BATAVIA – The windmills manufactured in Batavia more than a century ago were mechanical marvels crucial to the settlement of the American West. Now, modern computer technology is about to bring the story of Batavia’s windmills to 21st century life.
The city of Batavia and the Batavia Public Library have teamed up to produce a computer application that will allow anyone to take an interactive tour of the vintage windmills that are displayed all over the community.
The program is based on the book “Windmill City: A Guide to the Historic Windmills of Batavia, Illinois,” published by the Library.
The 38-page book features drawings and descriptions of 20 windmills displayed both on public and private property, along with a map showing their locations.
Batavia residents and tourists alike will be able to use their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to locate and access the history of each windmill, city of Batavia Communications Coordinator Chris Cudworth said.
Users will be able to access the information by going to the city’s website or using the QR code scanner on their devices, Cudworth said, with the windmill app expected to be available in about two weeks.
“The goal is to build a sense of ownership in our history,” Cudworth said.
The plan also is to attract sponsors in order to create a funding source for the ongoing maintenance of the historic windmills, Cudworth said.
The windmill app is the first of many envisioned by Cudworth to promote Batavia’s historic structures, locations and attractions, to be grouped together under a Destination Batavia campaign aimed at serving residents and marketing the community to visitors.
The “Windmill City” book was edited by the Library's Adult Services Manager Stacey Peterson and Director George Scheetz.
Copies of the book are available for anyone to own at no charge at the Library’s circulation desk. The book was first published in 2008, with 10,000 copies printed and distributed, Scheetz said. A second edition was published in 2013, and about half of the 10,000 copies remain, he said.
The book publication was financed through a grant, Scheetz said, and no tax dollars were used.