In this area, Native Americans of the Woodland Culture of 800 to 1200 A.D. sculpted earthen "effigy" mounds on ridge tops, in the shapes of animals, to celebrate their oneness with Mother Earth. Many of these mounds remain today as a monument to these people and a reminder to us that we are also of the earth.
In 1673, the first white men to see what is now Iowa, explorer Louis Joliet and Father James Marquette, reached the mouth of the Wisconsin River and beheld the great, unknown river now known as the Mississippi. After the Louisiana Purchase, the government sent Zebulon Pike in 1805 to explore the Mississippi valley and select locations suitable for military posts. Pike recognized the park site as an important, strategic point, and an excellent location for a fort. The government agreed on the vicinity but selected the prairie around Prairie du Chien (now Wisconsin) for the fort. Several years later, Pike was again sent westward by the government and named Pikes Peak in Colorado.
In 1837, Alexander McGregor established a ferry across the Mississippi River. McGregor's Landing was established at the site of the town that now bears his name. When Mrs. Munn, the grand-niece of McGregor, died, her will provided that Pikes Peak be given to the federal government as a gift. The land had been inherited from McGregor. It was later conveyed by Congress to the State of Iowa and became Pikes Peak and Point Ann State Parks in 1935. Mrs. Munn had never allowed settlers on the land and as a result, the landscape at Pikes Peak today probably does not vary much from the way it was hundreds of years ago.
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