Darwin's Twine Ball Museum
Darwin may be most famous for the largest ball of twine made by one man, but there are many things that make the city unique, including its rich history of town baseball. This history and more can be found under one roof Darwin’s Twine Ball Museum, located in downtown Darwin.
Aside from getting a close-up of the ball of twine, visitors of the museum can see many donated items that have contributed to the town’s past, including its most recent exhibit featuring Darwin’s love for baseball.
Darwin once was quite the baseball town, with nearly 1,000 fans showing their support at each hometown game, according to former Darwin baseball player Dave Kelly.
Possibly the most legendary of Darwin’s baseballare two of its own players Fred “Lefty” Miller and Milt Goemer, who went off to play professional baseball.
After playing professionally to earn his college tuition, Miller was drafted by Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics, but he turned the Athletics down in order to pursue a career in medicine.
Goemer signed with the Grand Forks Chiefs in 1941. After spending four years in the Air Force during World War II, Goemer continued his pitching career. In 1948, he led his team to the playoffs and it became the Northern League Champions. Goemer also became the Northern League’s Most Valuable Player.
Pictures of the town’s teams can be seen in an exhibit located in the museum’s new addition, along with baseball uniforms and the Milt Goemer MVP trophy and ring.
The Largest Ball of Twine
What really draws the most visitors from far and wide, though is of course the famous ball of twine.
The largest ball of twine made by one man can easily be viewed in a gazebo in the museum’s front lawn.
The ball of twine brings in thousands of visitors each year from all over the world.
“It’s amazing how people come just to see it,” said Roger Werner, museum director.
Francis Johnson, son of US congressman Magnus Johnson, wound his first piece of baler twine in March 1950.
As the ball grew, Johnson could no longer wrap the twine by hand and had to use large railroad jacks, that were built to lift boxcars, to move the ball of twine.
The ball was completed in 1979, and recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest ball of twine.
It weighs 8.7 tons, is 11 feet high, and measures 40 feet in diameter. Although this is still the largest ball of twine made by one man, it was removed from the book in 1994, by a ball of plastic twine made by several people and weighing considerably less.
Every summer, the town celebrates what it’s most famous for with Twine Ball Day, scheduled annually on the second Saturday in August.
The museum is open daily from mid-April to early November from noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Twine ball memorabilia is also available for purchase at the musuem.
Visit the web site at www.darwintwineball.com/twineball.html