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Buchanan's McCoy Creek project unearths Michiana history

BUCHANAN, Mich. – Now that the dam near the intersection of Front Street and Red Bud Trail in Buchanan is gone and McCoy Creek is running freely, some pieces of Michiana history are being uncovered.

Scott King with Friends of McCoy Creek has been working with dozens of volunteers to clear out trash and other debris being uncovered as the flowing water moves silt from the creek bed.  They’re working to build barriers to create ripples in the creek that will help oxygenate the water and make it a habitat for fish and hopefully a hot spot for fishing.

"What we're trying to do is restore the stream so it's great for the trout and salmon to live and the ducks and the wildlife around it to not have to eat and survive in a lot of garbage," King explained.

Indeed, they have found quite a bit of garbage, everything from old signs to old shirts.  The teams have filled dozens of garbage bags with the debris they’ve found in what used to be the bottom of a duck pond.

“We found some whitewall tires, we found a couple shovels, we found bike tires, we found old bottles and cans,” described King.  “We found a lot of glass, a lot of like hand blown glass bottles."

Some of the bottles they’ve found have a lot of history.  In just two-minutes of cleaning on Thursday King found an old bottle from the Muessel Brewing Company which used to operate in South Bend.  He also found a vintage Coca Cola Bottle that was produced in St. Joseph, Michigan. 

Research has shown that some of the bottles must be at least 100-years-old.  The coke bottle, for instance, likely dates back to years prior to 1916.

“This has been a repository, people either throwing it away and not thinking of the consequences,” King explained.  “Or as the creek pulls stuff down from upstream depositing it in this old duck pond.”

King said it is pretty interesting to be finding so many pieces of Buchanan’s past while working on a project to help the city move forward.

"Buchanan's got a rich history, we also have to look at the present and the future,” he said.  “We want to make sure that it's ready for tourists to come in and enjoy and have a great experience here in Buchanan."

For now King is collecting the old bottles and other artifacts he finds.

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