Classes/Lectures
September 12, 2013 • 12:41:42 p.m.

Library symposium to feature Batavia windmill history

By KARA SILVA - ksilva@shawmedia.com

To celebrate Batavia’s collection of windmills and educate the public about “Batavia’s Place in Windmill History,” the library will host a daylong symposium Saturday, Sept. 14. The library symposium will be from 9 to 5 p.m. at the library, 10 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia. (Provided photo)

BATAVIA – It’s no wonder why Batavia was once nicknamed “The Windmill City.” It’s landscape is riddled with them, and according to the city of Batavia’s website, the town has a place in history as the windmill manufacturing capital of the world.

Today, Batavia has 18 historic windmills throughout the city, with three additional windmills awaiting installment, according to a news release from the Batavia Public Library.

To celebrate Batavia’s collection of windmills and educate the public about “Batavia’s Place in Windmill History,” the library will host a daylong symposium Saturday, Sept. 14. The library symposium will be from 9 to 5 p.m. at the library, 10 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia.

The program will begin with a ceremony, in which representatives of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers of New York City will present a plaque to Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke in honor of Batavia’s collection of windmills as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, according to the release.

Following the ceremony, a slew of speakers will offer lectures, including Dr. T. Lindsay Baker of Rio Vista, Texas, who is an expert on American windmills, having published several books on the topic. He also is the editor of the Windmillers’ Gazette.

Baker has been coming to Batavia since the 1970s, conducting research on wind-power history.

“I’m delighted to have another opportunity to visit Batavia and to learn more, myself, about wind-power history,” he said. “I never come to Batavia without learning things I didn’t know.”

During his presentation of “The American Windmill,” beginning at 10:30 a.m., Baker will discuss the history of wind power in America, while comparing U.S. windmills to European windmills from yester-year to modern-day times.

“I think [people] will have a much better understanding of the place of Batavia in the broader scheme of wind power history across the globe,” Baker said. “ ... I think that it’s important for us to understand how our fore-parents used the renewable power of the wind as a demonstration of how people today and of the future also will be able to use that clean source of renewable power.”

Baker’s lecture will be the first of the 2013-14 season of the library’s Lyceum Lecture Series.

Other speakers will include Christopher Gillis of Frederick, Md., who will present the lecture “From Batavia to Aermotor,” beginning at 1:30 p.m.; and Batavia’s windmill experts, Bob Popeck and Francine McGuire-Popeck, who will discuss “Batavia Windmills: Building Local, U.S. and World Economies” at 3 p.m.

The symposium is free of charge and open to the public, although registration is required and can be completed online at www.BataviaPublicLibrary.org or by calling 630-879-1393, ext. 200.

Those who attend will receive a copy of “Windmill City: A Guide to the Historic Windmills of Batavia, Illinois.”


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