ELMSIDE PARK MOUNDS

(Four Lakes Group)

Intersection of Maple and Lakeland Avenues

 

At the corner of Lakeland Avenue and Maple Avenue overlooking Lake Monona are two well-preserved Late Woodland animal effigies now referred to as a lynx and a bear.  These mounds were originally part of a dense and extensive cluster of mounds that once extended from the Yahara River to Starkweather Creek at modern Olbrich Park that included huge birds with wingspans of more than 500 feet.  Once part of the Simeon Mills farm, this site was still a favored Winnebago campground as recent as the late 19th century.  Most of the mound cluster, which included at least 22 mounds, was destroyed by turn-of-the-century residential development. 

Nearby, there is a beautiful effigy tree sculpture, entitled “Let the Great Sprits Soar.”  It was carved by Harry Whitehorse, a Winnebago whose ancestors have lived in the Four Lakes area for hundreds of years.  The sculpture, dedicated in 1991, was carved from a storm-damaged hackberry tree and honors his Indian ancestors and the effigy mound builders.  The wooden sculpture has since deteriorated and was replaced by a bronze casting in 2009. 

dedication of "Let the Great Spirits Soar" effigy tree sculpture, May 19, 1991

(artist Harry Whitehorse in red shirt)

Harry Whitehorse next to his effigy tree sculpture