Video: Cedarville’s Indian Mound park a place to hike, see history and study rocks

Editor’s note: This multimedia package was produced by students in the Multiplatform Journalism 2 class during the spring semester.

Story and video by Bella Agnello, Balen Allain, Andrew Spencer, Carolina Zimbron, Hannah Newman and Emily Tuttle

Once upon a time, Native Americans roamed the forests of Cedarville, Ohio. Now, there are only pieces of their presence at the Indian Mound Reserve: a park dedicated to a Native American mound from centuries in the past.

The Indian Mound Reserve is a Greene County park that houses the Indian Mound, Peterson Park and Cedar Cliff Falls. The Mound – 30 feet high and 140 feet in diameter – is believed to have been created between 500 B.C. and 100 A.D. by the Adenas, natives of Southwest Ohio, who died off before Europeans voyaged to the area. While some believed the mound to be a Native American burial site, the spot is generally understood to be either a lookout or a mecca for pilgrimages.

In 1929, the Indian Mound officially became known as the Williamson Indian Mound, named after David S. Williamson who donated the land to the Ohio State Historical Society. A plaque located next to the mound thanks Williamson for his public donation.

Hikers can read this plaque before making their way up the mound, where they can get a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area. Adventurers love to come to the reserve not only for the historical value but also for the natural landscape and scenic trails. 

For hiking enthusiasts like Laurel Brown, a Cedarville University student, there are many caves and falls around the mound that keep them coming back for more. As Brown explores new trails and caves, the sights spark her curiosity for geology.

“There’s a little area that has a waterfall that you can jump in and also swim behind,” Brown said. “And there’s also a little cave behind it, which is pretty cool.”

Dr. John Whitmore, a professor of Geology at Cedarville, takes students to the river near the Indian Mound to look for unique rock formations. Understanding the history of the area allows students to view the reserve through a geological lens.

“That is really important for young geology majors to begin to get their hands and feet dirty,” Whitmore said. “Get out in the field and look at real things.”

The Indian Mound Reserve allows hikers to enjoy nature and stay curious about the world around them, while at the same time giving college students the opportunity to study geology. It curates opportunities for both hikers and future professionals to look at nature from a different perspective and engage in their craft.

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