Hokah, Minnesota Effigy Mounds

Hokah Effigy Mounds (21HU11)
Hokah, Houston County, Minnesota

Figure 1. T.H. Lewis' 1884 surveying map of the Hokah Effigy Mounds superimposed on an aerial photo.

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T.H. Lewis described the Hokah Mounds in an article in Science (Vol. 106, 1885):

"There are three mounds on the public square, one being a bird effigy, [Figure 2B] 70 ft. above the Root River, its height being 1 1/2 ft. Length of body is 87 ft., span of wings is 225 ft. The wings of this effigy are slightly flexed backward. The body is rounded at its extremity. A smaller bird effigy, [Figure 2C] 60 ft. above the river... has no flexure in its wings and has a rectangular termination of its body. Another animal effigy [Figure 2A] is on lot 1, block 17, at 95 ft. above the river. From the extremity of the snout to the tip of the tail, its length in a right line is just sixty-two and a half feet, and the body is a foot and a half in height.... Formerly there existed several other effigies, and thirty or forty mounds and embankments, on the same terrace with the birds, which have been removed in grading streets and lots."

Figure 2. (A) shows Hokah's animal effigy (deer? fox?), (B) shows the 225 foot wingspan bird effigy formerly in the middle of Hokah, and (C) shows another smaller bird effigy.

The animal effigy shown in Figure 2A could be a deer, but has a somewhat long tail for that representation. Something odd to note is that while the animal effigy follows the rule of heading in the direction of the flow of the Root River, its feet are on the opposite side from the waterway. The birds appear to be flying in the direction of the flow of the Mississippi River.