Batavia Depot Museum

Batavia Depot Museum Bridging History and Heart
open M, W, F 2-4 & Sa, Su 10-5
local history, human stories
(18)

Permanent exhibits include railroad history, windmill industry, early settlers, Mary Todd Lincoln at Bellevue Place, and interactive exhibits in a 1907 CB&Q caboose. We are located next to the Fox River Bike Trail and the Batavia Riverwalk - plan to spend the day!

  How did you get your food? Come share your stories of going grocery shopping and hear from others experiences at the B...
12/02/2023

How did you get your food? Come share your stories of going grocery shopping and hear from others experiences at the Batavia Depot Museum on Wednesday, December 6th, 10:30 am. See you there!

Before the month is out, the Batavia Depot Museum would like to honor and recognize the Indigenous People who have calle...
11/30/2023

Before the month is out, the Batavia Depot Museum would like to honor and recognize the Indigenous People who have called Batavia their home. Long before Christopher Payne arrived in 1833, the Bodewadmi (Potawatomi) were here. They lived in large farming villages in the summer months, including a village near the mouth of Mill Creek. During the winter, the large band would break into smaller family groups and move to winter hunting grounds.

Samuel McCarty, who arrived in Aurora in 1834, wrote, "It was not a wild, desolate, unpopulated region, for we had plenty of neighbors in the [Native Americans] who had occupied and enjoyed these beautiful prairies and rivers for many and many a year before this and the village of the head [man] of the Potawatomi nation was but a little a mile north.

"...The village and vicinity contained from 300 to 500 [people], and we had many visits from them. Quite a commercial trade sprang up between us, especially swapping bread and to***co for fish, of which we soon found that they had much the largest supply, although we would give but one slice of bread for a fish weighing from three to five pounds, and then at times they would have several in their canoe to take back. The treaty with our government for the purchase of their reservation had been ratified, I think, about a year previously and consequently they were peaceful and friendly."

Despite this friendly relationship relationship and the Potawatomi's understanding of their treaty with the U. S. government, in 1835 all the Potawatomi living in the Batavia area were forcibly removed from their homes and driven to Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Potawatomi survived this removal and are still a thriving community today, with approximately 26,000 people of Potawatomi heritage living in the US, especially in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Although the Potawatomi were the group most directly impacted by European colonization of the Fox Valley, but they were far from the only Native Americans to live here. For an idea of how territories shifted and cultures overlapped, we recommend visiting this interactive map: https://native-land.ca/.

Native Land is a resource to learn more about Indigenous territories, languages, lands, and ways of life. We welcome you to our site.

Wayback Wednesday. The A & P Supermarket formerly located at 134 S. Batavia Ave. Do you remember shopping here? We would...
11/29/2023

Wayback Wednesday. The A & P Supermarket formerly located at 134 S. Batavia Ave. Do you remember shopping here? We would love to hear about it! Join us next Wednesday at the Museum at 10:30 am for an informal chat about the Batavia you remember. We'll bring the coffee, you bring the stories!

Batavia officially kicks off the winter holidays tonight at Celebration of Lights. We can't wait for carols, cocoa, rein...
11/26/2023

Batavia officially kicks off the winter holidays tonight at Celebration of Lights. We can't wait for carols, cocoa, reindeer, and a grand display of festive lights from the Batavia Depot Museum all the way to the Peace Bridge. Be sure to stop in the museum for Holiday Storytime with the Batavia Public Library and the new exhibit, Hometown Holidays. Sunday, November 26th, 5-7P.

We are celebrating  ! While shopping downtown and supporting local, make sure to stop in to see the Hometown Holidays ex...
11/25/2023

We are celebrating ! While shopping downtown and supporting local, make sure to stop in to see the Hometown Holidays exhibit and maybe do some gift shopping in our gift shop. We're open 10-5 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Generations of Batavian have depended on locally-owned shops like the Zollers' Store for daily needs. Enjoy a look into 1941 and the interior of the Zollers' Store at the SW corner of Wilson & Van Buren with the Zollers family.

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving from the Batavia Depot Museum. This week's   is a Thanksgiving Menu from holiday dinner for...
11/24/2023

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving from the Batavia Depot Museum. This week's is a Thanksgiving Menu from holiday dinner for the 27th Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds" in 1952. While serving overseas during the Korean War, this familiar menu must've brought some holiday cheer to the troops. Were any of the menu items on your plate this Thanksgiving?

Whether you're enjoying long-standing traditions or trying something new this year, we at the Batavia Depot Museum wish ...
11/23/2023

Whether you're enjoying long-standing traditions or trying something new this year, we at the Batavia Depot Museum wish you and yours a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Wayback Wednesday. Jan and Marlan Tevis carve turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner at Calvary Episcopal church. 1995.
11/22/2023

Wayback Wednesday. Jan and Marlan Tevis carve turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner at Calvary Episcopal church. 1995.

The Batavia Depot Museum will be closed from November 20th to November 24th to install our winter exhibit: "Hometown Hol...
11/18/2023

The Batavia Depot Museum will be closed from November 20th to November 24th to install our winter exhibit: "Hometown Holidays," and spend time with our families. We'll be back to regular hours on November 25th and hope to see you all on the 26th for Celebration of Lights!

As the high school football season draws to a close, this   we are featuring a football play diagram from around 1950 fr...
11/17/2023

As the high school football season draws to a close, this we are featuring a football play diagram from around 1950 from the archive. This page was in a packet (possibly given to BHS student athletes) with other plays and instructions on how to care for their equipment. Congrats Batavia Bulldogs on going to IHSA Playoffs this year! Batavia Bulldogs Football

We're wrapping up! Don't miss your last chance to see "What's in a Name Batavia Schools" and "Batavia Hair: Picture Day"...
11/12/2023

We're wrapping up! Don't miss your last chance to see "What's in a Name Batavia Schools" and "Batavia Hair: Picture Day" at the Batavia Depot Museum. The museum will be closed the week of November 20th as we put away this exhibit and install our next one.

This Veterans Day we honor and thank the people of Batavia who have served in the armed forces. Here at the museum we ar...
11/11/2023

This Veterans Day we honor and thank the people of Batavia who have served in the armed forces. Here at the museum we are proud to collect, preserve, and share the stories of our military veterans so that future generations can learn from their service.

It's  ! We came across this fun postcard for the bowling alleys of the Batavia Recreation Center. The Batavia Recreation...
11/10/2023

It's ! We came across this fun postcard for the bowling alleys of the Batavia Recreation Center. The Batavia Recreation Center (120 First Street) opened in 1934 and eventually became the Batavia Bowl. The old limestone building that was home to the Batavia Recreation Center is long gone. Do you have memories of bowling on these lanes? Share them in the comments so we can add to the story of this postcard. See you soon at the Batavia Depot Museum Mon, Wed, Fri 2-4pm and weekends 10am-5pm. &Recreation

Happy election day from the Batavia Depot Museum. This week, we dove into the archives and found this Tally List from a ...
11/07/2023

Happy election day from the Batavia Depot Museum. This week, we dove into the archives and found this Tally List from a local vote from November 7, 1871. How cool to see how votes were counted on this day over 150 years ago.
It reads: Tally List. Of an election held at the office of E. S. Town in the Town of Batavia in the County of Kane & State of Illinois on the Seventh Day of November 1871
This tally sheet records Batavia's votes for Coroner (L. A. Winslow, a doctor from Aurora), County Surveyor (L. D. Kendall, a civil engineer from Dundee), County Treasurer (Henry C. Paddock, a bank clerk from Batavia), and for Representative in Congress for the State at Large to fill a vacancy (John L. B*, help, we can't read this name!).
Don't forget to get out to the polls and make history today!

This week's   was discovered while putting away objects from our spring Never Done exhibit on Batavia women. Tucked insi...
11/03/2023

This week's was discovered while putting away objects from our spring Never Done exhibit on Batavia women. Tucked inside one of the books was this Oatmeal Cookies Recipe. We transcribed it below, so if you are in the baking mood, feel free to give it a try. If you do, let us know how it turns out. ;) Stay tuned for our find next week and in the meantime, visit us down at the Depot Museum Mon, Wed, Fri 2-4 pm and weekends 10am-5pm.

Wayback Wednesday. The interior of the Geiss Cigar Store. Eddie Stevens clerks behind the counter.
11/01/2023

Wayback Wednesday. The interior of the Geiss Cigar Store. Eddie Stevens clerks behind the counter.

In honor of Halloween next week, this   the Batavia Depot Museum wishes everyone a Merry Halloween! This postcard was gi...
10/27/2023

In honor of Halloween next week, this the Batavia Depot Museum wishes everyone a Merry Halloween! This postcard was given with the message "The goblins will get youuuuuuuu - if you don't watch out." Be safe this Halloween while celebrating and trick-or-treating. We hope to see you soon at the Depot Museum!

Wayback Wednesday. On October 25th, 1960, Batavia received a visit from John F. Kennedy, candidate for President. Just t...
10/25/2023

Wayback Wednesday. On October 25th, 1960, Batavia received a visit from John F. Kennedy, candidate for President. Just two weeks before Election Day, John F. Kennedy's campaign made an unscheduled and unplanned stop to deliver a speech at the corner of Batavia Avenue and Wilson Street.

He had started the day with a morning appearance in Libertyville, IL then headed south in his motorcade to address crowds in Carpentersville, Elgin, St. Charles, and Geneva. He planned to continue to Aurora and finally Joliet before returning to Chicago, but was halted by a crowd at the intersection of Batavia Ave and Wilson Street.

Seeing the size of the crowd in what was a historically Republican leaning area, Kennedy climbed on top of the trunk of his convertible and used a portable microphone and speaker to address the crowd for a couple of minutes.

The eager audience rushed his car after his speech to shake Kennedy's hand and ask for autographs before he continued on to Aurora.

This week's   is a ticket to the Batavia Halloween Costume Ball in 1950. This event was hosted by  Post 504 at Legion Ha...
10/20/2023

This week's is a ticket to the Batavia Halloween Costume Ball in 1950. This event was hosted by Post 504 at Legion Hall. We wish we had photos to see the awesome Halloween costumes from the 1950s. What would you wear if there was a Halloween Costume Ball today? Check in for next week to see what other spooky-season we have in the collection.

Wayback Wednesday. Halloween Parade marchers head down Wilson Street in 1995. Do you recognize any of these little march...
10/18/2023

Wayback Wednesday. Halloween Parade marchers head down Wilson Street in 1995. Do you recognize any of these little marchers under their excellent costumes?

It's spooky  ! This week we are looking at an vintage Halloween postcard. We don't know what year this was created but i...
10/13/2023

It's spooky ! This week we are looking at an vintage Halloween postcard. We don't know what year this was created but it sure is fun and spooky. Speaking of fun and spooky, who is going to Nightmare at West Main next week?! If you don't have your ticket yet, check out bataviaparks.org. See you at the museum soon!

EDITED. Due to the weather, tonight's Mysterious Batavia tour has been postponed! Join us Friday, October 27th instead f...
10/12/2023

EDITED. Due to the weather, tonight's Mysterious Batavia tour has been postponed! Join us Friday, October 27th instead for a (hopefully) less wet event.

For more information or to reserve your ticket, visit https://bit.ly/46LGahB.

Wayback Wednesday. Street view of the intersection of First and Water, looking east. This small photograph (2.5 x 4) on ...
10/11/2023

Wayback Wednesday. Street view of the intersection of First and Water, looking east. This small photograph (2.5 x 4) on card was produced by photographers Whitney and Kendig, around 1870. The stone bridge in the upper left of the image is approximately where the Donovan bridge stands today. The three story building in the background of the image is the East School that stood from 1860 to 1893 when it was destroyed by fire. The dirt street running away from the viewer is the embankment that contained the mill pond to its north. The mill pond provided power to the paper factory visible in the foreground of the image. Very few of the buildings from this time period still exist as they would have appeared in this photograph.

Happy 50 years! On October 10th, 1973 the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad Depot was relocated from its first home...
10/10/2023

Happy 50 years! On October 10th, 1973 the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad Depot was relocated from its first home at the corner of Van Buren and Webster to 155 Houston Street, where it has now stood for the last fifty years. Massive stabilization, restoration, exhibit development, and two years later the museum opened to the public. Thanks for joining us on this incredible effort to build a community museum, Batavia!

How did the river acquire its name? What happened to Mayor Snow? Who is responsible for the October riots of 1935? Explo...
10/08/2023

How did the river acquire its name? What happened to Mayor Snow? Who is responsible for the October riots of 1935? Explore startling history and eerie happenings on this one-mile, guided walking tour. Learn something new about your town!
Tickets are $10 and are available at bataviaparks.org/batavia-depot-museum.

Today's   comes from Phipps Department Store! This handy dandy pamphlet showed people how to tie knots and bowties. Phip...
10/06/2023

Today's comes from Phipps Department Store! This handy dandy pamphlet showed people how to tie knots and bowties. Phipps opened in the late 1940s as the go-to shop for Batavia's clothing needs. The building for the store still stands in the heart of downtown Batavia at 4 E Wilson St. Stay tuned for next week's . The museum is open Mon, Wed, Fri 2-4 pm and weekends 10am-5pm.

The Batavia Depot Museum is a cooperative project of the Batavia Park District and the Batavia Historical Society. If yo...
10/05/2023

The Batavia Depot Museum is a cooperative project of the Batavia Park District and the Batavia Historical Society. If you've ever been curious about the work of the Society, and would like to learn more and get involved, Sunday, October 8th is your opportunity!

The Society will meet at the Batavia Public Library at 2:00 pm. This meeting is free and open to the public. The program will feature a presentation by Marty Callahan.

Callahan is a member of the North American Vexillological Association, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Fireworks Committee, the Ole Awards Committee, the Batavia Flag committee, a Board Member of the Fox Valley Patriotic Organization, former Batavia 2nd Ward Alderman, and supporter of Batavia United Way.
Callahan is also an avid collector of American flags and historical artifacts. His interest in history was a driving factor for his involvement in supporting the creation of the recently dedicated Flag Day Monument.

Wayback Wednesday. East Batavia Cemetery, Lewis family plot, c. 1910, looking east.  East Batavia Cemetery is Batavia's ...
10/04/2023

Wayback Wednesday. East Batavia Cemetery, Lewis family plot, c. 1910, looking east. East Batavia Cemetery is Batavia's longest operating burial ground, dating back to its founding in 1845. The City of Batavia assumed ownership and operation of the cemetery in 1941. The view looks very different today, but the memorials have barely changed at all.
Discover the story of the East Batavia Cemetery on Saturday, October 14th during a respectful walk through the East Batavia Cemetery. For more information or to register for the program, visit https://bataviaparks.org/batavia-depot-museum?tab=87.

It's   ! Who likes pickles?! This note is to Batavia grocer Anna Kressen from 1906 explaining she was getting a refund f...
09/29/2023

It's ! Who likes pickles?! This note is to Batavia grocer Anna Kressen from 1906 explaining she was getting a refund from the supplier for bad pickles. Anna received a credit for $99.28, which is about $3,372.11 today! That's a whole lot of pickles. Tune in next week to see what flat files we uncover in the collection. Come check out other Batavia faves at the museum Mon, Wed, Fri 2-4pm and weekends 10am-5pm.

Is the Batavia Depot Museum on your weekend to-do list? Our Day of Play is this Saturday and a great chance to visit the...
09/28/2023

Is the Batavia Depot Museum on your weekend to-do list? Our Day of Play is this Saturday and a great chance to visit the museum. Pick up a FREE activity book and explore our family-friendly space.

We’re so excited for you to come and play with us! There are lots of ways you can play and learn about Batavia history (and some things you can even touch!) at the Batavia Depot Museum. Learn more about our Day of Play through the link in our bio.

Batavia Depot Museum’s Day of Play is almost here! Mark your calendar to join us at the museum on Sept 30 and learn more...
09/26/2023

Batavia Depot Museum’s Day of Play is almost here! Mark your calendar to join us at the museum on Sept 30 and learn more about your community. All visitors will get to take part in an artifact petting zoo in the research center! This is your chance to handle artifacts and get a behind-the-scenes look at our work at the museum.

Play gives everyone a chance to discover new things in a fun way. In this photo, Batavia students are getting a BTW tour of a Batavia ambulance. Learn more about Play with the link in our bio!

We are full of excitement at the museum one week away from Day of Play! Did you know that “Play is a safe way for childr...
09/23/2023

We are full of excitement at the museum one week away from Day of Play! Did you know that “Play is a safe way for children to assert their agency in the world”? According to the Association of Children’s Museums, play can help children “understand how their choices influence other people.”

This photo was taken in 1947 and shows Batavian kids running the refreshments stand at the West Side Neighborhood Carnival, a fun event that must have needed a lot of teamwork to be successful.

It's Flat File Friday! This week we are looking at a liquor license bond from 1873 by Father-Son duo John Gallagher & Jo...
09/22/2023

It's Flat File Friday! This week we are looking at a liquor license bond from 1873 by Father-Son duo John Gallagher & John Gallagher Jr. With this document, they could sell "Spirituous, Vinous and Fermented Liquors" in Batavia as long as he followed the rules. Alcohol production was big in the late 1800s and sometimes brewers would pay licensing fees for taverns and saloons to carry their product.
What do you think we'll find in our flat files next week?
Join us at the museum Mon, Wed, Fri from 2-4pm and on weekends 10am-5pm.

Wayback Wednesday. Happy homecoming week! Madge Geiss snapped this shot of her classmates on the Batavia East football t...
09/20/2023

Wayback Wednesday. Happy homecoming week! Madge Geiss snapped this shot of her classmates on the Batavia East football team ready to clash with Batavia West in 1910. Football was a popular, but dangerous sport. The forward pass had only been a legal play for 4 years and was still considered a risky "Hail Mary." Games looked more like rugby matches, with mass plays determined by brute strength and weight. Batavia looked different too, with East and West side school systems that met on the athletic field as opponents instead of teammates. Today, Batavia students win together. Go Batavia, Beat Wheaton North!

Pick up your FREE Play at the Museum activity book on Saturday, September 30 for Day of Play. The Batavia Depot Museum i...
09/19/2023

Pick up your FREE Play at the Museum activity book on Saturday, September 30 for Day of Play. The Batavia Depot Museum is a great place to play and learn about local history. Did you know that you can play with a telegraph, try out making lantern signals to the conductor, and pull electrical levers when you visit? Join us at the museum and make some joyful discoveries through play. Learn more about play by visiting our webpage linked in the bio.

We are half-way to Day of Play and it’s time to learn more about the power of play.  Play comes in many forms and the ch...
09/16/2023

We are half-way to Day of Play and it’s time to learn more about the power of play. Play comes in many forms and the children at Alice Gustafson School in the 1990s had a creative experience learning about a favorite household friend through play.

In the photo, we get a glimpse of the Cat Show, an event where pet cats (and stuffed cat animals) got to go to school with their owners. Students are filling out a questionnaire about a feline participant in their classroom.

Join us at the Batavia Depot Museum on Sept 30 for fun ways to play in the museum space!

This Flat File Friday we are going back to the 1970s with this Funway pamphlet. Founded in 1959, Funway has been an epic...
09/15/2023

This Flat File Friday we are going back to the 1970s with this Funway pamphlet. Founded in 1959, Funway has been an epicenter for fun entertainment for generations of Batavians. From go-karts, arcade, and bumper cars, this pamphlet was distributed after their install of a new roller rink. What is your favorite memory of funway?! Join us next week to see what more the flat files have to tell of Batavia's history.

In the meantime, join us at the museum Mon, Wed, Fri 2-4 pm and on weekends 10am-5pm.

We are counting down to the museum’s Day of Play on September 30 by sharing fun facts about the Power of Play and a hist...
09/14/2023

We are counting down to the museum’s Day of Play on September 30 by sharing fun facts about the Power of Play and a historical photo of Batavia kids from our collection.

Did you know play is essential for healthy child development? In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended doctors to write “prescription for play” as a part of a child’s regular check up. Learn more about the Power of Play on our webpage.

It's Flat File Friday! This is an advertising trading card for the Newton Wagon Company. In 1854, Levi Newton relocated ...
09/08/2023

It's Flat File Friday! This is an advertising trading card for the Newton Wagon Company. In 1854, Levi Newton relocated his wagon-making business to Batavia, IL after a fire destroyed his factory in NY. Batavia was a perfect place full of lumber to be the center of his operations. He distributed wagons all across the US. This card tells us his wagons were sold as far as Dallas, Texas. Did you know you can see a Newton Wagon at the Batavia Depot Museum? Come check it out on our lower level any day we are open! Stay tuned for next week's to learn more from our collection. Visit us at the museum Mon, Wed, Fri 2-4 pm and on weekends 10am-5pm.

Address

155 Houston Street
Batavia, IL
60510

Opening Hours

Monday 2pm - 4pm
Wednesday 2pm - 4pm
Friday 2pm - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 2pm - 5pm

Telephone

(630) 406-5274

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