Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, W.Va.

On our trip to W. Va. we visited our friend’s work place — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex.

Entrance of Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, W.Va.

This is the site of a 70-foot Native American burial ground, a feature of the Adena culture. Our friend explained that Adena is usually considered a separate people or tribe, but it’s really a tradition or culture shared by several different tribes. It would take a conference and agreement by the archaeological community to change exhibits and info around the country, he said.

Some Adena artifacts.

We visited another such burial ground in Ohio — Serpent Mounds. Both included exhibits with similar information.

At Grave Creek we walked to the top of the mound and overlooked Moundsville.

View of Moundsville, W.Va., from atop the mound.

At the foot of the mound was a small interpretive garden showing how people of the Adena era would have grown their vegetables and what types. Tomatoes and other vines, for instance, would be grown beside corn so that the plants could use the corn stalks as supports, clinging to them and they grew.

Interpretive garden at Grave Creek Mound.

The mound has been used for very interesting purposes throughout the years. My favorites — (1) an observatory was once built on top of the mound and (2) a race track was built around the foot of the mound and audiences could watch from the top.

Our friend gave us a tour of the museum’s research facility and library. Very interesting work and probably an archaeologist’s dream.

Before leaving, I grabbed a do-it-yourself scrapbook of printed out activity pages for kids. One page was for autographs of museum staff. So I took one and had our friend sign it.

I’m threading together the pages of the scrapbook.

Chris and I also stopped by the gift shop and bought some worry stones for family members. Just small, sweet stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Also at the museum are two exhibits — Homer Laughlin China Company and Fashion Dolls by Pete Ballard, a West Virginia native.

Homer Laughlin is the owner and maker of Fiesta ware and other dishes. I even saw my own Shakespeare Country dishes displayed there! Very cool. The company has operated in the area over 100 years.

I loved walking around and reading about Pete Ballard’s fashion dolls. He worked for many years as a costume designer. His knowledge and skills are exquisite! I loved learning about the 19th century fashions. I could have spent all day walking from doll to doll, studying the different styles and fabrics. But though my husband is patient, he’s not that patient!

One of many fashion dolls created by Pete Ballard.

I tried to find a website with Pete’s work but wasn’t able to. It would have been great if the pamphlet accompanying the exhibit and explaining each of the dolls would have included photos. I wish I could find a book on Ballard too, but haven’t found one.

Other things to do in Moundsville:

* Visit the Marx Brothers Toy Museum. You will see a variety of toys that you probably played with as a kid, such as toy soldiers and Big Wheels (mine was yellow and green and featured Kermit the Frog). We didn’t have time to visit, but maybe we will next time.

* Fosteria Glass Factory Museum. The glassware is no longer made in Moundsville, but there is a museum dedicated to the company’s history and products. The town is in process of tearing down the old factory. A building or two will still remain, I think. But the town’s historic factory will no longer be there. It’s being developed into a multi-use retain center.

* There are a lot of locally-owned businesses in the town and they’re a delight to check out. I checked out A Yarn Among Friends and bought some yarn for Christmas projects.

* In a later post, I’ll write about our tour of the former West Virginia Penitentiary. It was a maximum security prison that was closed down in 1995.

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