The Norton Indian Mounds near Grand Rapids were named after Captain A.N. Norton, who owned this land in the 1800’s.

What exactly are these mounds?

Basically, they are burial mounds that not only contain the dead, but many, many offerings, remembrances, and items that were placed by friends, family, and tribe members. Arrowheads, beads, cups, dishes, jars, pearls, pipes, eating utensils and other items have been uncovered.

The mounds were made in layers: black dirt followed with ash, a cap, and sod. Below all the layers are where the burial chambers lie with the dead and the offerings.

The mounds were discovered after the ground was excavated in 1874, and after studies were made, it was announced that these mounds dated back as far as the first century AD.

In 1936, the mound area became a local park, an entry on the Michigan Register of Historic Sites in 1957, and a designated National Historic Landmark in 1965.

These are awesome, centuries-old remnants of a long-gone culture that is a thrill to see, but only if you know what they are. Anyone else coming across them might just think they’re nothing but natural hills. Unfortunately, there have been a handful of thrill-seekers and vandals who attempted to dig up the mounds to see what they could find…the area is currently off-limits to the public.

The mounds are between Indian Mounds Drive and I-96 near the Grand River, two miles south of Grand Rapids. Check out the photos below!