The Batavia Historical
Society meets four times a year. The meetings provide
programs relating to local history. Other events are scheduled throughout
Batavia Historian is published four times a year
and distributed to society members. The newsletter contains articles
and photographs of Batavia history and news of the society.
Membership is open to anyone interested in Batavia history.
Use the membership form to join.
THE BATAVIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Although there was an attempt to start a historical society as
early as 1911, the society as it is today began on November 17,
1959, when twenty-two men and women met to discuss the preservation
of Batavia's history.
John Gustafson, a collector and chronicler of past events and people,
presided over the meeting. Raymond Patzer, Martha Wood, and Robert
Glidden were appointed to draw up a constitution, nominate officers,
prepare a listing of charter members, and consider the possibility
of establishing a museum.
An organizational meeting was held January 17, 1960, in the Congregational
Church with 45 founding members present. The next month a meeting
was held at the First Baptist Church with 110 members present. By
the end of the year, the society had 240 charter members. Today
there are over 550 members.
The mission of the society as determined in 1960 still holds true
- The discovery, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge
about the history of Batavia Township, Kane County, Illinois.
- To collect and preserve books, pamphlets, papers, photographs,
relics, and other historical objects.
- To receive by gift, grant, bequest, devise or purchase books,
museums, moneys, real estate, and other property.
- To encourage the preservation of historical monuments and buildings
and to suitably mark them.
- To publish historical material in newspapers, pamphlets, and
- To hold meetings with addresses, lectures, papers, and general
Through the cooperation of the
Park District and the society, the Depot Museum is maintained
where artifacts collected since 1960 are preserved, stored, and
displayed. In keeping with its mission, one of the on-going projects
of the society is the plaquing of buildings, dating back 100 years
or more. The first plaque was awarded in 1961 at 229 East Wilson
The society has collected many paper archives, books, and photographs
that record the history of the city and its families. A major acquisition
is a collection of 160 boxes of old court records from Kane County.
Especially helpful to those doing family research, they have supplied
answers to many elusive historical questions.
All of these documents and photographs are available for public
study in the Gustafson Research Center that opened in October 2000.
A recent project sponsored by the society is the placement of eighteen
historic plaques along the Riverwalk. These contain pictures showing
what the viewer would have seen from that spot many years ago. Others
explain the restored windmills along the walk.
See also Windmills Along the Riverwalk.
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