Indian Mounds on Grandview Avenue

Published November 10, 2013 by justicewg

I’m working on a story about a forgotten piece of land on the edge of Grandview that will soon have a lot of visitors and will become more important. As often happens in the process of digging through the info dump I came up with a different story that is quite interesting.

Franklin co Indian Mounds

In searching old maps of the city I found this 1914 Atlas that showed the reported Indian mounds and other ancient structures in Franklin County. Our county once had dozens of sites, possibly because of the density of Adena habitation, maybe because large number of amateur archeologists who had scoured the county for every possible lump in the land that might be an Indian mound.

Grandview Indian Mounds

This closeup of the area around Grandview shows three mounds. The Shrum Mound on McKinley Ave is the red triangle on the left side of the map. This matches the present location fairly well, maybe the triangle should be a little further south and west. This mound is one of the best preserved in the state, at 20 feet tall with a diameter of 100 feet it is an impressive artifact.


Toepfner mound

The second red triangle is the Toepfner mound on Dublin Road just east of Grandview Avenue. The story of how this mound was threatened with destruction then finally allowed a professional archeological excavation in 1953 has been told in many stories.

That third triangle is the really interesting one. It doesn’t match any commonly known sites. If we were to go by the apparent location on the old map, it would be somewhere in the center of the city to the east of Grandview Avenue.

In 2005 Tom DeMaria wrote a story for the Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Historical Society in which he researched the history of this third mound. He found a Grandview resident who remembered the mound, which had been located where the city fire department now stands. Unlike the Toepfner mound this one had only been excavated by a local amateur.

“The mound on the municipal building site was described by Rodgers as being smaller than the Toepfner mound and about ten feet in height and possibly sixty-five feet in diameter at the base. Mr. Pope exhumed from the upper levels of the mound five skeletons that “were placed in a sitting position.”Our current understanding suggests that the use of this presumed Adena mound as a mortuary was highly unusual.”

The municipal building was subsequently built on the site in 1924. Nothing was mentioned about how the mound was treated in the construction, at that time it would have been considered acceptable to bulldoze the remainder of the mound and place the building on top. Given the lack of Poltergeist stories from the city buildings I presume these Native Americans were able to rest in peace.


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