• A quiet summer walk through the Marching Bear Group of effigy mounds

    Effigy Mounds

    National Monument Iowa

Effigy Mounds 60th Anniversary

60th Anniversary Logo

Celebrating 60 Years of Preservation.

NPS Artwork

This page is archived from 2009 and is kept posted for reference; events are PAST / they have already taken place...

Effigy Mounds National Monument Celebrates 60 Years!

On October 25, 1949, President Harry Truman signed a proclamation that established Effigy Mounds National Monument under the authority of the 1906 Antiquities Act. This created the Monument as part of the National Park System to protect one of the best surviving collection of pre-European earthen American Indian mounds, featuring magnificent "Effigy Mound" formations, in the United States.

During 2009 Effigy Mounds National Monument celebrated its 60th anniversary through a series of events, programs, and exhibits that will highlight the theme "The Movement for a National Park in Iowa". In anticipation of this significant milestone in the history of the Monument, staff worked on improvements to park programs and facilities that will engage the local communities, as well as the many visitors to northeast Iowa.


Portrait of Ellison Orr circa 1881. Portrait taken in Postville, Iowa

Effigy Mounds National Monument Museum Collection.

Many came and joined us in celebrating 100 years of the movement to create a national park in Iowa - and - the 60th Anniversary of Effigy Mounds National Monument.

The anniversary celebration formally began on April 5, 2009 in the visitor center of the Monument with a special exhibit and program to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the national park movement in Iowa.

Ellison Orr of Waukon, Iowa (pictured on the left) was a central figure in the movement to create a national park in Iowa and the eventual establishment of Effigy Mounds National Monument.

The April 5th event kicked off a series of programs focusing on a variety of topics related to the past, present, and future of Effigy Mounds. These topics included New programs and activities conducted throughout the summer months including-

  • Guided Hikes
  • American Indian Cultural Celebration, July 10th & 11th.
  • Programs in the visitor center area
  • Junior Ranger activities for kids

A special 60th anniversary program and exhibit was held on the Monument's establishment date of October 25th.

60th Anniversary Weekend Events

October 24th, Saturday - 6:30 p.m.

Saturday Evening - October 24th

Sunday - October 25th

October 24th, Saturday - 6:30 p.m.

Moonlight Hike Along the Yellow River Boardwalk

featuring an encounter with legendary 19th century effigy mound surveyor Increase Lapham, rediscovering and surveying a “lost” mound near the visitor center.

Call for reservations beginning Monday, October 19th

October 25th, “Sunday in the Park”

Special U.S. Postal Service 60th Anniversary Pictorial Postmark

Cancellation Station inside the Visitor Center – Noon to 4:00 p.m.

Hike to Fire Point, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

featuring expert park ranger / archeologist staff

Ranger Talk on Establishing Effigy Mounds, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Ellison Orr, Effigy Mounds and the National Park Idea in Iowa and the United States

featuring the rediscovery and surveying of a “lost” mound near the visitor center.

Sny Magill Effigy Mound Group Hike, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

featuring expert park ranger / archeologist staff

Special Museum Exhibits, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

On the History of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, the National Park Movement in

Iowa and Special Items from the Monument’s Ellison Orr Collection

We hope you joined us in 2009 as we remembered the past, examined our role in the present, and prepared for the future...

...if not, please explore these pages and links to learn mor e about the history of iowa's first national park unit.

Anniversary Exhibits in Visitor Center Lobby
NPS Photo
Marching Bear Mound Group
The Marching Bear Mound Group was one of the key resources cited for creation of a national site in northeast Iowa.
NPS Photo

Did You Know?

Ellison Orr at Desk: Most of Orr's collections reside at effigy Mounds National Monument

An important figure in the documentation of Iowa's effigy mounds was Ellison Orr. Born in 1857, Orr worked other jobs while pursuing research in archeology. After retiring at the age of 73, Orr began a career as an archeologist spending the next 20 years conducting surveys and excavations.