Column: Many years later, a name's origins are learnedWORTHINGTON — Driving north on Minnesota Highway 7 — Lake Road — by beautiful Big Stone Lake, there were hills, hills, hills. If you are familiar with hills, you know about ravines. There were numerous ravines, some wide and some deep, some narrow and sharp.
By: Nancy Zuehlke, Special to the Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Driving north on Minnesota Highway 7 — Lake Road — by beautiful Big Stone Lake, there were hills, hills, hills. If you are familiar with hills, you know about ravines. There were numerous ravines, some wide and some deep, some narrow and sharp.
These ravines were commonplace to us because we passed them so often going to Sioux Historic Park, where we danced and went roller skating at the Pavilion throughout our teenage years.
This story is about one particular ravine, approximately one block farther down the lake road from Sioux Park, which is one mile from town. This ravine had a name that everyone used for years — the Slaughterhouse Ravine. Now that is exciting! How did come by that name? No one seemed to know. I never told anyone, but as a youngster I knew there must be a reason. My vivid imagination drove me to find out.
I thought perhaps if I joined Camp Fire Girls I would discover the truth. I knew they always hiked up the lake road to this Slaughterhouse Ravine. That was one way you could earn beads (not badges) to string on the fringes of our Indian-like dresses. We strung our earned beads proudly. It was a long hike from my home on the other side of town to downtown and then even further with the girls to the ravine. We Camp Fire Girls were as hot and tired as migrant workers picking/hoeing beans. Our hot, brown, leather Oxford shoes were lead-heavy and tight. Our uniforms stuck to us, glued by our own sweat.
This first hike was a huge disappointment to me. When we arrived, I thought, “Big deal! This ravine looks like all the others!” My imagination had been working overtime, building a suspenseful discovery. No house, no barn, not even a shack! Why the name? I could not even see where a house could be. No, not even a fish house. Nothing spooky — only a dried-up narrow gully and stray weathered boards.
I cannot remember even a flat place to build a campfire. which we needed to roast wieners and burn marshmallows. Why did everyone talk about Slaughterhouse Ravine? Something must have happened here long ago. Wait, perhaps let me think. Perhaps it was due to a rich man or a poor man or a beggar or a thief? No, no — maybe a doctor, a lawyer, a merchant or a chief? I built the suspects into surreal thoughts.
Why am I possessed to know? We children of yesteryear were taught to be seen and not heard. In any case, by now I was sure it was not the tinker, the tailor, nor the soldier or a sailor.
For some 70 years, this subject was concealed. Now, within the past three years, I was determined to know the answer.
Through a dozen phone calls, I found one person who knew but wouldn’t tell and one who told me the whole story.
No, I shalt not tell, either — although the rhyme “rub a dub dub, three men in a tub” may ring a bell.