The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle isn’t the only thing worth seeing in Collinsville, Illinois. As you leave the town, headed toward St. Louis, there’s another sight that’s tough to miss: the Cahokia Indian Mounds.
It’s a darn shame. These mounds would be perfect for sledding.
The largest of the mounds is Monks Mound, which you see above. It’s probably the one you’ll want to head for, because it’s the one with a staircase up its southern slope. Monks Mound is on the north side of the road, and there’s a parking lot close by, on the same side of Collinsville Road. Other mounds, and what appears to be a very expensive visitor’s center/museum building, are on the south side of the road.
Back when the area’s original residents lived here, they built a stockade around the mounds. Parts of this wall have been reconstructed for your historical pleasure.
Now it’s time to tackle the stairs. Two long sets of stairs take you up the southern slope of Monks Mound.
From the top, you have a view of a lot of level land, and in the distance…
… there’s downtown St. Louis, complete with a nice angle on the Arch.
Looking down the staircase, you see Collinsville road, and on the other side, you can see several of the smaller mounds.
West of the mounds, you’ll find another parking area and attraction. Called “Woodhenge”, this is a recreation of a large calendar, similar to Stonehenge. The original calendar had 48 posts; the current calendar has restored 40 of them in their original positions. The functions of the posts are not entirely understood, although some were used to mark the equinoxes and solstices.
Congratulations! Today’s road trip history lesson is complete.
Note: This trip was first published in 2008.