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Historical Sites of Grand Rapids

 

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Civil War
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Pearl St. Bridge
Sixth St. Bridge
Voigt House
Meyer May House
Indian Mounds
Heritage Hills
Pantlind Hotel
McKay Tower
Fulton St. Cemetery

 

Indian Mounds -     According to research, a group of prehistoric people known as the Hopewell began settling in the Great Lakes region around 100 B.C.  These people built their villages along the banks of the Grand River and grew crops such as corn, squash and beans.  They lived in this area for nearly 500 years.

    Archeologist believed they gathered each summer along the river to bury their dead.   It was once believed that there were between 30-40 burial mounds along the west bank of the Grand River.  Today, the 17 remaining mounds are southwest of the city on the east bank of the Grand.  This group of mounds is known as the Norton Group and became city property in 1936 and were registered as a National Historic Site.

    The largest burial mound measured 100 feet in diameter and was 15 to 20 feet high.  These sites were placed on gravel deposits about five feet higher than the surrounding land.  Hopewell workers would dig down about two to three feet to the gravel level to form a pit.  Then they covered the floor of the pit with silt.  Silt is fine particles of earth and sand carried by moving water and deposited along the shore of a river or lake.  Then they laid down logs and dug shallow trenches in an alternating pattern.  At one end of the pit the workers placed a bark section and around the burial area they build a small, ramp-like structure with a small ledge.  After the deceased person was placed in this area with items from their culture, the area was covered over with soil carried to the site in baskets and then topped with a layer bark.  A second covering of soil and another layer of top fill were added to complete the mound.