Great Serpent Mound | Western Adams County, IL
The rich history of the Quincy area extends far beyond that of its founding in 1825. Thousands of years ago, the area was home to a Native American culture that left behind impressive monuments that exist even into today.On a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River plains located just a few miles north of Quincy, IL, stands one such monument that was incredibly impressive in size and shape.
The great serpent mound was originally documented by Dr. Stephen Peet in the late 1800’s on an expedition to the area. Dr. Peet was an early American Archaeologist and Clergyman. In accompanying his father on missionary tours, Stephen Denison Peet had his interests aroused in Indian life and the relics of the mound builders, an interest which remained with him throughout his long life.
Several articles were written about his findings in the Quincy area in the archives of the Quincy Herald Whig. A Serpent Park What is our Past? A Talk with Dr. Peet
Peet would also publish a book that documented his explorations throughout the Midwest, The Mound Builders – Their Works and Relics. This book contains a sketch of the Serpent Mound in Adams County.
Dr. Peet would unsuccessfully lobby the city of Quincy to preserve the area as a park for future generations. The size of the mound is such that it would be much longer than the famous Serpent Mound located in Ohio. Unfortunately, without the preservation efforts of early Quincy officials, the site has been leveled through many years of agricultural use and no longer exists in it’s once great form.
While aerial images show the area where the mound exists, a different technology would be required to fully appreciate the mound, enter LIDAR. LIDAR technology allows for contours of the land to be exposed underneath tree and vegetation cover as the site exists today. Illinois has extensive LIDAR maps available online, and through the use of LIDAR and applying hill-shading to the area, a form appears on top of the bluff.
The existence of this site proves their skills and ingenuity regarding the landscape was vast. Fortunately, some great examples of Indian Mounds do exist in Quincy. Preservation efforts have maintained a number of burial mounds in Indian Mounds Park.Important Note: This site is located on Private Property, exact location is withheld. Shopping on Amazon through the links below helps support History in the Heartland and our efforts to document History through America's Midwest!