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A Brief History of the Myrick Park and the Greater La Crosse Area

The narrative for human history in Wisconsin starts somewhere around 12,000 years ago as early humans moved across the continent from the west.  Here in the Wisconsin Driftless Region and the greater La Crosse area there are two cultures that emerged early during the Woodland time period between 500 B.C. and continuing to 1650 A.D.  The area’s first farmers the Mississippian and Oneota cultures, were some of the largest influential cultures in the upper Midwest.

The Mississippian culture is most well-known for their large extensive trade network and influence.  Spanning almost the entire length of the Mississippi and extending into major tributaries like the Ohio River Valley, and the Tennessee River Valley archaeologists today can see evidence of their culture through their large earthen mounds and material culture.  There are two major Mississippian sites near La Crosse, the largest being Aztalan State Park, which is in between Madison and Milwaukee and the second located in Perrot State Park, near Trempealeau. Their culture existed in Wisconsin for about 600 years until about 1650 C.E.

The Oneota, a culture that was more local to the La Crosse area emerged around 1200 C.E. merging with other tribes in the region by 1650 C.E. Preferring to live in small semi-permanent villages, the Oneota would migrate around large rivers and lakes in the area where they farmed crops in addition to harvesting wild foods and game.

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