The History of East Batavia and West Batavia High Schools
Batavia (population 23,866) is located in northeastern Illinois and is a western suburb of Chicago. The town sits in the southeastern portion of Kane County. Illinois Routes 25 and 31 pass through town, connecting it to Interstate Highway 88 just 2 miles to the south. The Fox River also passes through Batavia and was a major influence in the town’s early growth.
According to http://www.cityofbatavia.net/Content/templates/?a=684 , Batavia residents began to organize a form of government in 1850. A Board of Trustees was established in 1856. The first mayor of the town was elected in 1896. The population in 1896 was 1,891.
The Batavia High School website address of http://www.bps101.net/info/1911_consolidation.html states the following (taken from a report on the school completed in 1913) regarding the Batavia School District:
“One of the most marked changes which has taken place in the schools in the past four years is the consolidation of Districts 101 and 102, commonly termed East Batavia and West Batavia, into one district. From September, 1909, to the spring of 1911, one superintendent had charge of both districts, but at the April meeting of the Township School Trustees in 1911, upon a petition of the people of both districts, the schools were united into a new district.
This was in line with steps which have been taken and are being taken by districts all over the country where two or more school districts have existed in one municipality. Among other noticeable effects is the increase of the high school enrollment from one hundred twenty to on hundred eighty-nine, and a corresponding decrease in the per capita cost for high school pupils from fifty-four to fifty-seven dollars down to about forty dollars, while the number of courses offered to students is greater, and the standing of the high school very materially increased as is shown in another connection.
It is not desired at this time to discuss to great length the effects of consolidation, but it has made for economy and increased school spirit throughout the schools.”
More historical information on the Batavia school system can be found at the city’s official website page of http://www.cityofbatavia.net/Content/templates/?a=685 . The original East Side School was razed in 1978, The original West Side School was torn down in 1950
East Batavia & West Batavia High School Quick Facts
Year opened: West Side School – 1867
East Side School – 1893
Year High Schools combined: 1911
Consolidated to: Batavia High School
Schools team nicknames: unavailable
Schools uniform colors: unavailable
Schools fight songs: unavailable
We have no current evidence, but we do believe that the high schools of East Batavia and West Batavia offered basketball for the boys. Each probably offered baseball, and possibly track, as well.
The one item that does stick out occurred after the consolidation of both schools into one. In the school’s VERY FIRST year of competing as Batavia High School, the Batavia boys jelled extremely well. How about this for credentials:
Batavia High School’s first team WON THE IHSA STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP!!! The team of 1911-12 sported an overall recrd of 27 – 2 and beat Galesburg in the championship game 28 – 25. Batavia HS was coached by K.C. Merrick. An interesting note is found in some of the writings we have cited above. The high school student population of Batavia High School in 1912 was approximately 180 students. This is a pretty fantastic feat for such a then-small school!
More Facts & Information on Batavia’s Early High Schools
From George Scheetz, Director of the Batavia Public Library District:
“The two high schools apparently merged their athletic programs in 1909, though there are records of combined (or union) teams prior to this date.
Both high schools offered football. The earliest reference to high school football in Batavia that I have found dates to 1904; football apparently was considered a regular high school sport by 1908.
I have found a score for at least one football game between the two schools; very little documentation on high school athletics in Batavia during this era has survived.
Basketball teams were fielded by both boys and girls (before girls’ interscholastic athletics was banned in Illinois) and I have a reference to a girls’ football team, as well, though this team might have been organized after the two high schools officially merged in 1911.”
**From Linda Hess:
“West Batavia 1907-08 Basketball team played Plano High School. West Batavia won the 1st game 30 to 10; the second I have no results. This information is from Kendall County News microfilm. 1907-08 was the first year Plano HS had a basketball team. (PHS’s very first game was against Wheaton HS- defending state champs).”
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