From Rails to Trails Magazine’s Spring/Summer 2019 issue
Native American Landmarks Along the Great River Trail
The Great River Trail spans over 60 miles of Illinois terrain alongside the Mississippi River, taking trail users past various historical sites, including two Native American landmarks, on its way from Savanna to Rock Island. About midway along the trail, you’ll find the Albany Indian Mounds State Historic Site, a burial site for a Native American group named the Hopewell after an Ohio town where similar mounds have been discovered. The Hopewell died out around 350 A.D., and little is known about them.
Near the south end of the trail in Rock Island, the Black Hawk State Historic Site commemorates the Sauk and Meskwaki people. The site is built atop the former Sauk village of Saukenuk, where Black Hawk, a band leader and warrior of the Sauk, was born. Black Hawk spent much of his life fighting for his tribe and his home, joining alongside the British during the War of 1812 and leading about 1,500 followers in the deadly Black Hawk War of 1832. At the historic site, visitors can view tribal artifacts and exhibits, as well as a to-scale model of the city that Black Hawk fought so many battles for. Read about more historical connections along the Great American Rail-Trail here.