Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native Americans • Notable Places.
Location. 43° 4.578′ N, 89° 24.614′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is on Observatory Drive, 0.2 miles west of Charter Street, on the left when traveling west. The marker is just west of the Washburn Observatory on the University of Wisconsin campus. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1401 Observatory Drive, Madison WI 53706, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Turtle Effigy (a few steps from this marker); Chamberlin Rock (within shouting distance of this marker); Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Forging Agrarian Democracy (about 400 feet away); Mass Production of Penicillin (about 700 feet away); Genetically Superior Crops (about 700 feet away); Pioneering Bacterial Genetics The Land Ethic (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Madison.
Regarding Bird Effigy. According to a 1996 survey by Robert A. Birmingham and Katherine H. Rankin entitled Native American Mounds in Madison and Dane County, "Directly to the west of the University of Wisconsin observatory, near the crest of Observatory Hill, are a bird mound and a turtle effigy. The wings of the bird mound, originally spanning 133 feet, have both been truncated.
The turtle mound was unusual for its two tails (extending toward the lake) but one is barely discernable and the other is gone. The plaque for the turtle mound incorrectly states that the mound was built by the Winnebago about 500 years ago. We now know that the mounds are much older, although the Winnebago did use these mounds for their burials and religious ceremonies.
Two other mounds once belonged to this group: a linear and a panther. These mounds, which were north of the turtle mound, were destroyed by the University sometime after 1922. Just south of this group, where Agriculture Hall is now, was another group of several conicals destroyed in 1902 when Ag Hall was constructed."
Credits. This page was last revised on October 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 2, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 949 times since then and 28 times this year. Last updated on July 22, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 2, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. 3. submitted on July 24, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.