A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Darlington WI’

Gratiot & Darlington, Wisconsin

Posted by graywacke on March 5, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-time-I-get-around-to-it blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Still just fiddlin’ around in the mid 150’s, with this OSer landing in . . . WI; 40/37; 5/10; 3; 154.9.  This is a rather quick return trip to Wisconsin; I’m sure you recall with great joy my description of the geology around Mauston.  Do not fret; this will be a non-geological post.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 gratiot landing 1

And this closer-in shot, showing my proximity to both Darlington & Gratiot.  I have been torn all along as to which town to feature; you can see by the title of the post that I gave up and gave each equal billing.  Neither town had a knock-out punch in terms of a particularly interesting hook. 

 gratiot landing 2

I landed in the Pecatonica R watershed – first time ever!  The Pecatonica flows to the Sugar (2nd hit); on to the Rock (5th hit, making the Rock the 144th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits); on to the MM (787th hit).

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot, which shows a lovely rural landscape:

gratiot GE1

 The Pecatonica more-or-less connects my two towns, although Darlington claims the title as “The Pearl of the Pecatonica.”  From Wiki:

The community is known as the “Pearl of the Pecatonica” because the Pecatonica River flows through the town, and people used to harvest the clams out of the river to make pearl button blanks.

Here’s a Panoramio picture by GetSirius.  Although hard to see, under “Darlington” is the town’s motto:

 grat getsirius pearl

Moving right along, as you can see by the following Milwaukee Journal headline, there’s a Darlington connection to the Ringling Brothers and their famous circus:

 ringling - darlington

Here’s what Wiki has to say about that:

Alfred T. Ringling established himself in Darlington, Wisconsin at the age of 20, working as a harness maker in his own shop. He gave little shows for the students in schools and citizens of Darlington and the surrounding towns, with an act that included having four strong farmers lift up a plow, with Alfred lying beneath it. They positioned the plow so Alfred could balance it on his chin. It was a major crowd pleaser.

 I don’t quite get exactly what was going on, but hey, I guess this is what launched his career!

From the Wisconsin Historical Society, a little more about the brothers:

Although Wisconsin was known for the tremendous number of circuses that came from or wintered here in the 19th century, none were more renowned than the Ringling Brothers Circus.  Founded in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in 1884, the family of circus owners and performers became synonymous with the American circus, building the largest and most famous circus in the world by the 1930s.

[Astute ALAD readers will remember my reference to Baraboo in my Mauston post – the Baraboo Hills were the southern terminus of Glacial Lake Wisconsin.]

The first Ringling performance involving all five brothers took place on November 27, 1882, in Mazomanie.  More a vaudeville-type show than what it would become, two brothers danced, two played instruments and one sang. The brothers used their profits to purchase evening suits and top hats.

Here’s a shot of the five brothers (from the Wisconsin Historical Society).  Are we sure they were brothers?

 wisc historical society ringling bros

It turns out that a Major League (sort of) baseball player is from Darlington.  From Wiki:

Charles Dougherty (1862 – 1925) was a major league baseball player for Altoona Mountain City in 1884. He was their second baseman, and he hit a .259 batting average.

I’ll use baseball as a way to transition over to Gratiot.  In regards to Major League baseball, Gratiot has it all over Darlington.  From Wiki:

Abner Dalrymple (1857 – 1939) was a left fielder in Major League Baseball who hit 43 home runs (including 22 in 1884, the second-highest total to that date) and batted .288 during his 12-season career spent primarily with the Chicago White Stockings.  He was the starring leadoff hitter on five National League pennant winners.

In 1881, he was given an intentional walk with the bases loaded; the first batter to accomplish that honor.  In 1884, he catapulted into sixth place on the all-time home run list.

How about that.  The first-ever intentional walk with the bases loaded!  Wiki has a write-up about this phenomenon:

In the history of Major League Baseball, six players have been issued intentional walks with the bases loaded (thus giving the batting team an automatic run).  This is only done in the rarest of cases, typically when the pitching team is leading by two to four late in the game and a particularly feared hitter is at the plate. The six players given such passes are Abner Dalrymple (1881), Nap Lajoie (1901), Del Bissonette (1928), Bill Nicholson (1944), Barry Bonds (1998), and Josh Hamilton (2008).  In all six cases, the pitching team went on to win the game.

Six for six!  Obviously a winning strategy!  I wonder how many times the Manager thought about walking in a run, decided not to, and then got burned??  I’ll wager that’s happened way more than six times . . .

Here’s a Panoramio picture of the former Gratiot train station; a rather austere, yet pleasing structure:

gratiot train station pano D200DX

Speaking of train stations, here’s a great back-in-the-day shot at the Darlington train station, courtesy of the Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society:

wisconsin-darlington; CM&StP; WI; Darlington;;

It says:  “Another hundred and four off to Camp Grant, May 27, 1913.”   (OK, so there’s a typo – note “of” rather than “off.”)  Check out all of the hats.  I see one elderly gentleman holding his hat, but all other heads are covered!

I’ll close with this lovely Panoramio shot by Douglas Feltman, of a rural scene outside of Gratiot (about 2 mi west of my landing):

 gratiot pano douglas feltman 2 mi west

That’ll do it.




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