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  • Guided Walk: Indigenous Earthwork (Indian Mound) on Lake Mendota's North Shore

Guided Walk: Indigenous Earthwork (Indian Mound) on Lake Mendota's North Shore

  • October 16, 2019
  • 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Mendota State Mental Institute, Administration Bldg Parking lot at 301 Troy Drive, Madison
  • 5


  • The member may register a guest.

Driving and Parking instructions will be emailed to you the week of the event.
Registration is closed

Registration will open September 18

Free to PLATO members and guests.

Registration is recommended.

Our Tour Guides: PLATO member and Madison Trust for Historic Preservation docent Teri Venker.  Teri has a lifelong interest in history and has been reading Native American history for over 30 years.

We have arranged for another well-known expert to guide a group through the mounds and introduce us to Governor's Island.

Indigenous Earthworks

We know pre-historic people greatly valued our Four Lakes (DeJope) area, because they built roughly 1,200 effigy (animal/spirit-shaped) and other mounds on the high grounds overlooking the lakes starting about 800 BC. While the vast majority was destroyed through development, Madison Trust for Historic Preservation docent Teri Venker will lead us on a two-mile walk where she will help us see remaining conical, linear, and effigy mounds. She will also share the fascinating background of the indigenous people who lived, traded, hunted and fished the shores of Lake Mendota going back 10,000 years. By the end, you will know what to look for in finding the indigenous earthworks that we so often overlook in our midst.

The Walk

We will walk on relatively flat paths and roadway surfaces with some stretches of slight elevation will lead us to two outstanding Mound groupings..

Optional Tour

We will have an opportunity to be introduced to Governors Island as it adjoins the Institute property.  If time permits, we will walk onto the Island for some discovery.

A three mile walk along a roadway and lawn makes this walk one of the more accessible we'll offer this year.


Our leader will have a microphone along to assist in delivering her message clearly as possible.

Driving and Parking Information:

Take highway 113 heading out of Madison.  Turn left onto Troy Drive and another left onto  Main Drive (Mendota Mental Health Institute Grounds).  Set back on the right is the Administration building.  Park in this lot under the shade trees, if possible..

The trailhead begins at the  parking lot in front of the main Administration building on the grounds of the Mendota Mental Health Institute.

We'll walk from there, mainly on road but at some points we will be on lawns, which may still be wet with dew at that time of day.

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

For more information about PLATO, contact:

Edie Urness-Pondillo
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715
Email: info@platomadison.org
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

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