The natural features of Buck Creek State Park can be attributed to the effects of glaciers which receded from Ohio over 12,000 years ago. Low hills called moraines can be seen in the area where glaciers halted for extended periods of time and left deposits of gravel and sand. Old river valleys were filled by these deposits where numerous springs now well up through the sand and gravel. The nearby city of Springfield is named for the many springs seeping up from the broad meadows. The springs account for the many bogs and fens in Clark and Champaign counties of which Cedar Bog is probably the best known.
These wet areas harbor an assortment of rare and unusual plants including round-leaved sundew and horned bladderwort. The spotted turtle, a state endangered animal, is found in the area. The northernmost region of the park is an excellent area to observe waterfowl. The shallow waters provide a stopover for thousands of migrating ducks. Relatively rare songbirds of open meadows are also present including dickcissels, bobolinks and Henslow sparrows.
Who was Clarence J. Brown, Sr.?
Clarence J. Brown, Sr., for whom the lake was named, was born July 14, 1895 in Blanchester, Ohio. He became State Statistician of Ohio in 1916 and became publisher of several country newspapers as President of the Brown Publishing Company. He served as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio from 1919-1923; Secretary of State of Ohio from 1927-1933, and was Republican nominee for Governor in 1934. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 3, 1939 until his death in August 1965.
When Clarence Brown died, he was eulogized throughout the State and the Nation by powerful and influential people in both politics and the media from President Lyndon Johnson to the editors of small town weeklies. But perhaps the most affectionate tribute came from Springfield's own SUN, which stated:
"Clarence Brown was above all else a man of such unswerving integrity that no faintest hint of scandal or even self—seeking ever marred his record of almost half a century in public affairs... Amid the increasing complications and impersonalization of central government, he was a humanizing force. He never lost the humility and simplicity of his beginnings. He never lost touch with the people next door—they were his life, his vocation. He never, despite his national influence and international reputation, really left home at all. We have reason in this District he served so long and faithfully to mourn the passing of an incomparable neighbor and friend."
Another tribute came from his Democratic and Republican colleagues following his death when a bipartisan resolution was passed in the House of Representatives naming the flood control project, reservoir, in Springfield in his memory.