Batavia is a suburb of Chicago. It was founded in 1833, and is the oldest city in Kane County, Illinois, with a small portion in DuPage County. During the Industrial Revolution, Batavia became known as ‘The Windmill City’ for being the largest windmill producer of the time. Fermilab, a federal-government-sponsored high-energy physics laboratory, where both the bottom quark and the top quark were first detected, is located here. Batavia is part of a Tri-Cities area, along with St. Charles and Geneva. Its population has been increasing, from 23,866 in the 2000 U.S. census, 25,246 in 2003 to 27,502 in the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau census.
Batavia was first settled in 1835 by Christopher Payne and his family. Originally called Big Woods for the wild growth throughout the settlement, the town was renamed by local judge and former Congressman Isaac Wilson in 1840 after his previous home of Batavia, New York. Because Judge Wilson owned the majority of the town, he was given permission to rename the city. Batavia was on the front lines of the Black Hawk War in which Abraham Lincoln was a citizen soldier, and Zachary Taylor and Jefferson Davis were Army officers. Although there is no direct evidence that any of them were actually in Batavia, there are writings by Lincoln that refer to "Head of the Big Woods", which was the original name of Batavia given by its original settler, Christopher Payne. After the death of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln was an involuntary resident of the Batavia Institute in 1875. In the late 19th century, Batavia was a major manufacturer of the Conestoga wagons used in the country's westward expansion. Into the early 20th century, most of the windmill operated waterpumps in use throughout America's farms were made at one of the three windmill manufacturing companies in Batavia. Many of the original limestone buildings that were part of these factories are still in use today as government and commercial offices and storefronts. The Aurora Elgin and Chicago Railway constructed a power plant in southern Batavia and added a branch to the city in 1902. The Campana Factory was built in 1936 to manufacture cosmetics for The Campana Company, most notably Italian Balm, the nation's best-selling hand lotion at the time.
In 2009, Batavia was ranked #56 on CNN Money's Best Small Towns in the nation. In 2007, BusinessWeek ranked Batavia #21 on a national list of the 50 best places in America to raise kids. In 2011, Batavia was voted by RelocateAmerica as one of the Top 100 Places to Live in America.
Batavia is served by Batavia Public School District No. 101. The district currently consists of six K-5 elementary schools, one 6-8 middle school, and Batavia High School.
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