Railroading gave the first impetus toward Babcock's settlement. The settlement of Remington, located on the west bank of the Yellow River, was abandoned in favor of this site when the railroad named Babcock a division point. Two lines of the railroad merged just west of the river. Babcock reached national prominence on August 11, 1910 when this junction became the site of a wreck involving a circus train and a passenger train. Both trains vied for the junction. The circus train won the race, but became the loser when the passenger train ran into it. Several cars of the circus train were demolished, resulting in death and injury to several circus animals. Other exotic animals escaped, and Babcock became the site of an elephant hunt. Several of the animals are buried near here.
Babcock is noted for being the site of the last known, natural sighting of a passenger pigeon. The extinct specie was a game bird in the 1800's, and its migratory flights darkened the sky for several minutes as the birds passed over. The last passenger pigeon was killed here in 1899.
With the demise of the passenger pigeon, prairie chickens flourished, and this area became noted for its abundance of these birds. Special trains converged on Babcock, bringing hunters, including Wisconsin's Governor J.J. Blaine, who chartered a special train on one occasion.
Cranberry processing has replaced railroading. Deer hunting is now more popular than bird hunting. Nevertheless, Babcock continues to be a small, stubborn community that refuses to pass into oblivion.
Comments 0 comments