Walworth County Historical Society


In 1837 John Bruce built a house near the road to Beloit at the central part of section 27. This modest mansion also served as a wayside inn, until 1843, when his son, James R. Bruce, built a hotel with such substantial frame and workmanship that it still serves the purpose of a public house. Henry Frey built a store in 1844, and filled it with a large stock of goods. A postoffice had been established there in 1839. A hamlet grew slowly about these buildings until 1856, in which year Mr. Frey, Hiram A. Stone and Edward Topping platted the village of Darien, through the middle of which the railway came that year from Racine and onward to Beloit. The new station at once became an important point for shipping the abundant grain crops of Darien and other towns, and as busy a distributing point for the trade in pine lumber. Less grain than then is now raised and forwarded, but the station has not lost its relative importance. Before 1862 five grain houses were built, severally by Parker M. Cole, Hiram Onderdonk, John Williams, John Bruce and M. Bushnell Stone. These have been operated by men who knew how to draw and hold trade.

The village is on slightly uneven ground, but has no difficult street grades. It is generally a few feet higher than at the station, where it is 945 feet above sea level. It is 9.4 miles from Elkhorn, 65.9 miles from Milwaukee (by rail), 84.7 miles from Chicago. It is as yet unincorporated, and has about four hundred inhabitants. (In October, 1911, the village rejected a proposition to incorporate by a decisive majority.)

Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith

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