Friday, July 18, 2008
For a while I fell off the face of the earth
I landed in Batavia, Illinois, a far-far western suburb of Chicago. Long-time readers might be curious about this journey, but for now, I intend to be discrete and mysterious about my detour along life’s pathways.
My new home, a quaint little town clustered along the Fox River, captured my eye immediately when I first drove into the downtown central business district. Yes, there is still a thriving downtown here, not yet lost to the strip-shopping centers which populate west Batavia along Randal Road where every manner of chain store or restaurant is at your beck and call. The mayor wrote this about his town, “Batavia in some ways looks like a town that time has left alone.” This part of the Fox River Valley is lovely, and I am no stranger to the river having once lived in a Craftsman-style house overlooking the Fox for a short time in Appleton, Wisconsin.
While Batavia is doing a fine job of straddling old and new, I found her charm immediately apparent with tree-lined streets of homes ranging from Victorian painted ladies to one classic Frank Lloyd Wright home. I can walk to my insurance agent, bank, pharmacy, coffee shop, and library.
The library features a mural of the art accompanying this post--John Philip Falter's "Fox River Ice-Skating," which was the Saturday Evening Post cover for Jan. 11, 1958. In the upper right corner, you can see the Challenge Windmill Factory, another Batavia landmark. Batavia dubs itself “The City of Energy,” a right fine tagline since it served as home to five windmill factories during its early years, and it has been the home of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) for more than 40 years.
Well, that’s a short introduction to my new hometown. More later but don't expect me to write about ice-skating on the Fox River or anywhere for that matter.