By Dan Moy
Ebey Alley was the street in Jacksonville that produced some of the finer young athletes that were students of Franklin school. The alley runs past the old post office and the Production Press company and ends at the Town Brook. Ebey Alley is still there, but most all of the homes are gone as well as the athletes. There were cousins that enjoyed playing sports on the MacMurray college campus and the playground of Franklin school. Joe was a cousin to Milt, Ed and Ronny, and they enjoyed playing baseball on the Franklin school playground. The biggest problem was that they all could hit the baseball further than the limits of the field and that limit was the brook. As a neighborhood schoolmate from college Avenue, I was always invited to play ball with them as an outfielder. That always produced a problem since any of them could hit a home run that would end up in the brook and the outfielders always had to go into the brook to retrieve the ball. You always hoped that it had not rained two or three days before the games so that the field would not be muddy or the swift moving water would take the ball under the Clay Street bridge.
My parents could never understand how I would come home or a warm summer day with muddy shoes. All I have to mention was that I was playing ball with the McPike’s from Ebey Alley and they understood that one of the guys had hit a home run into the brook.
The Town Brook Initiative of the Jacksonville Parks Foundation held a Town Brook History Contest in an effort to help reconnect the community to its waterways. The Jacksonville community has a long history and a myriad of connections with Mauvaisterre Creek and its urban tributary the Town Brook. The town grew up near its banks; the creek was used as a byway for travelers on the Underground Railroad; its waters were dammed to provide a water supply to support development; generations of kids grew up playing in the brook – hunting for snakes, looking for crawdads, exploring its banks. The stories, along with others, will be part of Brook Tales – a play written by Ken Bradbury and performed by his Lincoln Land Community College class. Performances May 17-18 (Saturday & Sunday) will benefit the Town Brook Initiative. Click the History tab to find out more, or to submit your story to the history project.