Channel Cat Tales: Water Shapes How We Play
Bridgeport Leader June 12, 1969 Red Hills State Park Has Beauty and Historic Crossroad
Hickory trees, oaks, sycamores, maples, gums, poplars, butternuts, river birch, persimmon, crab and other wild apple trees are abundant at the Red Hills State Park, which is virtually in Bridgeport’s backyard.
The 948 acres of high wooded land has excellently marked camping sites, large picnic areas wielding tables and camp stoves, and a 40 acre lake, having 2 ½ miles of shoreline that is also encircled by a bituminous surface road.
Stocked with a large mouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and bull heads, the lake proves a fisherman’s paradise.
This partially accounts for about 4200 campers who will utilize the facilities and enjoy the natural beauty the park has to offer. Of course, there will also be fishermen, boaters, picnickers, sightseers and diners at the Lakeside restaurant who will greatly supplement the small figure.
Tranquility for the fisherman is maintained particularly because no outboard motors are permitted, although boat owners with electric motors may use them. Launching facilities and docking space are available for these privately owned boats. There are boat docks where rental boats may be obtained.
The areas name comes from the peak known as Red Hill, formally called King’s Hill which is the highest elevation between Cincinnati and St. Louis south of Springfield. It is topped with a tower and cross which is used annually as a place for Easter sunrise services and for worship service by all denominations each Sunday evening during June, July, August, and September.
The park is an important historic crossroad because here is the western edge of the first land in Illinois ceded by the Indians to the United States government. The Southwest to Southeast borderline was set by General ‘Mad’ Anthony Wayne in 1795 at Greenville, Ohio with the Indians whereby they relinquished all claims to the land northwest of the Ohio River and east of a certain specified line.
The western boundary of this area, which was called the Vincennes tract ,may be seen running through the park by decided jogs that definitely correspond to the original survey line.
A few roving bands of Winnebago, Miami, Pottawatomie and Shawnee Indians remained in this territory until 1818 in spite of the territory treaty.
The lake of about 40 acres which is the point of Muddy Creek, a tributary of the Embarras River, is formed by a dam constructed in 1954 in the South part of the park. It provides the lake with water from a drainage area of 618 acres. This is the first Illinois lake largely built from funds, about $70,000 obtained through the federal excise tax on fishing equipment.