- Peebles, OH
- Site Type:
- Archaeology and History
- New Deal Agencies:
- Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Works Progress Administration (WPA), Civil Works Administration (CWA)
- Quality of Information:
- Very Good
Serpent Mound is the largest effigy mound in North America. The site is a National Historic Landmark and, with eight other Native American earthworks in Ohio, is on the US Tentative List of sites submitted to UNESCO as a proposed World Heritage Site. Several New Deal agencies contributed to the memorial site:
CWA (1933-34) – Funded surveys and topographic map of the mound and park, renovated historic-era buildings, planned and possibly initiated construction of two restroom buildings next to the parking lot. Restroom buildings used brick from the 1823 Second Baptist Church in Clarksville, OH (about 47 miles WNW of Serpent Mound) that was purchased and dismantled by CWA.
FERA (Transient Division) (1933-September 1935) – Completed the restroom building, landscaping work including removing trees planted in the teens and mound restoration with soil from the restroom construction and parking lot work, improvements to an ephemeral stream in the Southeast corner of the property near the probable FERA camp site, and (probably) grading and decorative wall construction in the parking lot.
WPA (September 1935-1938) – Removed historic-era buildings (1902 custodian’s house, barn, and chicken coop, 1927 garage, and undated log cabin near the Serpent’s tail), removed privet fence (planted 1924) near the tail, and built a new park entrance and superintendent’s house and garage. After FERA was discontinued, the transient camp at Serpent Mound operated until March 1936.
CCC (1938) – Completed site cleanup work at superintendent’s house after WPA funding ran out and restored the Gorge Trail. There was no CCC camp at Serpent Mound, labor was provided from Camp Pine Gap near Peebles.
Private conversation with museum attendant (name not recorded), 6/3/2023, relating (incorrectly, as it turns out) staff attribution of restrooms and museum building to “WPA” and use of reclaimed materials in museum. The present museum building and overlook at the head of the Serpent predate the New Deal.
R. Krupp, “New Deal, New Serpent: Public Works Projects at Serpent Mound State Memorial”, Journal of Ohio Archaeology 7:56-83, 2020, https://ohioarchaeology.org/file_download/inline/27ab9a9a-0dd9-465a-aa65-ac6bf342dce3 (ohioarchaeology.org)
Site originally submitted by Gina Logan on June 7, 2023.
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