Red Top, Etowah Indian Mounds pay homage to Bartow's heritage Saturday
by Marie Nesmith
Mar 13, 2014 | 1257 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Krupcale creates a personalized scratch block mold to later have iron poured into it to create a memento at the 2013 Red Top Mountain State Park’s Hills of Iron event. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
Jennifer Krupcale creates a personalized scratch block mold to later have iron poured into it to create a memento at the 2013 Red Top Mountain State Park’s Hills of Iron event. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
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Through a pair of events at Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites’ Cartersville venues, patrons will have the opportunity to revisit Bartow County’s past on Saturday. While Red Top Mountain State Park will spotlight the area’s iron mining heritage with Hills of Iron from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site will present Native American Heritage Day at Etowah from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Red Top’s Hills of Iron event will kick off at 10 a.m. with Interpretive Ranger Marcus Toft leading a 2-mile hike from the Iron Hill Trail parking lot to Allatoona Ore Bank.

“We’ll hike into the mine — it’s an open cut mine — [and] talk about the history of that mine and of the iron industry in the area, Red Top included,” Toft said. “And that’s what Hills of Iron is all about. It’s sort of a celebration of the park’s iron mining history but also Bartow County and the surrounding area.

“We hope that [people who attend the event] will gain an understanding and an appreciation of the impact that the iron industry has had, again, on Bartow County but also at the park. Even our name Red Top Mountain comes from the fact that our soil is very red because of all the iron in it. So our name comes from that. There’s evidence of that industry all over the park if you know where to look.”

Along with discovering one of the park’s iron mines, participants also can partake in a host of activities scheduled throughout the day, including visiting the blacksmith shop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; yard games behind the Park Office, 50 Lodge Road S.E., from 1 to 5 p.m.; and a round-robin cornhole tournament at 3 p.m.

The last program of the day will be an iron pour starting at 6 p.m. After firing up Maryanne, Red Top’s 8-foot-tall cupola furnace, iron pieces will be melted to form designs created by the public. Beginning at 2 p.m., participants will be able to purchase scratch block molds in two sizes for $8 or $15.

“[This is] probably the most popular part [of the event], because it’s very interactive,” Toft said. “... The process is very cool but then also the product of creating cast iron artwork. [The molds] will go on sale at 2 p.m. behind the Park Office. We always recommend people get there no later than 1 [p.m.].

“For the November iron pour last year, we sold out in nine minutes, which isn’t necessarily common but we do very frequently sell out. ... You can purchase them and we provide tools and all kinds of stuff for you to ... etch a design into it. Then that is what we’ll be filling with the molten iron during the iron pour.”

For more information, call 770-975-0055 or visit www.gastateparks.org/redtopmountain. To attend the free event, individuals will need to display an annual pass or a $5 daily ParkPass in their vehicle.

At the Etowah Indian Mounds, Native American Heritage Day will offer a beginner’s genealogy workshop at 10 a.m., a tools and weapons program around noon, children’s games and a lecture about prehistoric Cherokee and Creek culture by Max White at 2 p.m. Admission will be $6 for adults, $4 for youth 6 to 17 and $2 for children 5 and younger.

“The overall purpose [of the event is] to help people see our modern culture has been influenced by the Native Americans,” said Keith Bailey, interpretive ranger for Etowah Indian Mounds. “Some examples would be place names, like Euharlee and Etowah, Allatoona, even possibly, [and] some of the foods we eat.

“Our diet consists, especially here in the South, of corn, beans and squash. Some of those are foods that the Native Americans grew for a long time before Europeans even got here. So we adapted a lot of that into our own culture, even to the point that sometimes we don’t even think about those things being Native American.”

While attending the event, patrons are invited to tour the 54-acre venue where several thousand American Indians lived from A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1550. Regarded as the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast, the Etowah Indian Mounds — 813 Indian Mounds Road, S.W. — features six earthen mounds, a village area, a plaza, borrow pits and defensive ditch.

For more information about the Etowah Indian Mounds, call 770-387-3747 or visit www.gastateparks.org/EtowahMounds.