East Side Mounds

January 18, 2010

This weekend a buddy of mine from Edwardsville commented to me about the view of mounds along Highway 55/70 approaching St. Louis.  The first mound that draws the eye while heading westbound is Monk’s Mound of Cahokia mounds.  This is arguably the most significant archaeological site in the United States.  Soon after passing this mound however, drivers encounter an even more massive mound, the Milam Landfill.  As I was listening to this account I found a couple of similar reflections on this juxtaposition that are very interesting: a blog entry from Trailer Courier and a story from NPR.  I set out the next day to view this for myself and found that the smell from the landfill was almost more prominent than its massive presence.  Because of this smell I drove directly to Monk’s Mound and ended up enjoying a very pleasant climb and view.

Downtown and the Landfill from Monk's Mound

I chose a foggy afternoon which did not make for the best photo, but towards the right of the shot you can get a decent idea of how large this landmark to our wasteful lifestyle is (from several miles away).


  1. I’ve remarked to my students the irony that we’ve made a larger mound of garbage over the last couple decades than the original Monk’s Mound. Sad commentary, though perhaps it can function as a temple to consumerism.

    • Well I’m sure the landfill will make an interesting archaeological dig someday at least.

  2. I love finding little gems like this around our area to check out. The trash thing is kind of sad. Maybe when the snow clears me and wife will head up there. Is it a protected area?

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