The Indian Head and Savanna Landmarks

10 Jan

After I posted the picture of Betty on the Indian Head, it occurred to me that not everyone would know about Savanna‘s landmarks. The Indian Head

Indian Head postcard about 1940.

Indian Head postcard about 1940.

is one of many limestone rock formations that are in the Mississippi Palisades State Park. From a distance the formation looks like a face and through my youth there was a small cedar tree at the back of the head that looked like a feather. When Betty was a teenager, her friends used a plank so she could sit on the top. The gap has now wider and sitting on the top would be against the rules. It might have been against the rules at that time as well.

There had been a number of businesses in town who incorporated “Indian” or “Blackhawk” into their name from the Blackhawk Indians who had populated the area. The  Indian Head Supper Club and Motel located near the state park burned to the ground years ago. There is also a Blackhawk Credit Union and even the sports team of the Savanna Community High School were the Indians (they are now the West Carroll High School Thunder.) When my cousin Sally Pannell (a year older than my brother, Gary) was a cheerleader, Grandma Katie was commissioned to make red uniforms with lots of white fringe.

Cheer leaders 1963

Cheer leaders 1963

The cheerleaders were still adding feathers to the outfits when I was a sophomore but had switched to regular sweaters and skirts by the time I graduated.

State Park old postcard

State Park old postcard

Another land mark for the State Park is the Big Spring where Betty liked to get her drinking water. It has a strong taste of iron but was much better than the city water at the time. The Park also has two limestone columns called the Twin Sisters. This formation is not as easily visible from the highway and even the roads and trails no longer highlight it. It would no longer be considered safe for the many rock climbers who come to the park.

Additionally there are a few caves that go straight down along some of the hiking trails. The largest cave is Big Bob Upton Cave

Lyle, Greg and Doug  April 1982

Lyle, Greg and Doug April 1982

where a settler was alleged to have hidden from a Blawkhawk raiding party. There is no longer a easy

Granddaughter Kitana at Bob Upton Cave

Granddaughter Kitana at Bob Upton Cave

pull-off in front of the cave but there are still trails and limestone steps to it. Above the big cave is a much smaller one which would have made a much better hiding place. There is no longer a trail to that cave. The original steps and trails were created by the CCC workers during the Depression. I made one trip to that small cave while I was in college and trips to the big cave with my sons, granddaughter and even my husband Harry.

The most notable landmark is the Savanna Sabula Bridge across the Mississippi just north of town.Bridge002

Savanna Sabula Bridge

Savanna Sabula Bridge

It is hard to take a photo south from any of the viewpoints off the State Park bluff road without including the bridge. The bridge is slated to be demolished as part of its replacement. The route is a vital link across the Mississippi and a new bridge would be a big improvement but it will be hard to lose this historic structure. Although there have been many changes in Savanna

Savanna of my youth

Savanna of my youth

over the decades like more antique shops and motorcycles, some things just shouldn’t disappear.

I will add more pictures to this post as I locate them.




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