At the time when the earliest childhood memories of Emil Smith, Tom White and Toady Zimmerman were formed, only the oldest Indians could look back to the time when these grasslands were their hunting grounds, thus, it is hardly surprising that the settlers took the Indians for granted. Like the grass and the hills, they had always been here. But the settlers' attention was elsewhere? focused on their own changing world. , The wagon trains continued until horses were phased out by automobiles.
Before 1900, the home owned by Mrs. W.Y. Quarton, eight or ten miles southwest of Carrington was known as the "Half Way House'' where chilled and hungry travelers could stop on their way over the snow covered prairies for a dinner or a night's rest, and find a word of cheery welcome from its mistress. Halfway between the town of Carrington and the Hawksnest Hills it was also used as an overnight stop by the Hawksnest farmers on their three day trips into Carrington. Making the trip with horses and a sled, they would spend the night at the Half Way House, starting out early in the morning on the second lap of the trip into Carrington, returning late at night for a second stop before starting on the long drive back home. In the summer the round trip across 40 miles of prairie could be made in a single day.
Tom White remembers the last group he saw: four young fellows who stopped for water while driving a bunch of horses north to Fort Totten. That was in 1925. "We can't say they were happy, but they were gentle people? there was a dignity about them", Emil Smith remarked. He discerned a special feeling in the Indian while they were free to travel and camp on the still open prairie. "The remnants of their joy", he called it.
On July 16, 1925, Aurora Lodge No. 56 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Carrington, celebrated te 25th anniversary of the founding of their lodge with a picnic at the Hawksnest, and a feast for the brethren. At sundown, Worshipful Master C. B. Craven convened the lodge on the highest peak of the Hawksnest butte , and in the evening twilight, with the aid of the brethren, rasied a lone candidate to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in due and ancient form. Masonic degrees are very seldom conferred outside the lodge room and this event will long remain noteworthy with the fraternitty.
Many citizens of the surrounding area felt that Hawksnest was worthy of being set aside as a state park or memorial area. In 1925 an intensified effort was made to make the hawksnest a state park.
The Foster Co. Independent, January 5, 1928 The first Boy Scout Troop was organized by the Congregational Church with 12 boys and the Methodist Church with 16. Membership was open to all boys that were interested. There were plans for hikes to the Hawksnest area and Arrowwood Lake during the summers. They learned the scout laws and instruction in the easier phases of camping life, woodcraft and other related arts.
1935? Hawksnest Eagle Preys on Lamb: An eagle, believed making its headquarters in the Hawksnest Hills, is causing considerable losses among the sheep flocks in that neighborhood. During the past few weeks the eagle killed 14 lambs at the William Biloff farm and six at the Adolph Huff farm. It is said that the sheep, being accustomed to barnyard fowls at home, do not become frightened by the eagle and scatter and run as they do when attacked by dogs or coyotes. The killer has an easy time of it striking down one lamb after another, picking out their eyes, eating a small part of the flesh, and seemingly killing just for the sport of it. The eagle had been seen several times but never close enough to use a shotgun. The bird is small. One farmer, who saw it sitting on a fence thought it was a turkey until it flew away. Eagles have been seen off and on, for several years at the Hawksnest. One Longview farmer reports that he has lost at least $100 worth of lambs from this one over a period of years.
In a newspaper story written in 1936: "Several young daring men from Longview joined in the search for the lion that was causing so much worry all over the state. They beat the brush through Hawksnest, didn't see the beast, but bagged about 15 jackrabbits that would have come in handy to throw out to the enemy in case they had met him."
To the people who lived in the surounding area the hawksnest was a favorte spot to have groupgatherngs and picnics. One of the most remembered gatherings, was a dedication ceremony held June 26, 1946. Mrs Evrett Calderwood and Miss Mary Baker heirs of Tom Baker (well know horse and cattle buyer) deeded to the Carrington Kiwanis 104 acres of land for the purpose of establishing a public recreation area and a scout camp ground. The Kiwanis Hawksnest committe has sponsored the building of a new entrance road by Company A of the National Guard and have developed and curbed up a spring. There are many natural spring's in the Hawksnest area.
In the late 50's and 60' the Hawksnest Hills became a prime location of radio communication towers.
The Carrington Boy Scout Troop 172 in 1965? with help from Carrington Kiwanis built a cabin in the center northern valley just south of the water dug out. The cabin was a victim just like the Indian before and "Uncle Buffalo". Intruders, raiders and vandels of modern day conquests, destroyed the cabin most every year. The scouts would rebuild and the enemy would return and destroy. The cabin had a short life of approximately 10 yrs.
In the early 80's a group called the Hawksnest Ridge Committee attempted to establish a commercial type historic stop. During one of the committee's public meetings retired local excavator Eldo Lee reminesced. "When we were digging the tower footings for the local electrical coop we came across a burial site. We carefully replaced the remains and established a new spot for the footing. In attendence with much embarassment representives of the local coop and Dakota Souix tribe. This never been publicly known. Soon after a ceremonial rite for the disturbed remains was done by the Spirit Lake Souix Tribe Shaaman and Elders.
Today the Hawksnest remains a favorite campground and a natural preserve. This being the natural home for the birds & animals, not the plowed fields or mowed grass of the concreted city. The vegetation of bur oak, boxelder, green ash, hawthorn, quaking aspen, buck brush, wild plum, wooodbine, burning nettle , poison ivy, juneberry, gooseberry, silverberry, and raspberry, chokecherry, western wild rose hip, over hunded varieities of weed species and 30 varities of grasses and sedges. Standing on the top of the Hawksnest Hills one can only admire the vast beauty of the plains of the dakota prairie. Just imagine the day to day life of peoples who crossed this path before us
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