In yesterday’s blog I talked briefly about the inter-urban electric rail road that used to go past my house. For several years a group has been trying to have the track be made into a bike path from Urbana to Danville. The state just granted about $1,000,000 to buy rights to the track bed and repair some bridges. Now the group has to raise enough money to pave the trail. I have seen plans for the trail and they include rest areas in each of the small towns (remember – every 10 miles). I think these would be great for business in the small towns.
Going into Saint Joseph I have played a minor role in developing a wetlands park that was wetlands before the land was drained. The bike path would go by this. The wetlands are well developed but have a long way to be useable to the public. I would like to see a wetlands museum in one of the empty building in Saint Joseph. People or students could visit the museum before going to the wet lands.
From the late 1800’s until 1937 there was a park on the Salt Fork near the old Homer site. On weekends the inter-urban was packed with people going to the park to dance, swim, canoe, spoon, see a small zoo and ride a few rides. The site is now part of the Salt Fork River Preserve and there are still remains of the old park.
One summer I worked at Homer Lake, which is a man-made lake that is part of the preserve. I rented canoes and boats. One summer Joe, Sue and I canoed down the Salt Fork for a day. Another time Joe and I went sailing on Homer Lake. I learned that even with great instructions from Joe it was easy to flip yourself out of the boat even if you were careful. Dad and I went ice fishing on the lake for several winters and usually caught a meal’s worth of crappie.
Before they tore out the tracks, Suzanne and I used to go fossil hunting in the old track bed. I understand the gravel came from up north. We found lots of trilobites, crinoid columns and coral.
There used to be lots of wild strawberries along the tracks. In a good year they would be about the size of the first joint of your little finger. We would make prairie jam. One year we went to the Governor’s mansion and gave him a jar of the jam
We have seen deer, fox, skunks, opossums, mink, ground hogs, pheasant and 13 stripped ground squirrels along the tracks.
Sometime I will tell you more about David Monk.