Batavia's Historic Legacy by Mayor Schielke
Over 100 years ago, Batavia was one of the early customers of electrical power and has remained at the cutting edge of advancements in electrical technologies as they have unfolded. This same commitment to improving our community quality of life has further been highlighted by support for enhancements to water, sewer and telecommunications systems as they have grown and changed in this same time period. In short, Batavia's history is a legacy at innovation and creativity that has earned us the nickname of "The City of Energy."
As the oldest city in Kane County, we enjoy the fact that our 175-year history (Batavia was founded in 1833), the town has had many brushes with both state and national history. Among the famous who have paid us a visit include Samuel Clemens, Mary Todd Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Charles Lindberg, John Kennedy, Barbara Bush, and Bob Woodward. Former residents of our town who have gained national recognition include recording artist Jackie DeShannon, basketball player Dan Issel, football quarterback Ken Anderson, and women's pro-golfer Sharon Moran. Marion Moon, mother of famed astronaut Edwin Aldrin spent some of her childhood years in Batavia; and, for many years of his later life, we were the home to Dr. Bernard Cigrand, credited with being the national founder of Flag Day. Ice skating on the downtown pond area was the subject of a John Falter painting featured on the front cover of January 11, 1958, edition of The Saturday Evening Post. Two highly acclaimed motion pictures also featured Batavia. The 1974 movie "Harry and Tonto," which won an Academy Award, featured scenes with a Batavia background as did the recently released basketball-related movie "Hoop Dreams."
Our city's industries also have earned us longstanding recognition. Batavia was once known as the windmill manufacturing capital of the world due to the fact that 4 different plants turned out these mighty machines capable of harnessing the winds of nature into productive energy. Other major industries that helped form the Batavia business identity include quarry stone, wood wagons and refrigerated truck bodies, electrical controls, dairy products, foundry castings, floral productions, and clothing garments. Today, Batavia is the home to over 5,000,000 square feet of industrial and office building space employing thousands of individuals on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, the community contains over 1,300,000 square feet of retail commercial space with more being added on an ongoing basis.
Perhaps one of the proudest aspects of life in Batavia is that we are the home and neighbor to 2 major facilities which provide a very positive impact on life in our town. To our immediate east is the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a 6,800-acre site that houses the U.S. Department of Energy's research arm for high energy physics. To our immediate southwest is Mooseheart, the world headquarters of the Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge and home to the Moose's "child city," a sprawling 1,300-acre campus that provides a quality of lifestyle for orphaned children of Moose members.
Thank you for stopping to look at what we are all about.