Mendota Hospital Mounds


The land on the northwest shore of Lake Mendota used to be home to over 50 Indian mounds in three clusters. Today, it is home to the Mendota Mental Health Institute. In honor of these mounds, the Mendota Mental Health’s Institute uses an eagle as its logo to represent the largest of these effigy mounds.

One of the clusters, which was located on the eastern side of the grounds, was completely destroyed. It was made up of mounds in the shapes of a fox, thunderbird, falcon and possibly other animals.

The western cluster consists of conical and linear mounds.

Perhaps the most amazing of these mounds is the central cluster because it includes the world’s largest eagle effigy mound. With a 624-feet wingspan and 131-foot body, it is amazing this eagle effigy mound is as well preserved as it is.

Archaeologists believe that several of the mounds on the grounds of Mendota Mental Health Institute (including the turtle, deer and eagle) are aligned to correspond with the moon, sun, and North Star.


Elevated view of a four-footed American Indian effigy mound on the grounds of the Mendota State Hospital (Mendota Mental Health Institute). Photo by George R. Fox, 1919.


Effigy mound of Mendota Hospital. Photo by Jason Tish, 2012. 


Effigy Mounds - Mendota State Hospital Group, Madison, WI 06-29-2012 119

Effigy Mounds – Mendota State Hospital Group, Madison, WI 06-29-2012 by RA Hurd


"Eagle mound at MMHI panorama" by JamesSteakley

“Eagle mound at MMHI panorama” by JamesSteakley

Effigy Mound - Mendota Mental Health Institute, Madison, Wisconsin e


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