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Mile Marker

Midland Trail - An Illustrated History

First exhibit unveiled at South Charleston Adena burial mound on July 28, 2010 before a crowd of about 75 friends and supporters of Midland Trail Scenic Highway/US Route 60. This is the first of six planned exhibits that utilize original works of art to tell the history of the Midland Trail/US Route 60, through outdoor public art exhibits.

Mound Builders of the Kanawha Valley

Midland Trail’s new 5-panel wayside exhibit uses original artwork to give visitors a glimpse of life in the Kanawha Valley between 500 BC and AD 150. Learn about the fascinating culture of the Adena people who built earthworks and over 50 burial mounds in the area, their lives, and the artifacts found in the 1883 Mound excavation. Outdoor exhibit is located at the South Charleston Creel Mound on US Route 60/Midland Trail at D Street in South Charleston, Mile Marker 53.

A Day In the Life of Adena, the keystone in the 5-panel exhibit, utilizes a painting by Bruce Erikson to show life in the Kanawha Valley in 500BC to 149 AD.

Adena Way of Life

Panel 1:  Kanawha Valley Mound Builders

Sometime between 500 B.C. - A.D. 150, an ancient culture built an extensive complex of 50+ burial mounds and earthworks throughout the Kanawha River Valley. It took over a million baskets of dirt to build just this one mound -- and there were over 50, plus several earthenworks in the immediate area. This panel also has a locating map showing the original and the three existing mounds. And a map showing that the Kanawha Valley once boasted the largest concentration of Adena burial mounds in the entire Ohio River basin.

Kanawha Valley Mound Builders

Panel 2  - Ancient 500BC Culture Unearthed

Details the 1883 Smithsonian Institution excavation of the South Charleston Creel (Criel) Mound, which unearthed remains of an elaborate burial tomb, 13 skeletons, and many artifacts dating to 500-100 B.C. This mound’s master tomb burial ritual indicates a culture with a social hierarchy, who honored their dead. The upper tomb suggests that it could have been used for burials across hundreds of years.

Ancient 500 B.C. Culture Unearthed

Panel 3 Adena Trade and Technology

The Adena had extensive trade routes, planted crops and began settling in small farmsteads.

Adena Trade and Technology

Panel 4 Respect for an Ancient Culture

For over 10,000 years, people have been drawn to the Kanawha River Valley. Arcadia encampments, like this, existed along the Kanawha River in 8500 B.C., long before the Adena (500BC).

Respect for an Ancient Culture

This interpretive exhibit, created to foster appreciation for the Kanawha Valley’s prehistoric era, was made possible by the collaborative efforts of several organizations and individuals. This is a Project of The Midland Trail Scenic Highway Association, Inc. Alice Hypes, Executive Director and Aaron Kenstler, Designer.

Jointly Funded by: US Department o f Transportation National Scenic Byways Program; WV Division of Highways Scenic Byways Program Karen Ebert Allen, Director; WV Department of Commerce; WV Humanities Council Ken Sullivan, Executive Director;  Sustainable Kanawha Valley Initiative and The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation

Consulting Archeologists: Darla I. Spencer, RPA and Robert F. Maslowski, Ph.D.

Consulting Historian: Billy Joe Peyton, Ph.D.

Artists: Bruce Erikson, Aaron Kenstler, Michael A. Hampshire, and  Susan Walton

With Special Thanks to
City of South Charleston; South Charleston Historical Landmarks Commission, Margie Spence, President; US National Park Service Commissioned Art Collection

Mound Explorations of the Bureau of Ethnology. Cyrus Thomas, 1894. Ohio Historical Society Ohio Archaeology. Brad T. Lepper, 2005 The Moundbuilders. George R. Milner, 2004 Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Vol. 6, Ch.1 Adena, Peter N. Peregrine and Melvin Ember, 2001

©2010 Midland Trail Scenic Highway Association, Inc
. – All Rights reserved. No part of this exhibit, text or images may be reproduced or used in any manner without our express written permission.

Members of the Press – please contact MTSHA at 304-343-6001 for high resolution images and other photos to accompany news stories.


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Sign and Illustrations

This photograph taken July 28, 2010, day the exhibit was first unveiled, shows two of the original works of art commissioned for the exhibit and the installed panel, A Day In the Life of Adena.

(c) Copyright 2011 Midland Trail Scenic Highway Association     2504 Kanawha Blvd. E.   Charleston, WV 25311     ph:(304)343-6001     fx:(304)344-2210