Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

07 June, 2017

Up on Starkweather Creek

Starkweather Creek forms much of the western border of the Eastmorland neighborhood. Indeed, the creek at one time formed part of the eastern city limits. Most shoreline north of Milwaukee Street looks to be private property. Shoreline south of it appears to be mostly city-owned.

I’ll be honest and say that whenever I hear or see the name of the creek, I almost always think of the Starkweather Moore Expedition.


On a recent walk along the eastern shore of the creek I thought about a particular Kansas song upon seeing evidence of Castor Canadensis - “Release the Beavers”, which you can hear live this autumn when the band comes to town. (You are welcome, the marketing division of the Overture Center.)

My Frau and I also saw various and sundry wildlife scenes which the phone on my camera and I were simply not able to capture sufficiently. For instance, we caught a turtle sunning itself on a rock on the far shore; and ducks seems to enjoy the intersection of Starkweather Drive and Leon Street. Mainly, though, wildlife made its presence known by their sounds – birds and frogs, mostly. It is very quiet on the creek’s shoreline with Olbrich Park separating you from Atwood Avenue to the south and the abandoned Garver Feed Mill on the opposite shore.

Starkweather Drive ends at Dawes Street and becomes a bicycle path leading into (O.B.) Sherry Park.

According to Historic Madison, Inc.:

Leon Park, also known as Lansing Park, was renamed O. B. Sherry Park in 1974 in honor of Orven B. Sherry, a Madison real estate dealer, who donated land for the park’s expansion that eliminated Willow Street and the eastern portion of Thorp Street. Wayne Street was reduced to a remnant that is now so short there is only room for one house on one side of the street.

You can see the original street layout of the area in this map from 1943.

And here is the lone remaining remnant of Wayne Street. All 20 feet or so of it:

Notice on the map that Harding Street was much lengthier back then. Not only did it go south to Atwood Avenue, but also east. The southern portion became Walter Street and I presume the latter section was 86d when the schools were built. Also note that Sargent Street was Grand View Street back then.

The blurb above makes it sound like there has been a park at the current site of Sherry Park. I wonder if any homes were demolished on Thorp, Willow, and Wayne Streets. Oh, and Starkweather Drive too. It occurs to me that getting rid of Thorp Street explains that island of grass at the intersection of Leon and Milwaukee. There’s the sidewalk along Milwaukee but another one closer to the house at 1 Leon. Thorp must have gone through the trees that now form the park’s northern border.

Here is the park:

There are some old trees in the park which must surely pre-date the removal of the streets such as this quadro-trunk. Or is it a tri-trunk?

The bike path goes across the creek and over to Ivy Street. Swallows love to chase each other underneath the bridge. Here I am looking north with Milwaukee Street in the distance.

And here’s the view south with the western branch of the creek heading off to the right.

Down by the intersection of Hargrove Street and Starkweather Drive, there are a couple paths into the woods which lead to the railroad tracks. There are 3 bridges in short succession which would send a Jungian into spasms of interpretive overload.

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|| Palmer, 2:13 PM


neato! thanks for finding the old map of what is now the park.
Blogger Unknown, at 4:26 PM  
^ that was me, btw
Anonymous bekee, at 4:36 PM  
You're welcome. Do you folks use the park or the bike paths? The field looks disused. Ever see people there?
Blogger Palmer, at 6:09 PM  
we take the dogs over there sometimes, tho they're not allowed. but, there's no organized sports or anything. i suppose i like it that way :)

i have started running and my route takes me that direction, so i appreciate the history.
Anonymous bekee, at 6:45 PM  

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