The first school in Big Woods
was a one-room log cabin built in 1835 near the Payne
As the town grew, two districts evolved - #6, the east side and
#5, the west side. Grades 1-8 began early, but high schools came
In 1879, the East Side High School graduated its first class.
Their school house on Washington Avenue had three stories with two
rooms on each floor. The high school occupied the third floor.
In 1894, fire destroyed the building. Classes moved to the three-story
Thomle building on Wilson Street while a new schoolhouse was built
on the same spot.
A high school was constructed on the west side in 1885. Students
attended classes at Central School on First Street. There were two
rooms on each of two floors and a hall with a stage on the third
floor. The high school occupied the south room on the second floor.
As enrollment increased in the elementary grades, the district
purchased the old Methodist Church next door. The high school occupied
the second floor.
T. C. Frye was hired
as superintendent of the west side schools. It was he who first
suggested consolidation of the two districts. But it was not until
1909 that the first definite step toward consolidation took place
when Horace A. Bone was
chosen as superintendent for both sides of the river.
Although at first, the classes met separately, they united in athletics
and considered themselves one high school. Teacher meetings were
combined, and the work was made to correspond in the two schools.
Students attended the west side for certain classes and the east
side for other classes. The course of study widened, and much more
effective work was achieved. Athletic participation grew. All this
led to the final union of the district in the spring of 1911.
By the fall of 1912, the high school enrollment had increased
to 180 with a prospect for continued growth. A referendum was passed
for a new high school on Wilson Street at Batavia Avenue. There
were thirty graduates in the class of 1912.
The schools of Batavia today include J.
B. Nelson School, opened in 1955; Alice
Gustafson School, in 1957; Batavia
Senior High, in 1966; H.
C. Storm and Louise White
Schools, in 1978; and the Batavia
Rotolo Middle School
in 1992, Grace
and Hoover Wood
schools in 2001.
Top of Page