It’s a modest little stream that begins in the woods northeast of town. As it flows to the southwest it parallels Valley Street and skirts the southern ends of Academy and Church Streets. (Its entire length is highlighted in green on the map.)
In earlier years it was a popular site—parts of it were sometimes ponded up to make a swimming pool or baptismal font—but today it is barely noticed as it wends its way through the undergrowth. You might get a glimpse of the creek as you drive over it on the approach to Church Street. Or you could reach it from Academy or Valley Street by wading through a tangle of brush and weeds.
Before the 1960s the portion of the creek circled in red was accessible or visible from the various bridges that were built across the deep chasm at its lower end. You could look down and see where it emptied into the river just downstream from the River Street bridge. But once the bypass was completed in the late ‘60s the creek literally dropped out of sight—and out of mind.
But it’s still there, of course, flowing through the thicket of trees at the base of the steep embankment by the busy highway—no man’s land—and then through a large culvert under the Shelby Highway turnoff.
If you must see the mouth of the stream, go along the pedestrian walkway to about the midpoint of the river bridge. Be careful, vehicles will be whizzing by. Look for a break in traffic and run across the road to the east side of the bridge (the downstream side), and look down. Quickly now, a car is coming!
Or better yet, to avoid becoming road kill, Don’t go there. Just look at the photo.
Photo by Reno Bailey