The Legend of Buck's Pond LbNA # 32347
|Placed Date||Jun 29 2007|
|Last Update||Aug 9 2013|
Lodge Park, like the nearby small town of Lodge, is named after William Franklin Lodge, and is a part of the Piatt County Forest Preserve. It is located approximately 20 miles southwest of Champaign, Illinois. The nearest town is Monticello which is about half way between Champaign-Urbana and Decatur just off I-72. Buck’s Pond is what the local’s call the west side of Lodge Park. Railroad tracks and a small river divide the park.
Buck’s Pond doesn't always have water in it, and sometimes looks like a clearing, or when I first saw it (back in the mid 1950’s as a young Boy Scout), hard, dried mud chips, and smelling of dead fish.
Nevertheless, it sometimes is a pond.
And it has a legend.
In the main part of the area, just off the small gravel parking lot defined by a wooden, split-rail fence, is a small hill on which is located a big rock, set on a platform of cement. On the rock is a bronze plaque where the legend is recorded. Here are the words on that plaque:
"THE LEGEND OF BUCK’S POND
Two Indian maidens, Chesita and Manasua, came with their tribe (The Delawares) after the Battle of Tippecanoe to the camp of Kickapoos on the Sangamon River. Both maidens fell in love with a young chief of the Delawares. Twins were born to Chesita, and according to Indian law, if they lived through the day, the young chief became the husband of the mother. But during the day the babies were found murdered. Manasua was convicted of the murder, and sentenced to die by stoning…"
That's only half of the legend on that stone, but I won’t spoil it for you. You can read it in its entirety as you search for the legend’s letterbox.
To get started:
Go WEST from Champaign or EAST from Decatur on I-72, and take Exit 169. Turn WEST (LEFT) at the stop sign. Note your mileage. Follow the main road as it curves from west to south (it becomes Old Route 47). When you’ve gone about 1.8 miles, turn RIGHT onto Crybaby Bridge Road. (There is a white on green sign on the right. If you miss the turn, you’ll encounter the main entrance to Lodge Park on your right.)
Turn LEFT onto Bucks Pond Road. Turn LEFT to stay on Bucks Pond Road. Turn LEFT to stay on Bucks Pond Road (sign here: "1965N").
The entrance is a narrow gravel road on your left guarded by two tall concrete pillars that say “Lodge Park.” Follow it (straight, not to the left) down to the small parking area at the bottom of the hill. NOTE: If there is a gate barring the entrance with “Closed to Vehicles” then park there, walk around the gate and down the hill – less than .2 of a mile. The “Pond” is in the area just beyond the trees in front of you.
NEW: Walk to the opening in the fence on the right (as you entered the parking area). Standing in that opening, with your back to the trash barrel, you should see a very large, two-trunked Basswood Tree approximately 20 feet in front of you. The Legend of Buck's Pond letterbox is now at the base of that tree, between the two trunks, under some wood pieces. Beware of things with thorns, poison ivy, and do try not to make a path to the tree too obvious for the casual observer.
You may stamp in here, or take the box with you as you visit the tombstone, located along the trail away from the parking lot, starting from the opening you were in. Looking to your right, up the hill, you'll see the stone with the legend's entirety. A good place to stamp, and the starting place to locate the second in the Buck's Pond Legend series.
Visit the stone and read the legend. (And learn what really happened to Manasua, and who "Buck" was. A photo opportunity.)
Remembering this location is largely river bottom, depending on the season, I recommend long trousers (poison ivy and stinging nettles) and mosquito repellant.