Everglades of the North
|What I imagine the great Kankakee Marsh looking like this time of year....taken at the Kankakee State Wetlands|
The "everglades" refer to the vast inland Kankakee marsh that once extended from the western regions of Saint Joseph and Marshall Counties westward to the state line following the watershed area created by the Kankakee River. The stories about this area are fascinating. Isolated islands of oak trees on sand bluffs called oak savannas filled the marsh. Vast wetlands filled with waterfowl would "blot out the sun" when lifting off en mass. Hunters and trappers used the area from prehistoric times into the first decade of the 20th century. These included presidents and tycoons who came to well-established hunting lodges along the Kankakee.
And then man felt that they needed many more acres of less-than-marginal farmground for production and the great dredge began. The land went dry. The wildlife left. And the lodges became shuttered as the huntsmen became as rare as the game they sought.
|C. 1880 map of Newton County, Indiana showing Beaver Lake|
|The sole reminder of Beaver Lake and Bogus Island, on U.S. 41|