Crow Island Island
Distant view of Crow Island Woods around 1920 from Willow Road near where Crow Island School now stands. Notice that the wetland is everywhere except Crow Island Woods! Photo courtesy of Winnetka Historical Society.

The Strand consultants and their plan’s  supporters continue to tout the benefits of “restoring Crow Island Woods to its historical wet prairie conditions,” persuading residents that this part of the plan makes sense because it represents a return to some historical, natural state from which we had unknowingly diverged.

That might be charming if it were actually true. Instead, Crow Island Woods was historically a relatively high ground Red Oak Savannah surrounded by low-lying sedge meadows and other wet lowland areas that often flooded in wet weather (which is why it was called Crow “Island”!).

As the area filled up with people, the large marshy areas around Crow Island Woods were eventually filled in with dirt dredged from the Skokie Marsh and other miscellaneous landfill (which is why you may find hundred year-old debris if you dig in your yard) so farm fields, then homes, roads, and Crow Island School could be built.

We hope you agree that cutting down hundred year-old trees to create a marsh to store stormwater in the only place in the area which wasn’t a marsh in the name of “restoration” doesn’t make any sense!

Crow Island Woods Was Not a Wet Prairie