Buck Creek was home to Indians and pioneers. The land at the time of early settlement was mostly forested by large trees with minimal undergrowth.
Occasionally, the forests were interrupted by prairie openings.
In 1780, George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary war hero, led a band of nearly 1,000 Kentuckians in a raid against Ohio Indians. The Shawnee Indians abandoned their camp which they called Old Chillicothe (near Xenia) and fled to Piqua, the Shawnee capital, located west of the present site of Springfield. Clark pursued the fleeing Indians, and the Shawnee were defeated at the Battle of Piqua. Most of the Indians, however, had dispersed into the woodlands. One Indian hiding in the woods was the young Tecumseh, who vowed to avenge the attack. Following the battle, Clark's men retreated to their homes in Kentucky and the Indians moved north. A new Piqua was erected on the banks of the Miami River. This battle put a temporary end to Indian warfare.
With the decline of Indian threat, settlers moved into the area. In 1799, legendary frontiersman Simon Kenton settled in the region with six other Kentucky families. The group lived near the confluence of Buck Creek and Mad River. After two years, the settlers moved to different areas. Kenton established a home along Buck Creek about four miles north of present Springfield. Settlement brought change to the area as trees were cut to construct buildings. Acres were cleared and farm crops were planted. The settlers found the land extremely fertile.
The community of Springfield was founded in 1801 and has served since then as the county seat of Clark County. In 1838, the National Road (U.S. 40) reached Springfield and this opened new markets for manufacturing and agriculture. Over the years, Springfield's character changed from rural to industrial. By 1880, the community led the nation in the manufacturing of agricultural implements.
In September 1966, work was started by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to impound Buck Creek as a flood control project. In 1974, the Clarence J. Brown Dam and Reservoir were dedicated and an agreement gave the Ohio Department of Natural Resources the operation of much of the area.
Purpose and Project History
C.J. Brown Dam and Reservoir was designed and built by the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake serves as a unit of the comprehensive plan for the Ohio River Basin to effect reduction in flood stages downstream from the dam. The lake provides water supply storage and will operate to augment natural low-flow conditions downstream of the dam in the interest water quality control. The Corps of Engineers conducts an active natural resource management program to preserve natural areas and to provide suitable habitat for native fish and wildlife. Many recreational opportunities abound.
The project was authorized by the Congress of the United States in the Flood Control Act of 1962 (Public Law 87-874, 87th Congress). Construction began in September of 1966 and was delayed for three years between 1968 and 1971. Most of the work was completed in the fall of 1974. The project was dedicated officially on September 15, 1974.
Area History and Points of Interest
C.J. Brown Dam and Reservoir offers a variety of recreational, cultural and natural resources for you to enjoy. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources manages Buck Creek State Park with an array of recreational opportunities.
The Corps of Engineers offers The C.J. Brown Dam and Reservoir Visitor Center, picnic facilities including two reservable picnic shelters, nature trails, fishing access and a restored native prairie.
Two unique prairie fen wetland areas area located at C.J. Brown. ODNR, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves leases and manages Prairie Road Fen and Crabill Fen Preserves which may be visited by permit only.
C.J. Brown offers a glimpse of the area's past. The David Crabill House, built around 1830, was acquired by the Corps during acquisition of land for construction of the reservoir. The Clark County Historical Society accepted stewardship of the house and eight acres through a lease agreement with the Corps. The house is listed on the Department of Interior National Register of Historic Places.