Spring On The Buena Vista Grasslands

The Buena Vista Grasslands, south of Plover, Wisconsin, was originally a tamarack swamp with extensive areas of open marsh and alder shrubs. In the late 1800’s the timber was cut and the marsh was burned.   In 1890 the State of Wisconsin formed the Portage County Drainage District. During 1905 The Portage County Drainage District began operations in Buena Vista, Grant and Pine Grove to drain the Buena Vista Marsh.  Extensive acreage in the district is purchased by the  Bradley Polytechnic Institute of Illinois. An employee of Bradley, W. (Wallie) B. Coddington platted a community to be known as Pine Island in 1911. The name Pine Island (it was one area of high ground in the marsh with some pine trees taller than the tamarack) never really took. A post office was established at the location in 1912 and was called Coddington.  The area was drained by several ditches that crossed the marsh.

After drainage, about 1/4 of the area was cultivated, 1/4 remained wet marsh or brush, and the rest was grassland habitat.  Agriculture failed due to the short growing season, severe frost, and soil chemistry problems that were difficult to remedy at the time.  As a result of the severe frosts,  bluegrass agriculture become the dominate use of the land. Eventually, the bluegrass market failed due to market competition from other countries. With modern farming techniques and overhead irrigation, the area is again a major agricultural force.

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