When the old dream, the young return
Most kids who grew up on the southside of Kenosha back in the day, were familiar with a wooded area just south of 22nd Avenue, where it curves west to Springbrook Road. (Just past St. Theresa’s church) The area is adjacent to the old Vern Iron farm, on both the east and west side. And to this day, much of the area is still wooded and in farmland. The area is known as the Teapot Woods because it’s roughly the shape of…. well, you guessed it…. a teapot.
The area held many attractions for us kids, besides the woods there was a large pond and many wild critters which we chased/and or hunted as we got older. While still sprouts, we would build forts in the woods and sneak up on each other from our hidden strongholds.
We’d usually ride our bicycles to the Teapot, hiding them in the bushes while we visited the area. For a time, many kids in our neighborhood raised pigeons, and we often raided the adjacent corn fields to obtain feed for our ever-hungry birds. Sometimes we were caught by the shotgun wielding farmer who shagged us off his property unceremoniously. He even shot over our heads a couple of times to get his point across. We could here the shot peppering the corn stalks above our heads, after which we’d beat it out of there in a damn hurry!
When we were old enough to hunt with real weapons, (aside from our BB guns) we often went after rabbit, squirrel and pheasants at the Teapot. There were plenty of deer in the area also, but we never hunted any while there, though others did. I got my first pheasant in the Teapot Woods when I was about fourteen years old. A proud moment for me!
The Teapot’s pond was full of bullheads, bluegills and crayfish. The meat from the crayfish tail made great perch bait, but we mostly let all the bullheads go, since few people we knew wanted any. The gills were usually too small to keep. When it was hot, we would take a dip in the Teapot pond. Riding home on our bikes, we air dried.
There were also foxes, muskrats, some beaver, and a few coyotes around the Teapot, and they’re mostly there still today. In fact, there’s actually many more coyotes in the area now than there were back then, but that’s true of all of Kenosha and the surrounding area.
Just north of the woods, across the street from where St Theresa’s church now stands, a number of small stores and businesses have come and gone over the years. There was a small grocery store there for many years. Then a couple of restaurants and small businesses of one kind or another. But they all came and went. Now there are apartment buildings on that part of the property and no doubt they will be there for some time. The northeast corner of the Teapot bordered on the Keno Outdoor Theater, which has since been removed. The Keno provided some adventures of its own, but we will save those for another story.
As the area around the Teapot slowly developed, we were always in fear that our happy hunting grounds would be swallowed up by a housing development, but as mentioned earlier, it is still mostly vacant to this day. Maybe one day I’ll ride my bike over there and walk through it, just for old times sake. No doubt it will seem much smaller now, than when I was a kid. And maybe I’ll catch a few crayfish while there. If I don’t use em for bait, I can always make some nice Jambalaya.