You are here

Indian Mounds

-A A +A
c. 100 BCE–1100 CE. 301 Troy Dr., Mendota Mental Health Institute

Portions of two large ancient mound groups are preserved on the hospital grounds located on the north shore of Lake Mendota. The Farwell’s Point Mound Group includes a number of large conical or round mounds, part of a linear mound, and a bird effigy. They evidently were built over a thousand-year period. The large conical mounds are believed to have been built during the Middle Woodland Stage, about two thousand years ago, whereas the bird effigy and some other low mounds are characteristic of those built by the so-called effigy mound culture of the Late Woodland stage, around 700 to 1100 CE.

The Mendota State Hospital Mound Group is located east of this first group and contains some of the finest and largest effigy mounds preserved anywhere. Included are three large, straight-winged bird effigies (one with a 624-foot wing span), two panthers representing water and the underworld (one with an unusual curved tail), two bears, and a deer. The deer effigy is unusual because the builders depicted all four legs, instead of the usual two in profile. Visitors should check in at the hospital administration building to view the mounds.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Indian Mounds", [Madison, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 469-469.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,