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The sacred red earth found at Pipestone National Monument was romanticized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his well known poem ... The Song of Hiawatha.


The Sacred Red Earth: Pipestone National Monument

Pipestone National Monument preserves land that today is still sacred to most American Indians. For centuries tribes from the surrounding states traveled to this area to quarry the pipestone (calamite) used to make their ceremonial calumets. Click here and here to learn more.

At the visitor center, American Indian craft workers provide demonstrations on the vanishing art form of pipemaking. The pipes they carve can be purchased for one or two hundred dollars ... but we resisted the temptation to own one. The small museum was educational and had many vintage pipes on display.

Danny found the carving on this pipe especially appealing.

Outside the Visitor Center a short trail loops through the quarry. One of the more dramatic sights is where Pipestone Creek flows over the edge of a quartzite cliff, creating Winnewissa Falls.

Several graffiti covered rocks of historical note are found along the trail. One notable expedition in 1838 was led by Joseph N. Nicollet, an early French explorer famous for developing the first map of the Upper Mississippi area. John C. Fremont received his training on this mission that in due course led to his celebrity as "The Pathfinder."

After almost 130 years it is extremely hard to read. Fortunately there was an informative sign next to the rock ... and even that was a bit challenging to figure out!

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