THE BATAVIA HISTORIAN

Volume Fifty-Three

No. 2

 


April, 2012

BATAVIA’S DOCTOR JOHN O’DWYER REMEMBERED

Marj Holbrook

 

Sadly, Dr. John O’Dwyer passed away on February 28, 2012. He touched many lives through his work and will be missed in the Batavia community. The following interview was conducted during the winter of 2011 and recalls many of his memories of his life, his family and the work which he loved.

 

“It was the greatest job in the world,” says Dr. John O’Dwyer, 85, of his half century in medicine, “I’d enjoyed every day and I would go back if I could.” 1.jpg

 

When he was drafted, in December 1944, he’d had spent one semester, at St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota, studying engineering. After boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, he was trained as a medical corpsman and he decided to pursue the medical profession after being discharged. In the Navy, he was a corpsman at Oceanside, Calif., for a while and then returned to Great Lakes. After World War II ended, he was assigned to the Seabees, a Navy construction unit, and spent a few months in the Philippines. Then he was sent to the Seattle Naval Air Station. When the Navy decided it had enough personnel and after serving only a year and a half, he was discharged.

 

He returned to his family home on Early Street, in the Edgewater Area of Chicago. He was one of six children: three brothers and two sisters. His parents valued education and all the brothers served in the military during the war. All earned college degrees on the G.I. Bill. His parents were very proud of them.

 

Just weeks after his discharge, in July 1946, he returned to college to study medicine. While receiving his medical training at Loyola University, Maywood, he lived at home. During his student years at Loyola, he worked in the Emergency Room at Mc- Neal Memorial Hospital in Berwyn.

 

“I worked every fourth night,” he remembers, “and did everything: stitches, setting broken bones, taking X-rays.” The nurses would not call the regular doctors because they were foreign born and hard to understand, so they called the students. ‘The nurses called me ‘Curly,’” because of my dark curly hair'.

 

After completing his internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, he worked for a doctor in Wilmington, Ill., for a year. While there, he was called to a home delivery for a poor family who lived nearby. “My wife gave me a piece of string to tie the cord,” he recalls. “The home was bad and we put a sheet under the mother. The baby was all right, but when I asked for a bottle to feed the baby, they had to put a nipple on a Coke bottle. As I was leaving, the husband followed me to the door and asked, ‘How much

do I owe you?’ I told him $35 and he said, ‘that’s reasonable.’ I told them I’d be back the next morning to check on the mother and baby. When I returned, they were all gone.”

 

Dr. John O’Dwyer opened an office on July 1, 1955, at 109 E. Wilson St., Batavia, and practiced in town until 1998. He had not intended to come to the Fox

Valley. He had thought of practicing in the Rockford area and while driving west on Route 38, he saw a sign for Community Hospital in Geneva. He stopped to talk to the administrators and decided the Fox Valley might be a good place for his first independent office. He shared the space with Dr. Sullivan, a dentist. After Dr. Sullivan moved his office to South Elgin, the medical practice had the whole first floor. “I started with zero patients,” the doctor says. “Dr. (Arthur) Morley was across the street and was nice to me. He had hepatitis for a while and sent his patients to me. Some stayed with me. Dr. O’Dwyer’s patient load grew, he doesn’t know how many patients he had at any one time but knows it’s in the hundreds. There were no office appointments. Patients came in and waited their turn.

 

At that time, doctors had long hours: “I saw patients from 1 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays,” he recalls. “On Saturday, it was 1 to 5 p.m. “I took Wednesdays off, but used the time to visit patients in nursing homes and those who were home-bound.” Most mornings, he was at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and then Community Hospital, checking on patients and/or doing surgeries. In the early years, the patients were either in wards or two-bed rooms. When television became available, patients paid to have it in their rooms. Dr. O’Dwyer remembers many patients’ angry arguments about which programs they wanted to watch.

 

After being on East Wilson Street for about 20 years, Dr. O’Dwyer moved his office to the Batavia Professional Building at 34 N. Water Street. His office nurse was Pat Prokop who was known to be both out-spoken and very kind. The other person in the office was Dorothy Hillburg who took care of the paper work. Over the years, he delivered hundreds of babies. Some years, he delivered more babies at Community Hospital than the obstetricians on staff. In the 1960s, Medicare brought big changes to medical practices. “A lot of older patients couldn’t afford a doctor,” he explains. “They either didn’t come in and were really ill when they finally saw a doctor or they couldn’t afford to pay and never saw a doctor. With Medicare, I was paid for every older patient. ”

 

In addition to his patient load, he was the team doctor for the Batavia High School Bulldogs and Marmion Cadets football teams for several years. He remembers one instance when a Batavia player received a concussion in a game. After a short time, the young man felt better and said, “I’ll ask coach and if he says it’s OK, I’m going back into the game.” But Dr. O’Dwyer overruled the player and he stayed out of the game. Batavia’s police and fire departments remember that Dr. O’Dwyer was always available, day or night, if an emergency had occurred. dyer 1983.jpgDaughter Rosalie Bryne, a nurse who lives in Tennessee, was listening to the interview and said, “You were never home.” He grinned and admitted it was true. After he retired in 1998, he was a volunteer at a clinic in Aurora that served low-income and indigent people.

 

Besides his private practice, Dr. O’Dwyer also was a physician for 27 years on the staff of the Illinois State Training School for Girls on Route 25, in Geneva. “The girls were young,” he remembers. “People thought they carried all kinds of diseases. They did not! They got good medical care. There were all kinds of rumors about abortions and craniotomies performed at the Girls School. None of these were true.”

 

At first, pregnant girls were driven to Chicago and delivered their babies at the University of Illinois Hospital. Dr. O’Dwyer and a woman from the Girls School, drove the girls into the city, via Roosevelt Road (Route 38).

 

A few months ago, the Geneva History Center had a program on the Girls School. One of the women who accompanied him and the girls, came and talked. They remembered one girl in labor who was screamingas they drove to Chicago. “There was no air conditioningin the car,” Dr. O’Dwyer remembers. “The windows were open for air. The girl was screaming and screaming as we drove down the highway and people were looking at us. The car did have a State of Illinois insignia on the door. After delivering their babies, the girls stayed overnight at the hospital and returned to Geneva. Their babies became wards of the state. Few were adopted, the doctor says; more were placed with the girls’ families. Later, deliveries were done at Community Hospital in Geneva. Babies that died were placed in tiny handmade boxes made by the maintenance staff and were buried in a small cemetery on site. Though the Girls School was closed and the buildings razed, the site became a subdivision but the cemetery remains.

 

Not too long ago, a woman approached Dr.O’Dwyer and asked “Do you know what day this is?” Though he knew the calendar date, he didn’t know it had any special significance. “It’s my birthday,” she replied with a smile. “Thirty-eight years ago, you delivered me and my dad paid you with half a steer.” He smiles at the memory and daughter Rosalie recalls that he often came home with meat or produce in lieu of dollars.

 

His wife Georgene, says when they drove around Batavia, Dr. O’Dwyer pointed out houses where he made house calls. Sometimes, he couldn’t remember the names of occupants, but always remembered the ailments or situations that required his attention.

 

An old Victorian quote stated: “A life has closed of rare strength and beauty of character, known and fully appreciated perhaps by comparatively few, but by them, loved deeply and for always.”

 

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International Windmillers’ Trade Fair

Returns to Batavia

By Francine McGuire-Popeck

 

 

It’s been 16 years since the International Windmillers’ Trade Fair was held in Batavia in 1996. The Trade Fair is returning to Batavia this summer. This is the 24th year that windmillers and windmill enthusiasts from throughout the U.S. and Canada will converge at a host city to celebrate the love of windmills. In addition to our Canadian neighbors, this year we will be visited by The Walter family of Australia. Helen Walter is an editor of the Windmill Journal of Australia and New Zealand and will make a presentation about the windmill scene in those two countries at the Trade Fair’s June 15th banquet at the Lincoln Inn.

 

She will be joined on her trip by her two sons. The City of Batavia, the Batavia Historical Society, the Batavia Park District, and Batavia School District 101, have contributed to the Trade Fair as have local businesses. The dates for the 2012 International Windmillers’ Trade Fair are June 14th through 16th, 2012. Activities will be held at the newly expanded and remodeled Batavia High School, located at 1201 W. Main Street in Batavia. Events for the Trade Fair are highlighted below. There are two ways you can participate in the activities: 

 

1) Windmiller’s Registration provides the opportunity 111.jpg

to participate in all daily events, private

and public tours and meals. The registration fee isf

$50.00 and includes all 3 days;

 

2) A Daily Pass, provides the opportunity to participate

in the daily events and public tours available

on a given day. The suggested Daily Pass donation,

is $5 per family. (This donation will benefit

Batavia’s Windmill Maintenance Fund.)

 

 

For Trade Fair information, call 630-454-2222 or go to the website: www.windmillerstradefair.com. The Trade Fair committee hopes you will join us, along with other windmill enthusiasts from across the country and the world, for this fun and educational event. If you would like to sponsor all or part of an event or volunteer for an event please call 630-454-2222 or email Bob and Francine Popeck at winmill2@comcast.net.

 

 

Daily Events for the

2012 International Windmillers’ Trade Fair

 

Highlighted below are the events that will be available at the 24th Annual International Windmillers’ Trade Fair, to be held at the Batavia High School and grounds from Thursday, June 14th through Saturday, June 16th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Daily Events for the Public and Registrants

($5/family/day suggested donation for the public)

 

 

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Thursday, June 14th (Flag Day)

Highlight Event: Presentation to honor Batavian,

B.J. Cigrand, Founder of Flag Day.

 

Daily Activities:

View Windmillers’ outside displays of erected windmills and windmill parts for display, trade or sale.View inside vendor tables for information and items for display or sale, including antique windmill collectibles, trade cards, photos, and literature.Buy a souvenir windmill

T-shirt, hat, windmill kit, including Batavia’s newest windmill, “The Pearl”, windmill jewelry and other one-of-a-kind items.View a king size quilt, utilizing windmill photographs transferred to fabric.Buy tickets for raffle items, including a windmill kit of Batavia’s newest windmill, “The Pearl”, a one-of-a-kind quilt of Batavia windmills and much more.See gallery of Batavia’s 3rd graders windmill art.  

 

Daily Events for the 2012 International

Windmillers’ Trade Fair Thursday, June 14th (Flag Day)

 

Self-guided tour of Batavia’s windmills (Obtain Windmill City booklet at the Batavia Public Library).

Evening: Attend free Park District River Rhapsody concert at the Peg Bond Center,

with music sponsored by the Batavia Historical Society.

 

Friday, June 15th

 

Highlight Event: View the working display of antique Illinois Farm Machinery manufactured by the windmill companies.

(see how gas engines were used to help shell and grind corn.) Historical Society Depot Museum will be open

from Noon until 4:00 PM Continuation of Daily Activities (See June 14th schedule).

 

Saturday, June 16th “Tour Batavia” Day

 

Highlight Event: Tour repurposed Windmill Factories, Water Street’s windmill-themed mural, the Batavia’s Historic

Depot Museum and the Riverwalk windmills. View the working display of antique Illinois Farm Machinery, manufactured

by the same companies that produced windmills. Continuation of Daily Activities (See June 14th Schedule).

Awarding of prizes for 3rd graders’ windmill art.

 

Historical Society Depot Museum will be open from Noon until 4:00 PM 1 - 4 P.M.: Public tours of the newly, restored Fabyan Dutch Windmill, at Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva. 3 - 5 P.M. Auction of unsold windmill “rusty old iron” parts.

 

Events for Registrants Only

(Included with $50.00 registration fee):

 

Thursday, June 14th

Register and “pin” your home location on Trade Fair map. Business Meeting and show overview. Tour of Batavia’s FlagSource/J.C. Schultz Corporation on Raddant Road, one of only four companies, in the United States, that produces flags. Ice Cream Social at the River Rhapsody Concert.

 

Friday, June 15th

Registration and “pin” your home location on Trade Fair map Windmill Trivia Contest conducted by Dr. T. Lindsay Baker, renowned professor, publisher of The Windmillers’ Gazette, and author of windmill and other books. Private tours of the restored, Fabyan Dutch Windmill. Banquet at the Lincoln Inn, with music by the Batavia High School String Quartet Presentation by Ms. Helen Waters, editor of the Windmill Journal of Australia and New Zealand.

 

Saturday, June 16th

Tours of historic, windmill-related, Batavia homes. Italian buffet at Batavia High School, with live entertainment by B-Town Brass, a BHS alumni jazz group.

 

Note: The Trade Fair is asking for a suggested donation of $5 per family for each daily attendance at the Trade Fair. This donation will be used for repair and upkeep of windmills on City property. The Windmill Maintenance Fund was established at the bequest of Arlene Nick, who had been the owner of the Batavia Windmill Herald Newspaper. Arlene recognized that the windmills would be in need of periodic maintenance and had the foresight to start a fund for this purpose. Arlene and her family donated two windmills on Batavia’s Riverwalk, the Challenge 27 and the Challenge Dandy.

 

 

Overview of The Batavia Windmill Companies

 

Batavia, once known as the “Windmill Capital of The 4.jpgWorld”, had 6 windmill manufacturing companies, more than any other city. Many of you may have worked or knew

someone who worked in these factories. Batavia continues to preserve its rich windmill history

through displays of windmills throughout town, collections at the Depot Museum, and education of school children. We are also preserving this windmill history through repurposing of three windmill factory buildings, into other uses, such as, office, administration and police functions.

 

These manufacturing companies were:

 

• The U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Company,

• The Challenge Company,

• The Appleton Manufacturing Company;

• The Batavia Wind Mill Company;

• The Snow Manufacturing Company;

• The Danforth Company.

 

The first three companies were considered major companies and the last three are considered minor companies based on production and length of time in operation. A brief overview of each of the six Batavia windmill manufacturing companies is provided below.

 

While the major companies produced multiple models over the course of decades, the minor companies were inexistence for a much shorter period of time and produced a very limited number of models. All of these windmill companies competed against each other as well as hundreds of other windmill companies across the U.S. to bring water to the surface and quench the thirst of a rapidly growing American West and the world. The U.S. Wind Engine and Pump Co., currently known as the Batavia Enterprises complex, propelled the farm-style windmill industry through Daniel Halladay’s 1854 invention of the self-regulating windmill which allowed the windmill to take itself in and out of “sail”/operation depending on wind strength.

 

5.jpgIf the wind was too strong, the windmill blades would fold, taking itself out of sail, allowing the wind to flow through the mill, thus protecting it from breaking up in heavy winds. This revolutionized the windmill industry. In 1857, with an eye to the business opportunities due to western expansion, the original company, called the Halladay Windmill Company, which was formed by Halladay and his partners and located in South Coventry, Connecticut, organized the U.S. Wind Engine and Pump Co. to sell their products in the Chicago area. Then in 1863, the U.S. Wind Engine and Pump Co. purchased the Halladay Wind Mill Company and relocated to Batavia. With new business partners and a new market, the U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co. became the nation’s first mass production windmill factory. Despite stiff competition, the company remained in the windmill business for another 70 years but did not quickly or effectively adopt metal mill technology even despite other companies taking away its business.

 

The company that eventually ended up being called the Challenge Company, located east of the Fox River on River Street, was derived from the 1867 partnership of Nelson Burr and Hugh Armstrong, selling feed mills and the Nichols’ windmill. In 1872, the business experienced two tragedies: a fire destroyed the factory and the company president stole all of its money. After reorganization, the company became known as the Challenge Mill Company, then in 1882 reorganized again as the Challenge Wind Mill and Feed Mill Company. The company’s trade literature boasted that it manufactured 105 different styles and sizes of windmills. By 1905, the company decided to streamline its name to the Challenge Company, to better market its broad range of products.

 

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When America entered WWII, the Challenge Co. diverted most of its production to

war material. During the war, Batavia Metal Products, Inc. purchased both the Challenge factory and the U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co., to complete contracts for the War Department. The Batavia Metal Products new owners were accused of wartime corruption. After the war, resources of the Challenge Co. and U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co. were sold and combined, creating the short-lived U.S.-Challenge Company, which continued to produce items that had been formerly made by The name of the third Batavia windmill company was no coincidence.

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The Appleton Manufacturing Company first started in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1872 and manufactured farm machinery there for two decades. By 1890 Batavia’s own William VanNortwick purchased a lot of the company stock and convince d the board of directors to move the factory to a town between Geneva and Batavia. The company moved into the new factory building in 1894, which now houses the City of Batavia Government Center. In 1895 the company purchased the Goodhue Wind Engine Company of St. Charles, Illinois and continued to produce the Goodhue line of windmills and soon added new models to the line. A major fire destroyed the plant in 1900 and a new plant was built in Batavia in 1901. While the production of windmills was discontinued by the 1920’s, the company continued to manufacture farm equipment until the late 1940’s.

 

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Batavia Windmill Company was incorporated in 1890. F. C. Snow is listed as President and Treasurer of the Company. Early advertising from the Company tells us they made four different Windmills: The “Snow”, “Revolution”, and “Success” models were wooden windmills, while the “PEARL” was a steel windmill. The Batavia Windmill Company ceased operations in 1904. In 2010, Batavia the both firms. The name of the third Batavia windmill company was no coincidence. The Appleton Manufacturing Company first started in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1872 and manufactured farm machinery there for two decades. By 1890 Batavia’s own William VanNortwick purchased a lot of the company stock and convinced the board of directors to move the factory to a town between Geneva and Batavia.

 

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The company moved into the new factory building in 1894, which now houses the City of Batavia Government Center. In 1895 the company purchased the Goodhue Wind Engine Company of St. Charles, Illinois and continued to produce the Goodhue line of windmills and soon added new models to the line. A major fire destroyed the plant in 1900 and a new plant was built in Batavia in 1901. While the production of windmills was discontinued by the 1920’s, the company continued to manufacture farm equipment until the late 1940’s. The Batavia Windmill Company was incorporated in 1890. F. C. Snow is listed as President and Treasurer of the Company. Early advertising from the Company tells us they made four different Windmills: The “Snow”, “Revolution”, and “Success” models were wooden windmills, while the “PEARL” was a steel windmill. 1.jpg

 

Not much is known about the Danforth Company. No one has ever seen or located this windmill, which is depicted in an advertising ad in this article. The mill is seen with an unusual counterweight, which would have kept the windmill head in balance. The shape of the weight is of a primitive running horse. These weights are valued by both windmill and folk art collectors.

 

 

The Batavia Windmill Company ceased operations in 1904. In 2010, Batavia windmillers and City employees erected a restored “PEARL” windmill adjacent to the Windmill Court that has representation of the three major windmill manufacturing companies. It was found and restored by a windmiller in Minneapolis, MN. The Batavia Historical Society purchased this rare mill. The City of Batavia agreed to maintain the mill. The Historical Society dedicated the “Pearl” at their winter 2010 annual meeting to Marilyn Robinson who served on the Board of Directors for the Historical Society, as the City of Batavia Historian, and served our community as an educator in the Batavia Public School system. 1.jpg

 

The Snow Wind Mill Company of Geneva, Illinois was created in 1898 after the purchase of the Decorah Wind Mill Company of Decorah, Iowa, which had made the first solid wheel wooden windmills and innovative steel windmills. In 1899 this new company reorganized again to become the Snow Manufacturing Company. The company’s principal stockholder was Thomas Snow, who was also president of the Challenge Wind Mill and Feed Mill Company of Batavia. He influenced the company to move from Geneva to Batavia in 1902. While it continued to make Decorah and the original windmills made in Geneva, the company did not last for much longer. A windmiller from South Dakota is restoring a Decorah windmill and plans to display it in Batavia during the 24th Annual International Windmillers’ Trade Fair.

 


How Did Batavia Become a Windmill Hub?

 

 

Let’s explore why so many windmill companies set up shop in Batavia. The windmill companies were drawn to Batavia for a number of reasons. One of these was the proximity to the market that needed windmills. The Midwest farmland western part of the country was expanding due to homesteading and the construction of the railroads which used steam for power. You need water to create steam but how do you get water in the middle of a large undeveloped expanse of arid land? You dig a deep well, erect a reliable windmill and a water tank to hold the pumped water and now you’re able to keep a steam railroad running every 100 miles between fill ups. Compared to our gasoline prices of today, water was a much cheaper “fuel”.

 

Railroad lines were well-established from Batavia east to Chicago. This enabled shipping of windmills throughout the Midwest and points beyond as the railroad expanded.

 

The Fox River was another reason the windmill factories were drawn to Batavia. The power of the rushing river was used to turn the engines that ran the machinery used in the windmill manufacturing process. It’s ironic that the windmill manufacturing process used the same resource, water, that the windmills themselves were manufactured to generate.

 

Another important resource was the available labor workforce. Established in 1833, Batavia was the oldest city in the Fox Valley and had an established citizenry of Swedish, German, Irish, and other European descents. It also was centrally located in the Fox Valley and could draw additional employees as needed from the adjacent towns of Geneva and Aurora. The windmill manufacturers at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century were some of the largest employers in Batavia and the Fox Valley area.

 

The abundance of limestone quarried here was another strong selling point for locating the windmill factories in Batavia. Fires were all too common in factories in those days and fire damage could be minimized and more easily controlled in a building made of limestone versus wood.

 

There are undoubtedly many reasons why the windmill companies chose Batavia as their operational headquarters but one of the important factors was that there were town leaders with money to invest. Some who held the wealth had invested in these fledgling windmill companies, while investing in competing companies at the same time. The investments of these men and other entrepreneurs helped to make our town a success in the windmill

industry.

 

The windmills produced here were shipped across the United States and around the world for the main purpose of pumping water out of wells to satisfy the thirsty needs of towns for drinking water, domestic and ornamental uses, fire protection, farming and ranching, and filling railroad steam engines.

 

 

 

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MEMBERSHIP MATTERS April 2012

 

The Batavia Historical Society welcomes new members since last newsletter.

Greg Hall Family, Batavia, Il

Jody Haltenhof, Batavia, Il

Tom Wicklund, Medford OR, gift from Larry Wicklund

Phyliss Holstead, Batavia, IL

 

New Life Members:

Glenn & DeAnna Miner, Batavia, IL

 

MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS

 

With life’s many distractions, sometimes membershiprenewals are forgotten or misplaced. It is our renewal time again and if you want to keep receiving this newsletter, please fill-out the renewal form on the back page and send it and your payment, to the address indicated. If your mailing label reads “Membership Expires 2011” you will need to renew your membership. Membership not renew by July 1, 2012 will be dropped from our mailing list. Thank you.

 

 


 

HISTORY ON THE WEB

 

You can now access past issues of the Batavia Historian Newsletter from the comfort of your home or office. In collaboration with the Batavia Public Library, the Historical Society now has 50 years of newsletters, dated 1960-2010 available to researchers through the Library’s new website, www.bataviahistory. org.

 

Batavia Historical Society

 

General Meeting

 

When: Sunday, April 22, 2012

Time: 2:00 p.m.

Where: Batavia City Council Chambers

Program: Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason Batavia author, Dan Van Haften, will discuss the book he co-authored. He will show that it was Lincoln’s in-depth study of geometry that gave our sixteenth president his verbal structure as demonstrated in the Gettysburg Address, the Cooper Union speech, the First and Second Inaugurals, his legal practice, and much of his substantive post-1853 communication. Virtually any literate person can become an Abraham Lincoln by structuring speech with iron logic, as aptly demonstrated by this remarkable new study.

 

 


 

SPECIAL NOTICE

 

Batavia High School Fine Arts Roundtable

Sunday, May 6, 2:00 PM

 

Help celebrate over 100 years of arts at Batavia Public Schools. Come reminisce over the transition from each performance or gallery space to the eventual completion of the Batavia Fine Arts Centre. A team of current and past Batavia School District artists and students will review the 100 year history of the arts at Batavia Public Schools. Share your stories and hear about the rich history of Batavia Public Schools arts. No registration necessary. This event will be held in the Batavia Fine Arts Centre Black Box. Entrance to the space is on Wilson St. Enter through the door marked N7.

 

 


 

 

“Winters aren’t what they used to be”

The following article was written

by Marilyn Robinson in 1994.

 

“Our grandparents told us “Winters aren’t what they used to be” and they may have been right. In 1893, the first snow fell on November 21, and two days later, the Fox River was frozen enough for skating.

 

Thanksgiving 1893, was a stormy, disagreeable day with a heavy snow continuing all afternoon into the evening. The next morning it was 15 degrees below zero. On Saturday, December 2, the second snow storm of the year, left 8 inches on the ground. Fortunately there was little wind, but the trains were delayed and businesses were late in opening. On Monday December 4, it was 18 below zero again. But on Tuesday morning, it was 20 degrees above zero.

 

In Nathan Young’s diary, he quoted Elijah Town “Snow fell on November 9, 1842, of a sufficient depth for sleighing and it snowed off and on so much, that the January thaw could not melt it all. The ice on the Fox river remained until the middle of April 1843.”

 

Young also quoted his brother Peleg, “On April 9 and 10, 1843, I drove a team and sled on the Fox River ice from Aurora to Geneva.”

 

For the next forty years, the longest periods of sleighing were eighty days in 1848-1849 and eighty two days

in 1883-1884.

 

Cold weather set in on November 14, 1880 and ice formed on the mill dam. It remained cold, but there was no snow until January 13, 1881. But after then, there was sufficient

snow for sleighing until April 5, 1881.

 

In 1881, the ice remained on the river until April 18. When it broke up, it did little damage to Batavia, but 2 weeks later, the river was so high, it flooded the lower room of the Osgood and Shumway’s foundry and the lower rooms of the U.S. Windmill Engine & Pump Company. Snow drifts were seen that spring as late as May 7, in 1881.

 

 

 


 

 

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