[nafex] 'gem city' apple

Brungardt, Sam (MPCA) sam.brungardt at state.mn.us
Tue May 5 16:48:01 EDT 2015


You're sure welcome, Steve.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if a tree were found to be growing somewhere near the orchard or Baraboo.  Slim chance that, I suppose, since all the locals may have been content to get their supply of Gem City apples from the orchard.  Other than that, how are things going for you?  The lilacs, daffodils, and redbuds are blooming here in St. Paul and the peonies are beginning to show their buds.  I will probably retire later this year, but am worried if I'll have enough in savings and retirement pay and Social Security to live comfortably.  My partner, Dick, thinks I will (but then he doesn't pay any of my personal bills). -- Sam

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex [mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Steve Herje
Sent: Monday, May 04, 2015 10:02 PM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [nafex] 'gem city' apple

Thanks Sam!

Sky High (or is it Ski-Hi?) orchard near Baraboo used to grow the tree when the current owner was a little girl in the fifties.  I asked her about it around ten years ago and she said that they'd cut out all the trees a while back.  It was a busy fall day and I could tell that the conversation didn't interest her.

I thought Gem City sounded cool when I saw an article about the orchard in an old newspaper.  It was a human interest story about how the above lady could identify all fifty cultivars in the orchard by taste or smell or something (it's been a while;-)  The article said that the Gem had been a major apple in the orchard at the turn of the last century.  Find me a commercial orchard with fifty varieties these days. Steve H.
On May 4, 2015 3:11 PM, "Brungardt, Sam (MPCA)" <sam.brungardt at state.mn.us>
wrote:

> This is from the Annual Report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural 
> Society for the year 1905:
>
> By Wm. Toole, Baraboo.
> The original tree of the Gem City (Townsend) apple was a chance 
> seedling which came up close to the house of Mr. Charles Dickinson, 
> now dead, whose farm was near Dodgeville.
> The young tree being in, the way, was cut down twice, but the third 
> growth was allowed to stay until it had borne fruit.
> XT. George Townsend of Baraboo, while visiting with Mr.
> Diekinson, was much attracted by the fruit, believing that it was a 
> seedling of more than ordinary promise. Mr. Town- send seems to be the 
> only one who realized at that time the possi- ble value of the apple. 
> He procured some scions and eighteen or twenty years ago planted two 
> young trees in his orchard from this grafting. These trees seemed to 
> be as hardy as any of the Russian varieties of which this orchard 
> largely consists.
> Mr. Townsend distributed young trees of his own grafting to various 
> persons, among them A. D. Brown and Mrs. Robert Ramsey, who exhibited 
> from trees about fifteen years old, the fruit which attracted so much 
> attention at the winter meeting of the Wisconsin State Horticultural 
> Society in Madison, Feb- ruary 9, 1905. Each of these growers speak of 
> it as a better grower than the Fameuse with larger fruit, apparently 
> as hare as any, an early and good bearer, an all winter keeper of 
> high- est quality, and in texture of skin and flesh, appears to be a 
> seedling of the Fameuse.
> The foregoing cover the main facts which I can get. No one at 
> Dodgeville seems to feel any interest in the apple and if it had not 
> been for Mr. Townsend, it would have been lost to the world. Mr. A. D. 
> Brown has taken great interest in the apple and takes it up as his 
> specialty, now that Mr. Townsend is gone.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nafex [mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of 
> Scott Weber and Muffy Barrett
> Sent: Monday, May 04, 2015 8:45 AM
> To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [nafex] 'gem city apple
>
> Steve, Do you have any sort of a description for Gem City?  Muffy 
> Barrett
>
> ---------- Original Message ----------
>
>
> Now if someone could find the lost central Wisconsin apple 'Gem City'
>
> Steve H. Lone Rock WI
>
>
>
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