By Cora Lee Lacey

You want stories about “THE OLDE TOWNE BROOKE”? I’m 85 years old and the neighborhood kids and I played down there. I lived at the end of south Prairie St & Chambers. My grandpa was head dairyman at the State Hospital when they had their own cows.

This day we were catching little garter snakes. Since I was the only girl I got to carry the jar with the snakes in it. Once I stepped on one to keep it from getting away. It turned around & bit me on the ankle. We went to a near-by house & asked for some medicine to put on it. There were tiny tooth makes on my ankle. We took them home with us for lunch and would tie strings around their “necks” and tie them up so they’d be there after we finished lunch. Were they still there? I forget!!

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.