Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mound City

One of the (many) nicknames for St. Louis is Mound City.   Across the river from St. Louis is the interpretive center for the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site where archaeologists have spent years investigating the culture of the long lost Mississippian mound builders.  The mounds were originally on both sides of the river though and were spread throughout the site that is now St. Louis.  Over the years they were destroyed as structures in the city were built.

Now there is only one remaining St. Louis mound, the Sugarloaf Mound.  It is the subject of many trivia questions.  It is located in the back yard of a house that sits right next to I-55 and most people don’t even notice it.  Recently the house was put up for sale and speculation arose as to who would buy it or if the mound would be sold separately. 

To look at the advertisement, the two bedroom, two bath, white brick bungalow at 4420 Ohio Street wasn't anything flashy -- just 900 square feet on a little more than half an acre -- but it did boast "some of the most spectacular and active views of the Mississippi River and its barges."

More exceptional, though, was this brief note: "Circa: Prehistoric." That's right: Though the dwelling at 4420 Ohio was built in 1928, the site itself has history dating to the Pre-Columbian era, sometime around 1050 A.D.

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Photos by Rachel Heidenry | Beacon intern

In an unexpected turn of events, the Osage Nation ended up purchasing the property.

Their ultimate goal is to purchase the lower platforms, as well, remove the houses, restore the mound, and develop it as an interpretive education center where St. Louisans can learn about their city, visitors can explore Mississippian culture, and the Osage people can reconnect with their past.

I think that’s very cool.  I can’t think of a more perfect group to preserve the heritage of the mound and its builders while educating people about the Osage People:

Sugarloaf Mound is a reminder of cultures past and present and will continue to teach many the historical significance of the ancient Osage. The interpretive center that will be built here will teach children and be the voice of the great nation of the Osage. Great Nations never cease to exist if the children remember them and teach their children.