Batavia is located about 35 miles west of Chicago
County. The Fox River
runs directly through the town, which is bordered by Geneva
on the north
on the south
Batavia was originally founded in 1833 by a settler named Christopher Payne. He had travelled to the area and staked a claim named "Head of Big Woods
". This name was later changed to Batavia by Judge Issac Wilson after his hometown of Batavia
The nickname "Windmill
City" came from 3 large windmill factories that were located in the area. By 1890, Batavia was recognized around the world
as the leading windmill manufacturing city.
Another resource that Batavia was blessed with was its limestone
quarry. After the great Chicago fire
, Batavia supplied limestone to the city to help with the rebuilding process. Limestone from the quarry
was also used extensively in the construction of Northern Illinois University
. Before the turn of the century
, mining was banned for fear of parts of the town collapsing due to the explosions
. The quarry was converted into a swimming park and remains so to this day.
Batavia was also home to the old Bellevue Place
, a sanitarium
for women ran by Dr. R. J. Patterson. The list of patients included Mary Todd Lincoln
after her husband, President Abraham Lincoln
, was assasinated.