Indian Mounds Park
St. Paul Parks and Recreation
Mounds Park was established in 1893 and is one of the oldest parks in the region.
Indian Mounds Park, situated atop Dayton's Bluff east of downtown St. Paul, is a burial site for at least two American Indian cultures. It is situated upstream from where the first historic Kaposia village site was located.
Anthropologists believe that an ancient people known as "Hopewell" created the earliest mounds, which were built between 1500-2000 years ago. Although there was much diversity in the mound-building customs, the typical Hopewell mound had a distinct internal structure. A low, circular platform of clay was constructed at the center of the mound. Ashes of the deceased were placed in the concave top of the platform, and sometimes fine pottery and stone tools were also included. This was all covered by the conical mound, which consisted of alternating layers of sand and earth. The Hopewell capped the mound with a thick layer of gravel and pebbles.
In more recent times, the Dakota Indians used this site for their burials. Unlike the Hopewell, the Dakota wrapped the bones of their deceased in a buffalo skin before burying them. Valuable objects like knives, foods, pipes, or even horses or canoes were also placed within the mound. The Dakota may have used mounds constructed by the Hopewell or constructed their own on the same site.
At least thirty-seven mounds once stood along the bluffs of the Mounds Park area; only six remain.
Activities: The park has paved trails that traverse the bluffs. There is an outstanding view of the Mississippi River and of the St. Paul and Minneapolis skylines. Picnic tables and a large pavilion are also available.
Hours: Please call for more information.
Contact Information: Call the St. Paul Parks & Recreation at 651-266-6400.
Did You Know?
At Lake Itasca, the elevation of the Mississippi River is 1,475 feet above sea level. It drops to sea level at the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of that drop occurs within the state of Minnesota.