Indian Creek History

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A Brief History of Indian Creek Subdivision

by Ron Parsons

 

< - Indian Creek in 1978 (see larger photo below)

Indian Creek is located two miles due north of Towanda on the east side of County Road 1900 and is completely contained within section 29 of Money Creek Township. It is roughly 200 acres and contains about 90 homes.

The area that we know as Indian Creek subdivision was covered by a glacier about 12-15,000 years ago during the last ice age that created the Bloomington Moraine.  As the ice receded it created a number of drainage rivers and Indian Creek was on the banks of one of these in what geologists call an "area of discontinuity". This explains why well water was so elusive when the subdivision was created. There were six test wells created and they all had a wide range of characteristics including depth and quality of potable water.

More recent history of this land included occupation by Pottawatomie and Kickapoo Indians up until about 1830. The area around Money Creek was a campground. A longtime resident of Towanda, Lyle Merritt, has found more than forty arrowheads in this area.

The original owner of most of Indian Creek was a family named Moates (several family members are buried in the Zion-Bishop Cemetery located just south of the subdivision). They occupied the land after it was surveyed in the 1830s. Later the Underwood family owned the property for nearly 50 years. The Underwoods had a log cabin which was located just north and east of the current water tower. During the first half of the 20th century, this area was known by local residents as "the campground". Even more recently most of the property was owned by a veterinarian named Wainscott along with the Rudisill, Slagel, Sachs and Funk families. Up until the 1960s there was a wiggle in Road 1900E near the water tower in order to go around the settlement of the First United Brethren Church in Illinois. The original church was torn down in 1911 near where a marker currently exists next to the water tower. The church was actually on the west side of the original road 1900.

ic1940

A partnership consisting of lawyer Leon Zanoni, realtor Paul Ball, and banker Jerry Gummere bought the property for development in the late 1970s with Peoples Bank as trustee. At that time, the area generally bounded by 1900E and Candle Ridge Road was tillable farm land. The part on the other side of Money Creek where Bent Tree Lane is located was pasture land up to 10 Bent Tree Lane. Beyond that point was mostly virgin woodland. When the back part of Indian Creek was surveyed by Farnsworth and Wyle, there was no bridge across Money Creek .  Access was gained by a path beginning at the extreme southwest corner of the common ground and fording Money Creek at a shallow rock bottom point just north of where a long I-beam used as a footbridge existed. The bridge across Money Creek was built in 1979.

Not only was the interest rate hike in the 1970s an impediment to development and sales, there was also a delay in zoning applications caused by local farmers fearing that this subdivision would drain the water to the extent that the water table would lower. Their basis for this logic was a well publicized situation in neighboring northwestern Indiana that received national attention where a large corporate farm (now known as Fair Oaks Dairy Farm) had dug a deep well and considerably lowered the water table to the extent that local farmers could no longer find water at any level and to this day many very old trees are dead within sight of I-65 alongside the farm. Geology studies proved that our situation was not close to the Fair Oaks debacle. First, Fair Oaks draws more than 10 times the water that Indian Creek does. Second, geology of Fair Oaks is considerably different. It lies on an immense underground water source. We are on the edge of a glacial moraine with unpredictable water patterns. Our developers looked into us hooking up with the water supply running from Lake Bloomington to Bloomington-Normal, but the cost was considered prohibitive at the time.

The original plans for Indian Creek called for three tennis courts to be located on the common ground between 6 Eastwood and Money Creek. In the late 1970s interest rates were climbing and reached near 18% by 1980. The lots were not selling well and the tennis court plans were abandoned as the partnership broke up.

The first home built and occupied was at 2 Timber Creek Court in 1979 by the W. Charles and Lana Trickett family. The first home occupied in the back part was at 7 Bent Tree Lane and was owned by Bob and Carolyn Bouck in 1980.

 A few words are in order to help explain some names in Indian Creek.  Indian Creek is a euphemism for Money Creek.  Obviously, the name Indian comes from the aforementioned tribes that once inhabited the area. The street known as Eastwood Court is named after a farm family that once farmed a part of the subdivision and still farm ground to the north and east of the subdivision.

Bent Tree Lane gets its name from a stately old Maple tree that died in the mid 1990's at 14 Bent Tree Lane. The bend in Bent Tree Lane around 7 Bent Tree Lane was not on the original plans. The developers were desperate to sell lots and Bob Bouck agreed to buy only if his lot could have more frontage. Also, the first plans called for houses only on one side of Bent Tree Lane beyond 10 Bent Tree Lane. The developers wanted more lots and demanded a road down the middle. The result is that there are drainage issues on the back part of Bent Tree Lane. There was a gravel pit on the east side of Bent Tree around 12 to 14 Bent Tree Lane.

The first Homeowners Board consisted of Bob Bouck, Pete Ingham, Tim Donaldson , Ben Daily,  and Ron Parsons.

This picture was take in October, 1978, one year before the bridge was built across Money Creek.  The focus is facing in a southwest direction and the camera was on what is now 4 Bent Tree Lane.  Bent Tree Lane was later paved on a course generally following the path shown.  The children are Kathy and Jeff Parsons.  The lack of underbrush is explained by the fact that this area was used as pasture land for cattle.

Approximately the same location today, from Parson's yard.
Bent Tree Lane is on the other side of the trees.

 

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This page was last updated Wednesday February 15, 2012.