Local historian invited to 'revisit' Batavia with new book
Representatives of Arcadia Publishing have been traveling to communities across the country for at least 10 years for their "Images of America" series, and last winter they approached Larry D. Barnes, Batavia's resident historian.
According to Barnes, the South Carolina-based publishing company, which published another book on Batavia -- simply titled "Batavia" -- about 10 years ago, wanted to "take another look" at the city and its history.
Barnes' book, "Batavia Revisited," will explore different topics and feature different photos -- of which there are about 220 in all -- from the first book. It covers many of the major events that reshaped the city's appearance, including:
- The relocation of the railroad tracks to the outskirts of town;
- The construction of the Oak Street Bridge; and
- The Urban Renewal of the 1960s and early 1970s
As a book that relies heavily on the use of photographs, "Batavia Revisited" is mainly focused on the period from 1860 onward. However, Barnes includes an introduction dealing with Batavia's earlier history, which goes back to the early 1800s.
"I also try to straighten out some misinformation over the years (about Batavia's history)," Barnes said. "For example, I've found over and over again in my research, that the person most people think built the Old City Hall had been dead for two years (before it was built). It was his son who built it."
Barnes is a retired Genesee Community College professor and a volunteer with the Genesee County History Department. He taught psychology, but describes history as a "second career."
"It's a personal interest of mine," he said. "I do a lot of (historical) writing and research."
The book will be on sale starting Jan. 17, and will be available for purchase at Present Tense books on Wasington Avenue (and probably at the Holland Land Office Museum as well).
For more information on the book, please visit its page on Arcadia Publishing.