Intrigued by Roger Brown’s painting “Ohio Snake Mound” the first part of our route to Alabama was to take a small (3 hour) detour to see the Serpent Mound close to Peebles Ohio. It became immediately clear that the landscape that is depicted in the painting is an emblematic representation of the situation.

Roger Brown, Ohio Snake Mound, Oil on Canvas, 72"x56" 1973

Roger Brown, Ohio Snake Mound, Oil on Canvas, 72"x56" 1973

The mound is certainly surrounded by a very dense mixed woodland and there are indeed burial mounds on the site. The vantage point in the photograph below is from an observation tower which provides a high viewpoint very much like the one that Brown painted.

The Serpent Mound, at Peebles Ohio.

The Serpent Mound, at Peebles Ohio.

The serpentine shaped mound it thought to date from around 1500 to 2000 years ago. It’s an intriguing site with a very compact museum, visitors center and gift store. A number of displays show a range of archeological finds and speculatively describe the lives of the eastern tribes that are thought to have created the mounds. One of the displays has a series of scale model reconstructions of the mounds, showing the layers of earth, sand and shale and the usual organization of human remains in a mound of this kind. This site in many ways resembles other sites of this kind both along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and across the regions to the south and all the way to the gulf of Mexico.

A display model in the museum at the Serpent Mound in Ohio.

By total contrast but adding to the wonders of the day, the first night on the road was spent at the ‘Wigwam Village Inn #2’ in Cave City, Kentucky. This rather optimistic motel was developed by the enterprising Frank A. Redford in the 1930’s. One of a chain of seven, three remain in use under independent ownership, #2 in Cave City KY, #6b in Holbrook AZ and #7 in Rialto CA. The simplicity of the accommodation is part of its charm, the age of the fixtures and fittings now contribute to making a stay in one of these concrete teepee’s very memorable, and enjoyable.

Fabricated from concrete, each ‘wigwam’ has two windows on either side of the lower structure allowing limited views out from the compact bedroom.  An equally compact bathroom is located to the rear with a thematic zigzag motif in the chair rail of the tiled wall and in the tiled mosaic on the floor.

The Wigwam Village Inn #2 at Cave City KY.

The Wigwam Village Inn #2 at Cave City KY.

The neon street sign at the Wigwam Village Inn #2.

For more detail check out the discreet Road Trip section of this blog – Two Projects and a Road Trip – September 2011

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