The Tremper Mound and Works are a Hopewell earthen enclosure and large, irregularly shaped mound located near the intersection of Ohio 73 and Ohio 104 in Scioto County, Ohio, about five miles northwest of Portsmouth, Ohio, on the second terrace floodplain overlooking the Scioto River.
Hopewellian people gathered at these earthworks for feasts, funerals and rites of passage. Come learn about these sacred spaces and reflect upon the lives of these American Indians.
Tremper Mound was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Now, thanks to The Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail, they have two new signs – one on the fence and the other at the actual mound itself.
“The Tremper name comes from a family that was very important in the shoe-making business,” Cork Walker of the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail group said. “That might be how the Matthews (current owners) ended up buying that farm because they were in the shoe industry”
Walker said the farm is on over 500 acres and the mound is believed to have been worked on from 100 years BC to 500 AD and was used to bury people.
From the air there appears to be a form inside the mound that was originally thought to have been some sort of animal – maybe an elephant or a tapir, neither of which are indigenous to North America.
Walker said, when the ground was excavated by the Ohio Historical Society in 1915, they located 136 clay pipes and the clay to make the pipes came from northwest Illinois and copper used by the Hopewells came from Wisconsin, which he said meant the indians were nomadic.
“You can see a few of these pipes in our (Southern Ohio) museum,” Bill Tipton of Scenic Scioto said. “It’s a representation of what they found.”
For years a sign marking the mound was in place, but it has disappeared.
“What the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail has done is, we went out and replaced the sign, at almost exactly where the old sign was,” Tipton said. “Then, just to help people really be able to see the mound, we put a second sign right up on Tremper Mound.”
Walker was able to get permission from the Matthews family to erect the two signs.
“We’re trying to find a way to actually secure that property so that we can open it back up to where the public can go up and visit it,” Tipton said. “This mound is quite large. It probably covers six acres or so because you have the central mound and then you have the circular mound that goes all the way around it.”
The signs are, according to Tipton, part of the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail’s attempt to preserve and protect the beauty and the historical sites in Scioto County. Information is available on the Scenie Scioto Heritage Trail website.
“The Scenic Byway’s overall purpose is tourism,” Tipton said. “We want to try to help the local community by bringing tourists in here and showing them all the things that we have that they can go out and visit. We’re trying to get the public aware that we have this asset that can draw people into our area. If we can get the public behind us and if we can get the property owner to agree to sell it, then, of course, there would have to be a fundraising (effort) going on. So this is just the first step to make the public aware that it’s here.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.