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Dining, Shopping  & Exploring the Fox River Valley

Batavia History

Part of the trio known as the Tri-Cities, Batavia – much like her sister cities to the north – got its start in the first third of the 19th century. At that time, Christopher Columbus Payne settled there and built a cabin for his family in what was then referred to as “Head of Big Woods”.

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A Bit of History of Batavia

Payne moved on within two years, selling his property to Judge Isaac Walton. The judge then changed the city name to match his former hometown of the same name in New York.

The rich farmland, timber, water power and quarry stone were important resources for Batavia. Batavia had 10 quarries, many of which provided the City of Chicago with building materials for new construction after the Great Fire in October of 1871. And many of the buildings in the downtown areas of all the Tri-Cities are also made from the same fine Batavia Niagara Limestone. Located about 40 miles west of Chicago, Batavia is situated in the heart of the Fox River Valley, just a few miles to the north of Interstate 88 Tollway.

Mary Todd Lincoln, Windmills and Fermilab

It would seem that all three cities also have a bit of claim to fame when it comes to Mary Todd Lincoln. Mary, of course, was the widow of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. She once spent some time in Batavia’s Bellevue Place, a sanitarium and rest home for the mentally ill.

Batavia, IL has other history to be proud of, too. Batavia was recognized as the leading windmill manufacturing city in the world and was home to the Campana Company (maker of cosmetic products).  And Batavia hosts world famous Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, at the city’s southeastern edge. The facility attracts nuclear physicists from throughout the world.

But don’t make the trip solely for the history, culture, festivals, arts, and local flavor. Or even a bike trip along the scenic Fox River… Come to Batavia, Illinois for the fine dining, great shopping, and all the wonderful people that make it a friendly place to visit! Additional history can be viewed at the Batavia Depot Museum.

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Between the two of us, we’ve spent almost 100 years living in the Tri-Cities! On the Fox is our combined effort to share with you all that The Fox River Valley has to offer. We hope you enjoy the site… and the area; and that you come back often to see what’s new!

Yvonne & Richard