There is a new mound park that opened to the public yesterday. I received the notice in the mail Wednesday night, so I was off work yesterday and had time to check it out. Although I live just down the street from Marco, it is a whole different world for me. I was probably the only one there with a pick-up truck that had a garbage can in the back.
This mound is on south side of Marco Island. It is among the many houses of the area (that are obviously built on the remains of other mounds or sand dunes.) I only live 10 miles away, and would not have found this without printing up a map from yahoo. The street address is 1831 Addison Court, Marco Island, FL. There were not even signs from the streets directing people to the opening, and one of the main streets I had to turn down was closed by construction, so I had to go around. After circling around the different streets, I finally found the park. This makes me think that maybe the city doesn't want people to visit this park.
This is one of the last remaining mounds on Marco Island, the former location of a huge and spectacular mound complex.
The park is named for an early settler there by the name of Ed Otter; not the furry creature that hangs around in canals along south Florida. Ed's house once stood on the mound, but burned down in 1978. All that remains is a wooded outhouse, that is considered a historical structure. I wish that had been removed also, because it seems like an insult to have it remain.
The people who settled here in the last hundred years terraced the sides of the mound with conch shells recovered from the local mounds, and planted many exotic plants. There are three large interpretive panels on top along the paths that have about the local history. There appears to be no security to the park, and I hope it won't turn out like so many others I have seen that are vandalized and the interpretive panels destroyed.
At the opening ceremony, they recognized the people whom the land was purchased by the Conservation Collier program. Those people were conspicuously absent. And I got the sense that the people present didn't know anything about historic preservation or archaeological site preservation--they were here for the ribbon cutting ceremony. I hope they can learn to appreciate this important remnant of once powerful Calusa that lived here. One of the local boys who looked to be about 8 years old was digging tiny artifacts out of the surface and taking them to the local archaeologists. No one else seemed concerned, and that is when I decided to leave.