Deer Creek Park is at former site of creamery

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 25, 2007

By Ed Shannon, staff writer

DEER CREEK &8212; Winning grand champion honors at the Freeborn County Fair and advancing to the Minnesota State Fair for further judging is the Community Pride project created by members of the Myrtle

4-H Club. And what this club has created during the past two years is a new park between Deer Creek and the former site of the State Line Creamery in London Township.

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What&8217;s now designated as Deer Creek Park consists of a grassy area with two large brick rings and two wooden picnic tables. One of the rings is intended for campfires. The second larger ring has a raised center created with decorative stones and filled with flowers and other plants donated by club members and their parents.

The tan bricks used for these rings came from the former chimney of the creamery. When this building was demolished in 2004, the wood portion was burned and the chimney bricks were left in a pile. In 2005 the decision was made by rhe Myrtle 4-H&8217;ers to clean up the bricks to remove the old mortar and start creating the park as their Community Pride project.

Around the outside of the two rings is a border of red bricks that were purchased for this purpose. Also, several red bricks were used to create the 4-H symbol in the larger ring.

&8220;There&8217;s more to come,&8221; was the comment of Phil Cooper, one of the adult leaders of this project. Among the future additions proposed to the park are a fence along the roadway and work to clear away rhe brush and small trees along the bank of the nearby creek to the west of the park area.

&8220;This is a work in progress to create a neighborhood picnic place,&8221; Cooper added.

The park area is actually owned by Mike Rohne, a member of a family who has been a part of the Deer Creek community for over a century. He has given permission for the Myrtle 4-H&8217;ers to create this park and to even to mow the grass.

&8220;It&8217;s something for the community and I&8217;m happy to see it,&8221; Rohne said.

The pioneer and now nearly forgotten community of Deer Creek is located in Section 33 of London Township. It&8217;s clearly marked on county maps and is about six miles east of Gordonsville and also six miles southeast of Myrtle.

This county community is just to the west of Deer Creek Valley Lutheran Church on a gravel road that designates the state line between Iowa and Minnesota. Thus, the south portion is marked as 510th Street and is in Worth County, Iowa. The north side of this road in Freeborn County is designated as the State Line Road.

Deer Creek as a community started about 1875. By 1900 it had a church, creamery, general store with post office, tin shop and hardware, blacksmith, harness and shoe repair shop, at least six known family homes, and District 59 School in Section 29 about a mile away. The general store was located on the Iowa side. On the Minnesota side was the creamery built in 1893, then destroyed by fire in 1906 and soon rebuilt. This firm known as the State Line Creamery specialized in making butter and later cheese making.

Just when the Iowa store ceased operations isn&8217;t known. The creamery on the Minnesota side was an active part of the two-state farming community until 1967. Both buildings were still in Deer Creek when the late Bidney Bergie visited the locality to take several photos. The store and the main creamery building with its chimney have since been torn down. Yet, a part of the creamery which looks like a large garage is still standing to protect the well which has been supplying water for the nearby church since 1955. The water line from the well to the church goes under Freeborn County Road 32. And it&8217;s the bricks from the chimney which were used by the Myrtle

4-H Club to create the rings which now serve as the centerpieces of the new park.

Information furnished by Sharon Davis said Wal-Mart Stores contributed money for this project. Specifically mentioned were Deer Creek Construction, Deer Creek Valley Lutheran Church, Southern Minnesota Landscaping, Waste Systems. Davis Excavating,

Allan Rohne Family, Mike Rohne family

and &8220;many Myrtle 4-H families which gave generously of their time, talent and skills.&8221;

A summary of

this Community Pride project said, &8220;The Deer Creek Park was a great opportunity for our youth and adults to work together towards a common goal. We are very fortunate to have adult leaders and parents who care about the youth in the club and our community. They were very generous with their time, talents, equipment and materials and worked hard to ensure that the project belonged to the kids &8212; and made the experience for the kids fun and enriching.

&8220;The Deer Creek Park was utilized for the first time on July 29. Deer Creek Valley Lutheran Church (members) and neighboring families gathered for an evening of great food and relaxation. The comments from members of the community made us proud that we were able to contribute to making our community a better place. It is our hope that many years of enjoyment will be experienced at the park.&8221;