Environment Erie

Do you know McDannell Run?

Jan 25, 2011 | Posted in Restoration Success Stories

McDannell Run

_Monday, November 12th, 2007 _

McDannell Run is named for a family who had several farmsteads where this small stream crosses East Lake Road. Some histories of Erie County also refer to it as Three Mile Creek, its distance east of Perry Square. Its watershed lies between those of Cemetery Run (on the west) and Four Mile Creek (on the east). Its course is comprised of alternating urbanized and natural sections, though scouring from storm water runoff and various sources of pollution compromise water quality throughout. As development proceeds in its upper reaches, the stream is likely to be at even greater risk.

McDannell Run rises on the first ridge south of Lake Erie, at the southern boundary of the City of Erie. Its watershed drains much of Southeast Erie including residential neighborhoods near McClelland Avenue, the Erie Industrial Park, the former Kanty College property, and other extensive tracts of yet undeveloped land. North of East 38th Street the main branch of the creek is largely open, passing through wetlands and the future McClelland Park. Construction of the East Side Access Highway here may increase runoff or alter the drainage patterns in ways yet unknown. From East 26th to East 10th Streets, the course of McDannell Run was mostly tubed in the 1970s (although its footprints can be readily seen). Several branches drain the Buffalo Road area, from east of Downing Avenue into the Wesleyville Borough. Near the former Conrail tracks the creek is briefly visible in the “Franklin Flats” at the south end of Bernard Dombrowski viaduct and on the southwest corner of the General Electric property. It then enters the Erie Housing Authority?s Franklin Terrace Apartments complex in a tube paralleling Franklin Avenue before emerging at East 10th Street. From here McDannell Run flows free and in its original course, now partially landscaped, through the Terrace.

At East Lake Road, the creek originally meandered west along the highway right-of-way for several blocks before crossing at the low point (at Ricardo?s Restaurant, where another branch of the creek comes in from the south) and cutting an arc between Chautauqua and Eagle Point Boulevards. With construction of the interurban railroad and the East Lake Road boulevard in the early 20th Century its course was straightened. North of East 4th Street McDannell Run enters a remnant of the mixed wetland hardwood forest which once covered its entire route, though the area straddling the Lawrence Park Township ? City of Erie border is slated for condominium development. For now, a hiking trail used by generations of children from the Erie Lakeside neighborhood lines its course. Descending layers of shale in a series of gentle waterfalls and riffles, McDannell Run finally tumbles over a 15′ cascade and across a perennial beach to share its waters with Lake Erie.

HENRY RICHARD OBERMANNS