history of the forest
The Line Creek Valley has a storied history and incredible natural resources. The creek was named Line Creek because it was the line between Missouri and Native American Territory until the Platte Purchase. Early settlements and primitive roads connected the towns of Barry, Parkville, and Linden. As industrialization occurred, the area was served by the St. Joseph-Kansas City Interurban Railroad, which brought the towns of Northern Heights and Miltonwood in the early 1900’s.
The northern end of the valley was once a resort stop on the Interurban line, and Drennon Lake was a private lake where people would pay to fish or camp. As reflected in the map of the Kansas City region in Mid America Regional Council’s Natural Resource Inventory, the proposed conservation area is the largest cluster of original growth forest still in private ownership within the I -435 freeway loop. Aerials from 1964 show the valley and how forested it was over 40 years ago. (Excerpt from The Line Creek Conservation Area report.)
THE INTERURBAN RAILROAD
Between 1919-1930 the "Interurban" (an electric railroad line) passed through the area as it ran from Kansas City to St. Joseph. The Drennon stop was in the Line Creek Forest. Parts of the Line Creek Trail follow the old track, and you can still see sections of railway bed in the forest today.
The Line Creek Valley is home to several archaeological sites from a Native American presence mainly between 1,000 BC to 750 AD.
From the Riverside website: "Around the Middle and Late Archaic Periods of 4000-5000 BC, the Nebo Hill People lived on the bluffs that flank the Missouri River while fishing with bone hooks and hunting deer, birds and rabbits. The Black Sand Culture of Early Woodland Period in 1000 BC, were known for their distinctive incised pottery and settled in the Line Creek Valley. The so-called Hopewell culture built the largest Mound Builder community west of the Mississippi in the Line Creek area around 300 BC."
Artifacts and relics related to Native Americans who lived near Line Creek have been found in the area.
Although the Park Hill School District did not do an archeological survey in advance of their first project (Hopewell Elementary, named after the Hopewell Culture), at our urging, they did conduct an archeological survey for the remaining development projects and artifacts were recovered.