Pipestone National Monument 2008 . . . 
on our route to the Pacific Northwest


Updated: 11/30/08



a f0801 pipestone logo_177_1.jpg (54050 bytes)a f0801 pipestone sign_101_1.JPG (48421 bytes)Within this park are the pipestone quarries where the red stone used by American Indians to make ceremonial pipes is found. Stone pipes were used by the Indians of North America. This location came to be the preferred source of pipe stone among the Plains tribes. 

Only Native Americans are allowed to quarry pipe stone.






a f0801 pipestone hands on rocks_135_1.JPG (36524 bytes)On display were pieces of pipestone for visitors to try their hand at carving. The stone is soft, easily worked with hand tools. Fred and I both tried our hand at marking up the samples.







a f0801 pipestone artist_141_1.JPG (47604 bytes)Two artisans were working while we were there. 

          a f0801 pipestone artist 2_160_1.JPG (48801 bytes)          a f0801 pipestone rough heads_157_1.JPG (38866 bytes)



Pipe bowls of all shapes and sizes were on display. 


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The pipe stone was also used to make tobacco cutting stones and pipe stokers.


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a f0801 pipestone headdress_123_1.JPG (50392 bytes)a f0801 pipestone mandan nut_112_1.JPG (45256 bytes)The ceremonial pipe, common to the upper mid-west Native Americans, was used in all ceremonies.

<  This picture is of the inside of a Mandan Hut.

The pipe has great significance  along with the ceremonial headdress.

            a f0801 pipestone peace words_118_1.JPG (29291 bytes)            




a f0801 pipestone blank crude_115_1.JPG (29301 bytes)It was interesting that pipe bowls were purchased by other Native American tribes in rough condition. They would then finished the pipe bowl with designs and symbols of their own choosing. 






These petroglyphs found in the park were displayed in the visitors center.


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This image of a pipe was said to have been found naturally in a quarry. 


a f0801 pipestone pipe natural_174_1.JPG (23448 bytes)




a f0801 pipestone gift shop_142_1.JPG (43244 bytes)a f0801 pipestone gift shop_178_1.JPG (53371 bytes)The gift shop had a big selection of items including finished pipes. 

Some pipes were very expensive.






A  3/4 mile self-guided walking trail began and ended at the visitors center. Points of interest were numbered and discussed in a guide book. You could purchase your own guide book or use one and return it at the end of the tour. 



a f0801 pipestone spotted quarry_190_1.JPG (83272 bytes)This is called the Spotted Pipestone Quarry because the pipestone rock in this quarry has spots on it. The is an active quarry. Most of the mining is done in the fall, when the weather is cooler and the water has evaporated.




Lake Hiawatha . . .


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Old Stone face . . .

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This marker commemorates the Nicollet expedition of 1838.  If you look closely, the second photograph shows the initials of the expedition members carved into the stone.


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The names of later settlers were also at this location.

a f0801 pipestone settlers_284_1.JPG (75039 bytes)    a f0801 pipestone settlers_278_1.JPG (65513 bytes)




a f0801 pipestone leaping rock_254_1.JPG (79929 bytes)Warriors are said to have used Leaping Rock to prove their bravery.  They would jump from the rock on the left to the one on the right and plant an arrow in a crack in the rock.






The Winnewissa Falls is a highlight of the walking trail.

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The face of the Oracle was difficult to find. This man standing on the rocks looking for it should have read the sign. The sign offered a little help.


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Legend says that from this rock formation, came messages from the Great Spirit.




a f0801 pipestone lichens_372_1.JPG (66708 bytes)The guide book explained in detail how lichens growing on this rock prepared the rock for other forms of vegetation to grow.

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a f0801 pipestone prairie_180_1.JPG (67434 bytes)The trail lead us through a  tall grass prairie. 







a f0801 pipestone quarry_387_1.JPG (71797 bytes)This 'retired' pipestone quarry shows how far below the surface the pipestone is found. The pipestone is at the bottom of the rock wall.

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As we were leaving Pipestone National Monument, we stopped to visit the Three Maidens.  With smaller fragments, they once formed one large single boulder some 50 feet in diameter. The boulder was deposited by glaciers. There are various legends regarding The Three Maidens, a popular Pipestone landmark.


a f0801 pipestone 3 maidens_394_1.JPG (55010 bytes)      a f0801 pipestone 3 maidens_400_1.JPG (47592 bytes)




a f0801 pipestone h pageant_404_1.JPG (44450 bytes)The weekend we were at Pipestone was the last performance of The Song of Hiawatha Pageant. After a 60 year run, the pageant was closing its doors.





The admission to Pipestone National Monument was $3 per person or $5 per family.




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