Sunday, February 20, 2005

819 Mounds of trash

Near by we have an Adena burial mound--at least that is what I told my children when we'd drive a mile or so from our home to look at it on the other side of the Scioto River. I don't remember how I learned about it. There has been a lot of development in that area in the last 30 years, but I hope the mound has been protected.

There are many mounds much more famous in other Ohio counties, and according to the 1892 History of the City of Columbus, Columbus and Worthington had a number of them, leveled as "progress" took ahold in this area.

"One of the most pretentious mounds in the County was that which formerly occupied the crowning point of the highland on the eastern side of the Scioto River, at the spot where now rises St. Pauls Lutheran Church and adjoining buildings, on the southeast corner of High and Mound Streets in Columbus. Not a trace of this work is left, save the terraces of the church, although if it were yet standing as it stood a century ago, it would be remarked as one of the most imposing monuments of the original Scioto race. When the first settlers came it was regarded as a wonder, and yet it was not spared. The expansion of the city demanded its demolition, and therefore this grand relic of Ohio's antiquity was swept away."

Joel Brondos of Collarbones tells of visiting Cahokia Mounds State Park recently where his family had stopped when he was a child. In addition to the mounds made by the early American peoples, he noted that we now have mounds of landscaped trash around St. Louis (and other cities). Just down the road from the sacred mound we used to visit, luxury housing has been developed--at the site of a former gravel pit along the river. As we'd drive across the bridge during construction, we watched the holes and valleys fill with refuse, rocks, road debris and concrete chunks from demolition sites and then the piles would be leveled with compactors. Surely when the early peoples built their monuments to their culture, they thought they would last forever. Building luxury homes on a compacted pile of trash certainly is a sign of our culture, as were the Adena mounds.

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