Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds
Erected 1990 by Madison Landmarks Commission. (Marker Number 94.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Native Americans • Notable Places. In addition, it is included in the Wisconsin, Madison Landmarks Commission series list.
Location. 43° 5.414′ N, 89° 20.424′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Lakeland Avenue and Maple Avenue, on the right when traveling east. The marker is in Elmside Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Madison WI 53704, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Let The Great Spirits Soar" (a few steps from this marker); Riley House (within shouting distance of this marker); Corry Carriage House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lt. Gerald Stull USAFLizard Effigy Mound (approx. ¼ mile away); "Elmside" (approx. 0.3 miles away); Herman J. Loftsgordon House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Olbrich Park (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Madison.
Regarding Bear and Lynx Effigy Mounds. According to a 1996 survey by Robert A. Birmingham and Katherine H. Rankin entitled Native American Mounds in Madison and Dane County, "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 extended along the north shore of Lake Monona. Once part of the Simeon Mills farm, this site was still a favored Winnebago campground as late as the late 19th century. Most of the mound cluster, which included a bird effigy with a reported wingspan of 568 feet, was destroyed by turn-of-the-century residential development. Nearby, the beautiful sculpture, entitled 'Let the Great Spirits Soar,' was carved by Harry Whitehorse, a Winnebago whose ancestors have lived in the Four Lakes area for hundreds
According to the Madison Landmarks Commission, "Overlooking Lake Monona are two well-preserved animal effigies [dated between 700 - 1200 A.D.]. Referred to for many years as a lynx and a bear, the actual animals or spirits that they were intended to represent is not entirely clear. These mounds were originally part of the same cluster as the Hudson Park mound.
"Wisconsin has the highest concentration of effigy mounds in the United States and the Madison area has one of the highest concentration of effigy mounds remaining. Most mounds were lost to 19th century agricultural practices and city development. The mound builders were farmers who also engaged in hunting and gathering. They lived in small villages and migrated from one to another based on the seasonal availability of natural resources. The mounds often, but not always, have burials associated with them, but their exact purpose is not entirely understood. Mounds tend to have been built in places with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The mounds are considered sacred by modern Native Americans and should be treated with respect."
Credits. This page was last revised on October 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,377 times since then and 19 times this year. Last updated on July 24, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 16, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on July 24, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.