Congratulations to the winners of the Town Brook History Contest! The Town Brook Initiative of the Jacksonville Parks Foundation held the contest in an effort to 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.

Ken Bradbury is writing a play, Brook Tales, which will explore this history and the characters associated with our waterways. Performances will be Saturday & Sunday May 17-18, 2014. Performed by Ken’s Lincoln Land Community College actors.

Winning stories were from:

  • Cora Lee Lacey, who would catch snakes at the State Hospital Farm and tie strings around their “necks” so the snakes wouldn’t get away during lunch.
  • Sarah Angleton, recalling at 8 years old was stuck with her brother in the basement during a storm, with their parents cut off from the house by flooding.
  • Sue Ann Hackett, who recalled story of friend finding pop bottles floating in the Town Brook with notes pleading “Help! Help! Captured. Let us out!” from men working at the State Hospital Farm.
  • Dan Moy, for memories of playing baseball near Franklin School and having to clamber down into the Town Brook to retrieve home run balls.
  • Roger Deem, who sought shelter from bullies at Franklin School at the edge of the Town Brook, later organized a cleanup of the waterway as an Eagle Scout project in 1975, and felt the connection of critters living along the brook.

The contest was sponsored by Our Town Books and Dr. Jerry Osborne of MacMurray College, and each winner received a $25 gift certificate to the book store. The entries were judged by Jim & Sally Nurss of Our Town Books; Chris Ashmore of the Jacksonville Public Library; and Trina Meek of the Eclectic Art Gallery. The full stories were published The Source.

Did you or someone you know grow up playing in the Town Brook? Have any family history along Mauvaisterre Creek? Or do you know a really good yarn? You can submit your story by clicking the history tab.