Friday, October 12, 2012

Indian Mounds of Palisades-Kepler State Park

Along a road from the park ranger's office to the camping ground within Palisades State Park near Mount Vernon, Iowa a sign identifies the site of several Indian mounds. Unlike the more famous Effigy Mounds in extreme northeast Iowa where the mounds are animal shapes, these mounds are slight rises roughly conical in shape and perhaps 3-4 feet high. Visitors are free to walk throughout the mounds and interpret their meaning. No informative signs are present to describe the mounds, their builders or their age. At this time of year the park is filled with people enjoying the change of color and warm temperatures. 

While I photographed the scene, several cars slowed to look at the mounds. Only one car stopped. Two people got out, walked over and clicked a quick photo then left. For the twenty minutes that I spent at the site, no one else stopped to inspect these ancient monuments. Isn't it interesting that modern visitors drive by historic sites, grab a quick photo and dash to the next scene? I've seen this behavior before at many historic sites. Perhaps the limitations of time or the mobility of the visitor are to blame but an extended stop may help people understand a bit more of the site and make for a richer experience.


  1. Gorgeous 42N, just gorgeous!

    The Iowa/MSU game is in my "line up" this week in my blog header.

  2. Sadly, I've witnessed this behavior first-hand; Mr.4444 is an extremely impatient man when it comes to anything historical or museum-like. "Okay. Can we go now?" is his oft-asked question; he's worse than a kid.

    It might help if the mounds had some kind of explanation--a QR code, even, leading to more info to read in the car while rushing off to the next thing :)

  3. Interesting! I didn't know there were any Indian mounds there.

  4. I recently found presence of many arrow heads while bushwhacking off trail. I believe them to be paleo age artifacts. The site was secluded and peaceful, I could almost feel the presence of a once proud people. It was a huge reminder of how we have lost touch with our roots and our connection to the land. Iowa was the French term for the Ioway Tribe, Ioway means "sleepy ones." The state of Iowa took there name only after the people where all forced out of the state around 1878. The Ioway named the surrounding rivers and towns we know today, most Iowans are totally oblivious to this, like i was until today. What a disgrace, the exploitation of these people by the U.S. government knowing no shame, in antiquity up to modern days. Liberty, Land of the free, and former home of the braves. Sorry today pressed on me to state those things as a testament for the silence I felt... Beautiful nature and an amazing experience I had today! I still find new hidden gems at Palisades after years of exploring. Love the Park!