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Mounds State Park: Where History and Nature Collide

by Lance Gideon

Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana is one of the state’s oldest state parks. Opened in October of 1930, after the closure of an amusement park that was located on the property, the park has become a premier park in Indiana. I recently took a trip out to the historic state park to see some relics of historic Indiana, with some ancient and some more modern historical structures. 

The first stop on my trip was the Bronnenberg House, built in the 1840’s it was the house of Frederick Bronnenberg Jr., it is one of the oldest structures in Madison County, Indiana. On the grounds surrounding the house is a historic wood shed and privy (outhouse). I made my way around the house and saw an old, large iron cauldron and was able to look into many of the rooms that are decorated to an accurate depiction of a 19th Century Indiana family home. 

My next stop on my trip was some of the mounds that gave name to the park. While not much is known about the mounds, it is estimated that history of the area dates back over 2,000 years ago to the early Woodland Tradition. The largest of the mounds on property is known as the Great Mound. One young Mounds visitor once described this mound as a “Doughnut that someone took a bite out of.” These mounds are believed to have been the location of cultural and religious ceremonies for the Adena and Hopewell cultures. 

It is believed that the Adena built the mounds for to use for religious ceremonies, not for the burial of its people. It wasn’t until the Hopewell culture took over the area that a small burial mound was built on top of the Great Mound. It is not known whether the Adena people and the Hopewell are two completely separate cultures, or if the Adena people evolved into the Hopewell. 

After my stop on the Great Mound I made my way over to the Fiddleback Mound, named because it is in the shape of a fiddle. This mound is believed to be one of only 5 mounds in Indiana and Ohio with this shape. 

The trailhead for the park's Trail 1 is located not far from the Fiddleback Mound, so I decided to take a trip down the path. The trail circles around large earthworks and brings you near the White River, which creates a natural boundary for the park. This trail is not an extremely long path and is very easy to walk. While it does have some steep hills and can get muddy, it gives some unique views of the mounds and river. 

At the end of Trail 1 is one of the trailheads to the park’s Trail 2. I took a quick glimpse at my map and realized that this trail would lead to the parking lot where I parked my car, and would be more scenic then my regular path, so I decided to venture down this portion of Trail 2. Trail 2 has a couple of boardwalks in between the mounds and parking lot and several beautiful views of small streams in the park. Soon, I was back at my car and ready to go home, and clean off the mud on my jeans and shoes.  

Video Slide show:

 

Published: 02/13/2013

 


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