Sugarloaf Mound

Discuss construction activity, major renovations, office projects, streetscape improvements, etc. in South City -- defined by the area south of Interstate 44/55.
The Beacon ran a great piece on Sugarloaf Mound's future.

The stretch of trapped green space that its in is rather cut off and unused. Thinking about the fantastic mounds in Gyeongju, South Korea I decided to put some pictures together for a blog post about it.


If the Osage Nation is taking over the property and some of the nearby parcels to make an interpretive center and semi-park-like space then... why not make it a city park maintained by them? In fact, apply for an extension of the UNESCO designation for Cahokia Mounds to include it. Do it proper.

It fits perfectly into the River Ring concept pursued by Great Rivers Greenway. The riverfront trail hasn't extended south yet. A park starting at Potomac would easily connect to Cherokee Street.


Osage Park or Sugarloaf Park would be fitting names.


Seriously, what else is this space being used for right now? Billboards?


Cherokee + Osage = Sugarloaf Park
I couldn't agree more Daron. I worked closely with the Osage etc. on the acquisition and am familiar with the tribe's aspirations for a park and interpretive center. However, there are a couple of caveats and hurdles. 1. The more publicity this idea gets, the greater the chance of a land speculator buying up some of these parcels and holding them ransom. 2. Principal Chief Jim Gray, who was really the driving force behind this project, was recently ousted and his opponent actually used the acquisition of the property against him, saying it was not a good use of tribe money (my understanding). It seems there is not exactly a consensus within the tribe regarding how they are going to deal with the property in the future. At the end of the day, it would make a great park. The view toward the river is excellent and, of course, the mound itself is by far the oldest man-made structure in the city. GRG and the folks that are working on the Mounds Heritage Trail are well aware of the capacity of the land to fit into a south-riverfront trail, so that is a real possibility in the future. Unfortunately, the land is really cut off by the highway. One more note; if anyone is interested in seeing the property, I highly recommend viewing it only from the street. Because of the sacred nature of the site and the disgusting behavior of looters, the Osage, the police, and a network of volunteers are closely watching the property and will not take kindly to trespassing. An organized and authorized tour of the property can be set up by Landmarks Association if anyone wants to get a group together.
So the Landmarks Association considers the mound a priority?

Isn't most of the land owned by the city or MoDOT?

Not that Cherokee Street is flush with money, but if the park became the street's terminus, I believe a lot of dedicated people could line up behind the idea.

The highway isn't much of a barrier as long as there's access at both ends of the park. Access in the middle could be worked out later. If it's part of a larger trail network, people would surely find their way there.
The organization immediately jumped when the property came for sale and began coordinating with various stakeholders to try to find a way to preserve the land. The mound is a Landmark for St. Louis in the truest sense of the word, being the sole survivor of St. Louis' original architecture and having been used as a surveying point for the original town survey of 1809. I hope that there is a bright future for the property, where citizens can enjoy the land and learn about the prehistory of the city.

Any chance of getting it grouped into the UNESCO site designation with Cahokia Mounds? I've visited a few dozen UNESCO sites that incorportated distant places into a ******* Area. The mounds posted above are part of a UNESCO area that includes random temples, burial sites, and even a man-made lake.

Sugarloaf and Monk's Mounds are far apart, but they're conceptually linked, and should have the same protections (or better, every time I've visited Monk's Mound I've seen evidence of erosion)

Anyway, the UNESCO designation brings some professional assistance and a better a better chance and grant money, I'm sure.
There's an interesting, modern take on the city's indian mounds in the front room at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. It's only up for a couple more days, but it's worth checking out.
As far as lumping it with Cahokia and the UNESCO designation, it is not likely. There are many mounds extant in the area, especially on the East Side, which are 1. closer to Cahokia than Sugarloaf, 2. Definitely associated with Mississippian settlement, 3. More intact, and still not part of the UNESCO designation. Sugarloaf, if Mississippian, would have been related to the greater Cahokian sphere of influence, but archaeologists are not really sure what the relationship would have been. Considering it has been heavily altered and we are not even sure that it is Mississippian, it would be a long stretch to get UNESCO designation. As far as erosion goes on Monks Mound, that is a major problem and one that they have been struggling to overcome for decades. They have problems with water percolating through the mound and causing slumping. They actually installed a drainage system in some of the worst parts and have rebuilt severely slumped sections, but it will always be a battle. Same with Sugarloaf. The southern end of the structure was truncated by the construction of a quarry access road, probably in the early 20th century. As a result, it is artificially steep and the covered with invasive brush amidst exposed, eroding earth. It needs stabilization in a bad way.
Baby steps, but progress never-the-less: ... ign=LEEDCC