Anatomy of Cherry Creek

As always, click on any image to see it full-sized. CTRL-click will open the image in a separate browser tab.

01cherrycrksourceIt’s the only water course of significance between Crutcho Creek on the east and Crooked Oak Creek on the west (we’ll do Crooked Oak soon). There is no apparent reason for calling it Cherry Creek, since no cherries grow anywhere in this area. At any rate, it’s a minor stream that we can cover in one post, though it took two days to shoot because something interfered with the process.02cherrycrkbirth The source is a fairly high ridge just north of SE 67th near Bryant Avenue. In this image, the creek starts somewhere off to the left and above the patch of woods on the back lot of a drilling outfit. While there is a tinhorn running under this backroad, the creek itself doesn’t take shape until far below this slight elevation. The second image here (above right) shows a broad open draw where rain would run down from either side and into the center background of the picture.03cherrycrkse59th

It’s not until a half-mile downstream that it looks anything like a creek, where it runs under SE 59th (image right). This was taken Saturday and there must have been a bike ride or race, because dozens of cyclists on expensive road bikes came sailing by in little groups, heading west of SE 59th. I received some cordial greetings, of course.04cherrycrkbryant Just a short distance around the corner and north on Bryant, the creek tumbles out of an undeveloped field into this concrete culvert. This thing parallels Bryant running northward for more than a half-mile.05cherrycrkse44th At that point it swings back east behind an old strip mall and a battered apartment complex. Where it hits SE 44th the water was stagnant and smelled like sewage lying in the bottom of a very wide culvert.

06cherrycrkhartsdaleJust across the street on the north side of SE 44th is the Hartsdell district, where the creek is labeled for the first time. It is notorious for flooding enough to surge into some of the homes on either side once every few years. That school house on the right has gotten wet a few times; it’s a ratty old building belonging to OKC Schools, and my first few experiences with substitute teaching after coming home from the military took place there (1993).07hartsdaleend Cherry Creek runs like this, splitting Hartsdell until it drops off into a natural bed where the double street stops unceremoniously. It runs through some woods and out into an open field with nothing but an oil well sitting in it.08twdse29th You can just make out the heavy foliage in the bottom of the creek bed (image left).

09awayfromse29thJust across the street is the monster MTM Corporation — I can recall when it was just a single building that did trophies and plaques for local awards. Now they own a half-mile of frontage and a dozen buildings along SE 29th Street.10thruepperlyhts And Cherry Creek comes out from under SE 29th back into a culvert again that splits the MTM property. It stays in a culvert almost all the way across the whole square mile, generally referred to as Epperly Heights (image left), sometimes with vertical walls and sometimes sloped.11behindschool The only break from this routine is a patch of park behind the Epperly Heights Elementary School (image right). It’s one of numerous Lion’s Club parks in the OKC Metro, but this one is nothing to be proud of, showing few signs of significant use.

12oldironfootbridgeAs the creek runs farther north across the section, the houses are progressively less well-kept and less expensive in the first place. This battered iron footbridge is likely older than I am, and represents how long this place has been occupied by homes.

13cherrycrkse15thEventually it passes under SE 15th, where I had to contend with the overpowering smell of seasoned frying oil emitting from the Church’s Fried Chicken place off-camera to the right. 14cherrycrksunnylaneThe creek runs on behind a few very long standing commercial buildings (oh, the stories they could tell) once owned by some real estate scoundrels. Right where Interstate Highway 40 angles across the north end of Del City, the creek ducks under Sunnylane and the interstate all at the same time (image left). Running at an angle, it remains deeply buried for more than a hundred meters and emerges on the far side near a Hyundai car dealership.15floodchannel This access road runs down to Ray Trent Park, which we encountered in the survey of Crutcho Creek.16cherrycrkraytrentpk On the right here is a shot of the flood control channel that runs between the two creeks where they come within a hundred meters or so. The city parks built a multi-use path through the park and this shot was taken from a bridge, looking toward Cherry Creek. One branch of that path runs across the creek (above left) and into a housing development.

17cherrycrkrenoBack again across the AYSO soccer fields and onto Reno Avenue, it’s still rather close to Crutcho Creek, but not for long. Cherry Creek passes under Reno (image right) and turns west, while Crutcho turns east. 18cherrycrkne4th-aBut both are pretty much inaccessible for quite some ways here, running through undeveloped woodlands and lots of industrial property. We next see Cherry Creek running under NE 4th, my favorite path into OKC.19cherrycrkne4th-b Almost immediately on the other side of NE 4th the creek runs under a railroad track. This is a section of the old line that ran through Midwest City and out through southern Choctaw (right near where I used to live in that trailer park) and toward Shawnee. It’s no longer in service and the rails are slowing being pulled up one section at a time, so now this spot is just a parking place. That mattress and overstuffed chair are almost certainly washed down from some tramp camp upstream.

20cherrycrkncanAgain the creek disappears, but the area is now pretty flat and swampy. It runs behind a concrete mixing yard on one side and a sand-n-gravel depot on the other. The next time we see it is NE 10th. From here we can see where the creek empties into the North Canadian River in the distant background of this image (left).21tankfarm To give you some idea what’s down this way, most of the flood plain is occupied by sand-n-gravel storage, trucking yards, concrete and asphalt mixing plants, and several major oil company tank farms.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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One Response to Anatomy of Cherry Creek

  1. Christine says:

    Aw, poor little Cherry Creek!


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