh­ments will be served.