The Batavia Depot Museum opened in 1975 as a cooperative effort between the Batavia Park District and the Batavia Historical Society. The Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad Depot was the first-of-its-kind built in 1854, and is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, the city’s past comes alive through exhibits detailing the history of rail transportation, manufacture of windmills, agriculture, banking, commerce and a brief stay by Mary Todd Lincoln at Bellevue Place.
Saving the Depot in the early 1970s was an effort that involved all Batavians. Though contributions and generous matching from Furnas, $31,000 was raised to move the historic structure from its original location at the corner of Van Buren and Webster street to its current location on Houston street, a total of nine blocks, one hill and one bridge. Moving day, Oct. 11, 1973, was such an event, even school children were let out of class to see the Depot traveling to its new home.
Over the years, the Depot has increased the number of exhibits and space with the addition of the Gustafson Research Center in 2000. In March 2017, the Batavia Historical Society launched the Depot Expansion Project, with the goal of adding a new, modern exhibit space, storage and reception area to welcome Batavians and introduce visitors to the city’s rich history. If you’d like to learn more about our expansion plans or contribute, please visit the Batavia Historical Society’s website at www.bataviahistoricalsociety.org
With your help, the Depot Museum can continue to fulfill its mission: Through collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the history of Batavia, the Batavia Depot Museum memorializes the accomplishments of Batavians while enriching public knowledge and creating leisure and educational opportunities for the community.