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2017 Kane County Chronicle Best of the Fox

Batavia photographer looks for memories of Hotel Geneva

Published: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 9:49 a.m. CDT
(Phovided photo)
Batavia photographer Brian DeWolf is looking for stories about Hotel Geneva to include in a book he plans to write. He took this photo of one of the rooms when it was last open to the public in 2005.

GENEVA – Batavia photographer Brian DeWolf is looking for stories about Hotel Geneva for a book he wants to write.

DeWolf had a chance to photograph the historical hotel in 2005, when the public had one last chance to see the third floor of the building when furniture was auctioned off.

“I photographed it and captured it, and it was really interesting,” he said. “I’ve just been sitting on these photographs.”

The hotel, built circa 1866, still stands at 226 W. State St. and is occupied by Leapin’ Lyrics, a music retail store that uses the hotel rooms as practice rooms. Some may remember the hotel from the movie, “Road to Perdition,” which was released in 2002.

DeWolf hopes to collect memories from the hotel to include in a book filled with the photos he took. He hopes to sell a 60- to 80-page book and give the proceeds to the Geneva History Center. He plans to use a website called Blurb, which allows users to design the book themselves and publish copies as they please.

He said it has been difficult to find people who have stories about staying in or working at the hotel because it closed in 1992 after the death of the hotel’s grand dame, May Dorothy Fletcher. Fletcher was known to turn away unmarried guests who wanted to share a room. DeWolf said she sometimes didn’t even let unmarried guests walk upstairs together to look at a room.

He hopes to tap local police officers who may remember encounters they had there.

“Really, it was quite a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “I love history and the heritage of the Tri-Cities.”

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