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Vintage Base Ball Action at Wade House


The Greenbush Dead Citys hurler (pitcher) tosses the ball to the striker (batter)

It will be batter up — 1860s style — on Sunday, July 18, when the Wade House vintage base ball team, the Greenbush Dead Citys, takes to the historic playing field in a showdown with their rivals, the Milwaukee Grays. Vintage base ball (spelled as two words just as it was originally) has enjoyed a resurgence in Wisconsin the past few years, with the Dead Citys team now in its fifth season of play. Players, outfitted in period uniforms, play by 1860s rules and employ quaint vintage base ball terminology in which the pitcher is a "hurler," the batter is a "striker" and the catcher is a "behind." Game time is 1:30 pm Sunday.

Dead Citys Modeled After a Real Club that Played in the 1870s

The Greenbush Dead Citys take their name and their traditions from an actual team that played in Greenbush and surrounding communities in the 1870s. The unusual team name, Wade House historians believe, reflects the Greenbush villagers' concern that, when the railroad bypassed the village in the early 1860s, it doomed the village's hopes of becoming a thriving center of commerce. Indeed, throughout the decade of the 1850s the centerpiece of the historic site, the Wade House stagecoach inn, served as a wayside and lodging place for travelers traversing the plank road that connected Fond du Lac and Sheboygan during the heyday of stagecoach and wagon traffic. The railroad's bypassing of Greenbush also eventually affected the inn's viability as a going concern.

Exploring the Wade House Historic Site's Many Features

The name Wade House belies all there is to see and do in a visit to this historic site. Before and after the game, be sure to explore the site's many other features, including the working, water-powered Herrling Sawmill, reconstructed on the actual site of the original mill that stood at the site from 1854 to 1910. The mill harnesses energy from a millpond, fed by the Mullet River, to drive a turbine-powered "muley saw," the same type of saw used in the original mill.

Also on site is the Wesley Jung Carriage Museum, which houses one of Wisconsin's largest collections of historic carriages, sleighs and working wagons, and the Dockstader Blacksmith Shop, an accurate depiction of a typical 19th-century village institution. And, if you work up an appetite on your visit, drop in at the Greenbush Cupboard Café for a bite to eat or some cool liquid refreshments. Of course, no trip to Wade House would be complete without taking a horse-drawn wagon ride around the site.

If You Go

For complete details on admission, location and contact information, visit the Wade House visitor information pages.

:: Posted July 12, 2010

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