Friday, April 20, 2007
Waterways Project: Salt Creek
Oil Pastel on Cason paper
Fullersburg woods was purchased in 1920 as part of the New Deal Program established by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established on the site in 1934 while the workers built several bridges and buildings on the site. Local lime stone was used to contain some of its banks and to build the bridges that criss- cross the creek.
During unregulated use through the middle of the century, the site had degraded. Now boating and large group parties are no longer allowed and the land is recovering. Some parts of the park could really use a controlled burn as the undergrowth looks substantial but with all the residences that border the park, it seems unlikely that anyone will follow up on this.
The Graue Mill, established in 1852 by Frederick Graue ground corn and wheat grown by local farmers into the beginning of the 20th century. It is restored today and on the day we visited, Reneactors from the Civil War set up tents and cooking fires and brought along all their war gear. This particular group goes out every other weekend to play their sophisticated games of Civil War life and times. It was really cold on the day we visited and these people were bundled up in period costume woolens. The kids seemed perfectly happy.
The Salt Creek, which runs through the property, mostly lazily meanders around a bit. But by the Mill however, the elevation changes and a few small, white rapids appear. The creek has just enough power at its low time to turn the mill wheel. The Creek used to be called the East Bank of the Des Plaines River and I have yet to find out why it's called Salt Creek. Maybe there are salt deposits here. Something to check out. We have been here in previous years when the water level reached the bottom of the bridge and the whole park has been closed due to flooding. On this day, the water was tame and fairly low.
I'm re-posting this sketchbook piece after adding a bit of colored pencil. I'd like to do a larger painting of this nearly dead tree. It was such a contrast to the spring green popping out all over the woods.