Neighbors: Historic creek place for fun and home to critters
Today, let's take a peek at a creek: Snakey Creek, that is, which runs under 15th Avenue North in Moorhead by the American Crystal Sugar beet plant into the Red River.MIke O'Day, Dilworth, writes Neighbors of his and his pals' adventures along th...
Today, let's take a peek at a creek: Snakey Creek, that is, which runs under 15th Avenue North in Moorhead by the American Crystal Sugar beet plant into the Red River.
MIke O'Day, Dilworth, writes Neighbors of his and his pals' adventures along the creek when they were growing up in north Moorhead.
"Around 1960," Mike says, "most north side boys visited, explored and enjoyed all the wildlife at Snakey Creek for years.
"My friends and I would take our bows and arrows to the fields way out by the sloughs, set up targets and practice shooting. There also was a rod and gun club facility right next to the sugar beet plant where, when we got a bit older, we would fire our .22 rifles."
Concerning the wildlife around the creek, Mike says that there were redwing blackbirds which made nests 10 yards apart in the 10-foot tall cattail reeds, and were "singing away."
"There were meadowlarks all along Highway 75. They'd build their nests on the ground and would sing, too.
"Crayfish would be living in the water; one could pick them up, but carefully; they were about 5-to-6 inches long. They had two front pinchers for defense and eating. Some had bright purple eggs under their tails; they would flip their tails and scoot backwards to get away.
"We caught giant bullfrogs in the area where the storage units are now, by the railroad tracks; they were a foot long!
"Big milkweed plants grew along the railroad tracks going north along Highway 75. Monarch caterpillars would feed on these plants; they'd make a cocoon that was a beautiful turquoise color with gold stitching that would hatch into the beautiful butterflies. We would put the caterpillars in jars (and punch holes in the lid) along with milkweed plants. Then when the day came, we'd spend hours watching the butterflies 'unfold' their wings. dry out and fly away. What joy that was!
The Bee Men
"Two brothers lived in a shack on the corner of 17th Street next to Snakey Creek," Mike says. "We called them the 'Bee Men' because they had a large number of beehives right next to their shack. They drove a Model A pickup. They told me Florida became their home when the cold of winter hit. Does anyone know who these brothers were?
"There also was a big tree by the Bee Men's shack. That huge tree kind of fell apart over the years. It was gone a long time ago.
"Other critters I've seen at Snakey Creek," Mike says, "were red fox, weasles, muskrats, snipes (birds), great horned owls, tadpoles from frogs and toads and minnows. It seems to me the mosquitoes weren't such a problem back then because the tadpoles swimming in the creek would eat the mosquito larva.
"Now Canadian geese gather at Snakey Creek, and I saw an otter family there last summer as well as a fox, deer, a snowy owl and an osprey bird.
"And ducks. I remember the Speaker boys, Donny, Darrel and Doug, showing me a box that contained baby ducks with mud balls on their webbed feet. The baby ducks couldn't walk or swim, so the Speaker boys soaked and washed the mud off and returned them to their parents. Cool!"
"Snakey Creek was and is part of our north side history to many a boy and girl growing up in the '60s and '70s," Mike, 68, says, "and I still see kids exploring at the creek these days. What a great place to remember all the beauty of nature!"
By the way, Mike's father and uncle were Moorhead police officers when he was growing up.
Now Mike has a request: "I wish the City of Moorhead would put a sign that says 'Snakey Creek' like other towns do which have such a historic creek running through the country and city." Over to you, city of Moorhead.
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