Hopewell Culture National Historic Park

Hopewell Culture center is dedicated to the native people\’s recognized by their constructions and earth building projects.  This culture pre-dates the native tribes that later resided in the same region, spanning from the east coast to the Mississippi river.  There are only a few remaining earthen mounds left of this diverse culture.

Our weekend adventures in Ohio were coming to a close.  We had to traverse from Ohio back to Philadelphia this day.  But before we did the long trek home, we wanted to explore one more place; the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park.  A very early start helped make  this possible.  We arrived at Hopewell Culture park and went on a Day of Discovery.

Scrambling to do it all in one day

It was an early start to our day. I took Tom and his kids to the airport for a very early flight, then Carol and I killed some time at breakfast while waiting for opening hours at the National Air Museum in Wrights Patterson AFB.  We had to return to the museum before leaving the state to get passport stamps for our new stamp books.

Well.  We didn\’t have to go.  I just needed to get more stamps in my new stamp log book.  After getting our stamps (and a few tourist trinkets), we headed down to the Hopewell Culture park.

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Correctional Facility on Left

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As we made our way along the route, I was surprised to see a massive prison center dominating the left side of the road.  I think the size alone was surprising. I found myself glancing left when the park entrance was on the right, nestled in a wooded area.  If I was a prisoner and somehow managed to escape – I would bolt into the trees across the street.  Of course, I couldn\’t run across the street without losing my breath, so we all know my escape attempt would fail before I left the parking lot.

Hopewell Culture on Right

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I pulled into the Hopewell National Park and headed straight for the visitor\’s center.  Carol and I collected our passport stamps and then sat in the small movie theater to watch a video about the Hopewell Culture. I learned the park was named after a culture that predated the more recognizable Native People tribes that also shared the region at later times.  The video explains how the Hopewell people spread across much of the United States, focused along the rivers. The mounds were created by these Hopewell people and archaeologists identify the Hopewell culture by earthen works and their artifacts.  The video presented us with a quandary:  how did a people without writing convey precise measurements and construction guidelines?

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Museum

There was a small museum at the Visitor Center, and it contained some amazingly beautiful items.  There were several copper items on display that were simply exquisite. There were also several maps of the region showing the remaining mound structures in the region.  I wish I could explore more and visit all of the mound sites in the region. But time was limited.

Mounds

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After a while we headed outside into the hot noon sun to explore the mound structure.  A well maintained path leads you into a grassy field and between the border edge of the mound structure itself.  The large, square border encloses the mounds themselves, which are sprinkled inside. There was one long elliptical mound and one taller conical mound in the complex.  Carol and I strolled around, reading the informational signs and imagining the history.

Who mowed this mess?

In all of the art work depicting the Hopewell people, the mound regions were always well manicured lawns.  So I have to ask: did they maintain these grounds as depicted?  Was that something we knew? Or was it just easier to draw low cut grass?   Was the mound region actually filled with wild flowers and knee-high grasses?  Or was it kept low cut?  Were there trails made by simply stomping along a path?  Or did they let goats roam inside and keep the growth to a minimal?

Who mowed this mess?  I need to know!

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Police absolutely everywhere on highways

It was time to hit the road. Carol and I turned Nimbus east and we started to head home. As soon as we hit the Interstates, we noticed a heavy police presence.  At first we thought it was just a dense location of police pulling speeders over. But after several miles we clocked it: there was a police or state trooper with a pulled-over car nearly every five miles. The police count was in the dozens.

I put the car on cruise and happily did the speed limit, but BOY were they out in force.  At one speed trap, we crested a hill and found four police cars pulled over giving out tickets in one tiny stretch of highway. One cop had managed to pull over more than one car. The entire shoulder was packed with cops and cars, and tickets were flying.  After this holiday weekend, I think Ohio filled their coffers with ticket gold.

Thankfully I completed the road trip without a speeding ticket or accident. I\’m always grateful when a trip end safely.

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