Did Level Park in Battle Creek Get Its Name Because all the Land was Dynamited?
On the northwest side of Battle Creek is the Level Park neighborhood. A kind of funny name, but is this urban legend about its name true?
Here's an interesting story told on the Battle Creek Regional History Museum Facebook page,
The legend and story that I have been told as a Battle Creek historian is that it was named by C.W. Post. at one time Post was doing weather experiments and experiments with dynamite in that area. It was uninhabited then. In this process they blew the tops off many hills and the area became level. After that, when it was plated for housing he named it level park.
Dynamite and weather experiments? It's not as far fetched as you might think. In fact, using dynamite to control the weather was exactly what the government was experimenting with in the decades following the Civil War. Weather observers during the war between the states noticed interesting changes in weather patterns sometimes when explosives were used in the field. That lead to the theory. according to Smithsonian Magazine,
that loud sounds could disrupt the climate’s equilibrium and force rain to fall. In the second century, Greek essayist Plutarch observed that rain frequently followed battle, and even Napoleon was known to attempt to induce rain by firing artillery into the air.
Scientists headed to West Texas ranches to try to make it rain.
Battle Creek scion C.W. Post was in Texas in the late 1880s working in real estate development. And there is documented evidence that he conducted weather experiments there on the dry Texas plains, so says Texas CoOp Power,
In Post’s first rain experiment in 1910, he attached two pounds of dynamite to a kite, flew it into the clouds and ignited it. Too dangerous, he concluded. On the high elevations of the Caprock, he tried igniting 14-pound bundles of dynamite spaced 50 feet apart on the ground and set off at 10-minute intervals. Post’s most successful “rain battle” blasted 24,000 pounds of explosives. By some accounts, a refreshing rain fell.
Post’s attempts to tweak the weather in his favor continued through 1913. Reportedly, he spent more than $50,000 on rain battles and claimed he enticed seven showers from the sky in 13 attempts. His detractors insisted that the rain battles occurred during the time of year when natural storms were most likely to happen anyway.
So could those experiments have been conducted in Battle Creek? Who knows. Post was clearly conducting weather experiments. Who's to say he didn't do what he did in Texas in the vacant lands northwest of Battle Creek?