One of the coolest parts of my job is everything I am learning about Batavia’s history. My time spent living here will be 18 years in April, yet I still feel like a newbie!
A perfect example is the recent Post to Present celebration on the Depot Pond. This was such a wonderful event celebrating the painting by artist John Falter that depicted skaters in Batavia on the Fox River. His painting graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1958, 60 years ago. One unknown fact to many attending was the actual place where the painting took place is near where the McDonald’s is now located. I didn’t know we were ever featured on a Saturday Evening Post, let alone the river flowed where you can get a Big Mac!
Did you know the annual festival in the summer, known as Windmill City Festival, used to be called Boo-Boo Days? The idea behind Boo-Boo Days was the opportunity for local retailers to pull out all of their wares that didn’t sell and sell them at a great discount on the sidewalks! There also was a carnival-type celebration in town, but nothing like today’s festival.
There are so many interesting facts about Batavia, and one person who can certainly regale you with all of them is our esteemed Mayor Jeffery Schielke. When we hold ribbon-cuttings for our Chamber members, Mayor Schielke always has the best stories to tell about the location of the ribbon-cutting. He has told a story of teenagers picking up a car and placing it between utility poles along Wilson Street and a story that the Shumway and Sons Foundry in Batavia cast the Oscar statuette for the Academy Awards from 1928 to 1982.
These stories are just a small sampling of the rich history in amazing Batavia.
We as a Chamber are honored to award our annual Ole Awards at our Inspire Event to businesses in the community that either add new construction or renovate their existing site while helping restore and beautify their buildings. Embracing our past while building for our future is what helps Batavia maintain its charm and uniqueness. All of the Chamber ribbon-cuttings are scheduled on our website, as well as our Facebook page. If you are interested in learning more about Batavia, these events are open for all to attend.
Please come out and join us anytime. You will not be disappointed!