Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Indian Mounds, Food and Cake!



     Saturday was a beautiful day in Illinois. It was much too pretty to stay inside, so we decided to take a road trip to Cahokia Mounds. We have talked about going for years, but we always seem to put it off. Cahokia Mounds is the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico. I always thought it was all burial mounds, but actually it was once a large city and the mounds had a variety of purposes. The Late Woodland Indians settled here around 700 AD. The Mississippians arrived between 800-1000 AD and created a large community that after 1050 AD became a regional center with a population of 10-20,000 people. The community centered around Monks Mound (above) and a huge Grand Plaza where public gatherings took place.  
 
 

     Some of the mounds were used as final resting places, but others had buildings on top and were used for other things. There are several walking paths that you can take and each mound has a name/number. Some have be excavated, others have not. 
   

     Above you see a an example of what they have found to be one of the Stockade walls that once formed a boundary around the central part of the city. Excavation showed the deep holes where the posts had once been and they reconstructed a segment of the wall.
 
 

     Monks Mound is the one mound that you can actually climb to the top of. It is the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the New World. The base covers over 14 acres and it rises in four terraces to a height of 100 feet. The front of the mound is called the South Ramp. They found indentations in the South Ramp that they believe came from wooden steps that were once placed there. Thankfully, they have added new steps so that you can climb in the same place the Prehistoric Indians did, in a slightly easier way (although it is quite a climb).


     Above you can see the people on top of Monks Mound and below, you can see our view from about halfway up the stairs.



     The view from the top is amazing. You can see the St. Louis Arch in the distance as well as the buildings in the city. From the other side you can see another Stockade reconstruction.


     There is a lovely Interpretive Center at Cahokia Mounds with a gift shop, displays, restrooms and vending machines. It has a walk through museum type area that explains more about the history of the site. Cahokia Mounds is free, but they do have donation boxes around to collect money to continue research and maintenance. 

 The Interpretive Center

A mural that shows how the city once looked.

 Artifacts

 Part of the exhibit showing how the Indians lived.


 
     After all the exercise we decided to have lunch. I had done a little research and found a place called the Oatman House Tea Room.  It was a cute little house with tables inside and out. We sat outside because it was such a gorgeous day. It will be much prettier when things are actually in bloom in the back garden area, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.


     We were greeted with strawberry muffins. We also ordered their specialty cinnamon iced tea, which was so good we bought some and brought it home. 



     My husband had the Cobb Salad and I had their Quiche of the Day, which was bacon and spinach. Our food was delicious and the service was as if we were in someone's private home. We would certainly go back. 


     From crazy cows years ago in Chicago, to Peanuts in Georgia, Mickey Mouse in Kansas City and Pigs, Alligators and Cars...we have seen decorated "things" in many cities during the past decade. As St. Louis celebrates 250 years, there are 250 decorated birthday cakes all over the area. Below is the one placed at Cahokia Mounds! How fun! If you want to read more about the cakes, click here.

    

9 comments:

NanaDiana said...

What an incredible day trip. Those are amazing those mounds. There are some in Wisconsin, too, but nothing of that size or import. Thanks for sharing that it-it would make a great stop over if I am traveling with the grandkids heading South- ox Diana

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Suz,
Looks like a fun trip, a lots of beautiful scenery. That tea room
sure looked like fun, and the food
looks really yummy.........
It was neat to be able to see the
St.Louis arch in the picture, we
have been up in that but it was
years ago before I had Dee and Scott was only 5 at the time, so about 30 yrs. ago.........wow, sure doesn't seem that long ago.

That is a very nice picture of you by the way. Take care hon,
Blessings, Nellie

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks so much for sharing your trip and history lesson. Your lunch of salad and quiche looks and sounds so good.

Blondie's Journal said...

What an interesting and fun day. I know hubby would have loved something like this..he is all about history, from wars to presidents to Indians. And I would love to go to a tea room! One day it's me and High Tea at The Drake!

I have to catch up on your posts, Sue...soon. Very soon.

XO,
Jane

Mosaic Magpie said...

Your post was fascinating, so interesting to see how others lived as well we can learn so much from them. In school, I found History classes to be dull and boring, but now I love it. Your lunch looked delicious and the thoughts of a strawberry muffin are making me quite hungry!!!
xo,
Deb

Marigene said...

What a fun and educational day. Those mounds are amazing. Lunch sounds delicious.
Have a great week, Sue!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Very nice post Sue! I love history and it's so interesting to learn new things.
I've been an absent blogger, but I am going to try to catch up.
Your food looked yummy too!
Hugs friend,
Cindy

koralee said...

What lovely photos...thank you for sharing. I love days like those. Happy May to you.

Jenny said...

What a neat trip!

I love any type of ruins!

And that house is so sweet!

Your lunch pictures made me hungry! The salad looks scrumptious!