Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Peace Creek Meanderings

Map from Kansas Agriculture in the Classroom's Streams and Rivers curriculum

Peace Creek doesn't even merit a bit of black ink on a map of creeks and rivers in Kansas. 

Peace Creek - looking north from the 4th Street Bridge

However, maybe the most important question: Is it a "crick" or "creak?" For the record, in our household, it's a long e!

Kansas Agriculture in the Classroom has a 22-page unit on Streams and Rivers. In it, the Kansas Secretary of State's office says there are more than 50,000 streams large enough to be named in the state of Kansas. 

Looking south from the 4th Street bridge

The U.S. Geological Survey says there are several ways to classify streams and rivers, including by size and age. "Linear flowing bodies of water" are classified as streams. However, when Kansas streams were first given names, large streams were usually designated as "rivers" and their tributaries were called "creeks." In other areas of the U.S., a smaller stream might be called a "brook" or a "run" rather than a "creek."

According to the Ag in the Classroom materials, there's a Kansas stream name for every letter in the alphabet, beginning with Acker Creek and ending with Zenithscah Creek. (You'd think Zenithscah Creek would be near Zenith - the town where we truck the majority of our grain - but I've never heard of it before. We have the Ninnescah, but not the Zenithscah.) 

Looking west from the Raymond Road

For the record, there are 42 Dry Creeks and 42 Sandy Creeks, but only 34 Rock Creeks and 20 Mud Creeks. There are 10 streams named School Creek, but Spring Creek is the most popular name, with a whooping 78 of them!

There's Chigger Creek to Granny Branch to Monkey Run to Blake Fork - again, none with which I'm familiar. Of course, the people who have those creeks in their backyard probably haven't heard of Peace Creek either. 

Looking east at Peace Creek from the Raymond Rd.

Peace Creek is certainly not the mighty Missouri or anything, but it is a beautiful addition to the scenery around here, in my opinion.

Though once considered part of the Great American Desert, there are 134,458 miles of streams and rivers in Kansas. Peace Creek was evidently significant to settlers in this area. 

Just a mile from Randy's childhood home is the Peace Creek Cemetery. The oldest graves date back to 1879.

A frosty file photo from my County Line archives
Years ago, there was also a Peace Creek Church of Christ. All that's left of it is an historical sign.

But even though the church is gone, Peace Creek - the waterway - remains a vital part of our farming heritage. During the winter and spring, some of our cattle make their home in what we call the Peace Creek pasture.

Laura Ingalls Wilder may have lived on the banks of Plum Creek, but she's not the only prairie girl who finds beauty along a creek bed.

On a blue sky day last week, I drove to several different Peace Creek locations, all within just miles of our house. Even though each of my stops was along Peace Creek, the scenes are all just a bit different because of road crossings, bridges, etc. 

Looking south

I don't usually see this scene, but Randy said they used to fish at this location when he was a child. It's close to home, too, but it's just not on a route I regularly travel.

Looking north

I used to like taking photos at the bridge over Peace Creek just north of the original farmstead. But cattails have squeezed out the view these days. 

Peace Creek at the Zenith Road

Another day I stopped at the Peace Creek bridge on the Zenith Road and posted it to my Instagram page. I labeled it, saying, "Peace Creek lives up to its name today." 

I have a favorite windmill location to witness sunsets, so Randy and I drove over one evening. I'd never thought about it before, but I noticed the water and asked if it was Peace Creek, too. 

 Yes, the landowners there have dammed it up to create a pond for their cattle.

One of my favorite photos for the year (below) was taken at Peace Creek during Holy Week.

We were fairly early in the pandemic, and I was definitely feeling the ripples. But I wrote about finding some peace at Peace Creek. (Click here for more sunset photos and thoughts.)
Randy at Peace Creek at sunset

And here's another blog post and photos showing four seasons of Peace Creek. 

Channels of Life 

 The care of the rivers is not a question of the rivers but of the human heart. 

 Tanaka Shozo, 19th century Japanese conservationist 

All streams and rivers have a beginning and an end but the water in those streams and rivers never reaches a final destination. It only changes form as it is recycled through the hydrologic cycle. Kansas rivers and streams are an important part of this state's history and continue to be valued natural resources. They provide Kansans with one of life’s essential nutrients–water. 

From the conclusion of the Kansas Agriculture in the Classroom Streams and Rivers curriculum

Peace Creek fills the bill for me.


  1. Lovely, lovely, lovely, especially the final sunset shots. We have repeated creek names too. Running, Six mile, Eight mile etc but nothing as evocative as Peace Creek.

    1. Yes, those sunset shots from April are among some of my favorites this year. It was such a perfect evening. We need to put it on the evening calendar again, but it will have to wait until after corn harvest, etc.