My Town Monday: Ore Creek

Ore Creek runs through downtown Brighton. It was on this little waterway that the first mill– the start of the town– was built. The mill included a dam, creating the Mill Pond.

The Mill Pond in the 1970s. Brighton’s Bicentennial.

The Mill Pond still exists, but the mill is long gone. But at the end of the Mill Pond, along Main Street, the water leaves the Mill Pond.

But where does it go? Beyond Main Street there is only shops and restaurants, a parking lot…

The Mill Pond drains under Main Street and for twenty-some years that’s all I knew. I always wondered…

Well, one of the advantages to being an independent adult (the jury’s still out on “grown up”) is that I drive myself there and try to answer these questions. So, I parked in downtown Brighton and started my exploration. It didn’t take long to find where the water came out.

Ore Creek’s current path is under one of the downtown parking lots. Under the shops and restaurants.

The tall building peak in the center of the photo is the old Town Hall, which sits on the banks of the Mill Pond. This photo is taken from North Street, about a block South of the Mill Pond.

This is where the creek emerges on the other side into a normal stream bed. It winds through trees and grasses and wetlands. I don’t think it’s more than a foot or so deep at it’s deepest, less at some points.

Once upon a time, the parking lot was the ‘mill race’. It was open, running water with only a bridge and the mill. (Th tallest building, in the center, is the Yum Yum Tree, next door to the Old Town Hall, which didn’t make it into this pic.)

After leaving the parking lot, Ore Creek curves around and sneaks under the CSX (formerly C&O) railroad.

The area is wooded and kind of desolate. I had to hike down the railroad tracks (all the while thinking of the scene from the movie Friend Green Tomatoes where Buddy gets it.)

I climbed down the really, really steep embankment, envisioning myself sliding to a painful crumpled heap at the bottom.

There were signs of other humans having made their way into the brush, so now I was imagining ambush by some homeless person or some rowdy delinquent youth. In reality, nothing happened. I took some photos and climbed back up. See why I became a writer… it’s so I can do something productive with all these scenarios that pop into my head.

Quite a difference in the way the CSX bridge over Ore Creek looks today compared with what it was some hundred years ago. Smaller trees. One of those rare instances where today is MORE treed than back then.

Ore Creek meanders it’s way into Brighton Lake and onwards, eventually joining up with the Huron River.

And now I know what happens to the water from the Mill Pond.

Sometimes I think it would be cool to take a boat and flashlight through the tunnel…

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