Darwin Minnesota’s Ball Of Twine Set To Turn 70
When's the last time you've used the phrase "let me get some twine" chances are pretty low. But the words Darwin, Minnesota, and twine will forever be linked not only by locals from the town of Darwin but to many of us in our pride in being from Minnesota. The ball 'o' twine is set to turn 70 years old next year, so why don't we take a look back at the legacy that is and was a Minnesota tradition for many.
According to roadsideamerica.com Francis A Johnson of Darwin, "began rolling a ball of twine in his basement 1950." Legend has it that Francis rolled twine "four hours a day, every day." Eventually, it got to be so large that Johnson "moved the ball onto his front lawn and used railroad jacks to ensure proper wrapping; Johnson cared as much about his ball's roundness as its diameter. For 29 years this magnificent sphere evolved at Johnson's farm, and he eventually built a circular open-air shed to protect it from the elements."
It now lives in a plexiglass encased structure that brings in about "100" people a day according to a St Cloud Times article. The ball is so famous, or infamous, that it had a song made about it by "Weird Al" Yankovic, called "Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota."
Haven't seen it yet? Well, you are in luck as the twine ball is available for viewing 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, along Darwin's main street.
My first time seeing Darwin's record-setting ball of twine was in the early 2000s after my parents took me with to check out some potential puppies from a breeder. We stopped and took in the ball of twine in all of its glory.