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Lower Howard’s Creek Trek
January 28, 2006
Photos By Jim and Kathy Cummings
Special thanks to Clare Sipple (our tour guide) Executive Director of the Lower Howard’s Creek Nature and Heritage Preserve
The view from on top. Clare Sipple tells the trekers that from here on it will be like rolling back the clock to the 1780’s.
Stone walls on the preserve are being restored with grant money.
The area around Lower Howard’s Creek became a heavily settled area because of the creek.
John Martin built a gristmill in 1786. Some of the remains are still visible. The remains of the house where John and Rachel Martin raised their 13 children is being restored by the LHCN&HP
Stone was quarried from around the area for many of the structures. Other mills spring up in the area and soon lumber, flour and textiles were being produced. Above Scott Romine and Gordon Garrett are seen standing along the remains of the mill. The stone building was dry-laid limestone (no mortar) and was still operating in the early 1900’s. With the emergence of the steam engine the need to build close to a water way such as Lower Howard’s Creek diminished. The newer roads totally bypassed the creek area in favor of easier routes and the homes and buildings were abandoned. In addition to the building restoration the LHCH&NP is involved in protection of the unique ecology of the valley.
Restoration of the Martin home. While this structure is being worked on the stages of it’s development are clearly visable. The first section was a small log house. As the family grew and prospered the stone sections were added. A family cemetary is located nearby. Another stone structure is at the rear of the house but its original use has not yet been determined.
Re-enactors were in a contemplative mood, in awe of both the landscape and the story of the early settlers that lived and worked and raised their families along this creek.
As beautiful as it was, Clare Sipple told us that to really appreciate the beauty of the area - it should be seen in all it’s seasons. So look for another trek to Lower Howard’s Creek in either the spring or fall. For more information see the Lower Howard’s Creek website. The preserve is available to visitors only by contacting the management of the Preserve.