Hopewell Culture
Administrative History
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1796Nathaniel Massie lays out Chillicothe
1798William Davies purchases a 1300-tract area containing mounds but title soon passes to Massie
1812-14Camp Bull operates in the area during the War of 1812
1832George Shriver purchases tract containing mounds from Massie's heirs; farming intensifies
1846Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis explore "Mound City"
1848Squier and Davis publish Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley to initiate the Smithsonian's "Contributions to Knowledge" series
1850Davis takes the Mound City artifact collection and leaves Chillicothe for New York.
1858While attempting to sell the collection, Davis assigns it to the New York Historical Society for safe-keeping
1861-65During Civil War, area is used as drill ground called Camp Logan
1864Davis sells the collection to William Blackmore and it is removed to England
1867Squier and Davis collection is exhibited at the Blackmore Museum in Salisbury
1888Both Squier and Davis die in the spring
1890Cyrus Thomas begins debunking the "Myth of the Moundbuilders"
1893Chicago's Columbian Exposition features artifacts excavated from Capt. Mordecai C. Hopewell's farm.
1902Archeologists begin adopting "Hopewell" nomenclature and William C. Mills of Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society defines "Hopewell culture" and "Adena culture"
1917-20World War I cantonment "Camp Sherman" operates; first draftees arrive September 5, 1917. Albert Spetnagel et al convinces Army to accommodate mounds within camp's layout design
1920-21OSA&HS William C. Mills and Henry C. Shetrone conduct field investigations at Mound City Group; findings spur preservation movement
1921William C. Mills proposes "national park" for Mound City (July 29)
1923President Warren G. Harding signs proclamation 1653 under the 1906 Antiquities Act designating "Mound City Group National Monument" (March 2)
1923Secretary of War Dwight F. Davis executes revocable license with OSA&HS to operate Mound City Group NM
1925State appropriates funds to demolish Camp Sherman structures and restore mounds roughly based on Squier and Davis' map; work continues through 1927
1929"Mound City State Park" opens to visitors with stone gateway, picnic grounds, and observation platform atop Mound 7; residents hold a summer dedication ceremony
1933State finance subcommittee visits Mound City in April to hear local demands for recreational park development
1934CWA/FERA funding yields massive two-story maintenance/utility building and masonry comfort station
1937WPA workers construct park residence with small administration room and 2,640 square foot picnic shelter house
1937Mound City becomes administrative headquarters for OSA&HS' Seip Mound
1937Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes approves Mound City's transfer to state ownership (March 6); local opposition mobilizes to block the transfer
1940NPS Chief Historian Ronald F. Lee recommends Mound City Group be "dis-established" as a national monument
1942Shelter house's kitchen room is remodeled into "Mound City Museum" (May 26)
1945In the face of strong political pressure, Ohio Governor Frank Lausche calls for federal government to operate Mound City Group NM (August 1)
1946Regional Archeologist J. C. Harrington accepts transfer from state for NPS; William W. Luckett serves as interim custodian (August 1); Custodian Clyde King enters on duty (November 2)
1950W. F. Libby discovers radiocarbon dating; Ohio Hopewell are roughly categorized at 1500 to 2000 years ago
1954Public learns of "Area Management Study" recommendation to disestablish Mound City Group NM (February); effort stalls because of Gov. Lausche's opposition
1956NPS directorate excludes Mound City Group NM from MISSION 66 development program; Archeologist John Corbett argues for the park's retention in national park system (February)
1957Mound City Group NM is added to MISSION 66 program; prospectus amended to provide bare-bones visitor center (November)
1959Area residents fume at NPS plans to remove picnic shelter house; compromise reached to retain it for a few more years.
1959Construction begins on visitor center (September 21)
1960NPS razes abandoned VA incinerator building (September); Eastern National Park and Monument Association establishes cooperative association (November 4)
1961Regional Archeologist John L. Cotter serves as keynote speaker at visitor center dedication
1962Second superintendent, John C. W. ("Bill") Riddle arrives (September 7)
1963Last remnants of shelter house removed (April 17); reforestation, boundary fencing, ethnobotanical trail, and earthworks restoration projects undertaken; a decade of archeological investigation and restoration commences under contract with Ohio Historical Society
1964Olaf Prufer's work reenergizes Hopewellian studies; using the Hopewell, Joseph Caldwell defines "interaction spheres"
1965Third superintendent, James W. Coleman, Jr., arrives (July 19); Mica grave exhibit completed
1966Master plan assigns archeological storage and workshop space to Southeast Archeological Center, thus crippling visitor center expansion plans for three decades
1967Fourth superintendent, George F. Schesventer, arrives (July 30)
1970Director George B. Hartzog, Jr., declares establishment of the "Ohio National Park Service Group" (December 4)
1971Fifth superintendent, William C. Birdsell, arrives (March 7); becomes first and last Ohio Group "general superintendent" with oversight of William Howard Taft NHS and Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial
1971B & O Railroad spur line removed from monument land
1973First interpretive specialist, Robert F. Holmes, arrives (January)
1975Ohio NPS Group dissolves (July 1); sixth superintendent, Fred J. Fagergren, arrives October 26)
1978Suitability/feasibility study recommends addition of Hopeton Earthworks NHL to Mound City Group NM
1979NPS helps organize the Chillicothe Conference and publishing of Hopewell Archaeology provides first modern synthesis for scholars
1979Completion of exhibit upgrade in visitor center museum
1979NPS demands return of 1920-21 Mound City Group-excavated collection from Ohio Historical Society; collection receives emergency conservation treatment at Harpers Ferry Center
1980HUD ignores Interior/NPS and proceeds with North River Place complex construction adjacent to Hopeton
1980Public Law 96-607 provided for acquisition of 150-acre Hopeton Earthworks NHL December 28)
1981Seventh superintendent, Kenneth Apschnikat, arrives (March 7)
1982Mound City Group NM shows up on Interior Secretary James Watt's "hit list" for disestablishment
1983Hopewell Sites Study begins
1984Chief Cornstalk Sand and Gravel Company begins excavating gravel at Hopeton June); NHL is listed as threatened.
1985Hopeton Sites Study identifies almost one hundred significant Hopewellian sites; work begins within archeological circles to narrow list
1986British Museum loans Ohio Historical Society 26 Squier and Davis collection artifacts for temporary display
1988Regional Director Don Castleberry approves final Hopeton Sites Study; recommends inclusion of four sites
1988Residence/quarters is rehabilitated into administrative headquarters (fall)
1988Eighth superintendent, William Gibson, arrives (December 4)
1990Acquisition of Hopeton Earthworks Unit completed (January 9) and Vaughn interests added (September); Shelly Gravel Company acquires bankrupt Cornstalk operations and sets up new Chillicothe Sand and Gravel Company crusher plant (May)
1990Mound City Group NM becomes last park to remove human remains from public display; cremated ashes were replaced with clean sand
1991Failed flat visitor center roof replaced by red metal pitched roof
1992Public Law 102-294 makes Mound City Group a unit of a larger Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, including a larger Hopeton Earthworks, Hopewell Mound Group, Seip Earthworks, and High Bank Works (May 27)
1993Ninth superintendent, John Neal, arrives (June 27)
1993Chillicothe again hosts second Hopewell scholars conference; yields 1996 publication A View from the Core
1994New maintenance building constructed; visitor center expansion includes 50-seat auditorium and more exhibit space
1995Declaration of taking at Hopeton yields settlement agreement
1996Mica grave exhibit removed and Mound 13 restored
1997General management plan approved; provides blueprint for 10-15 year park development


Last Updated: 04-Dec-2000