Picturing history: Original section of Zion's Camp Trail

Published: Wednesday, June 12 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

The passage of time takes a toll on historical structures and sites, including trails like the one followed by Zion's Camp.

Kenneth Mays,

The passage of time takes a toll on historical structures and sites, including trails like the one followed by Zion's Camp. Erosion, farming, land development and the like can erase any evidence of the course a trail once followed. More permanent features, such as ruts in rock, preserve at least sections of the routes that pioneer-era travelers followed.

Such is the case at the site in Pike County, Ill.

After crossing the Illinois River in western Illinois, Joseph Smith and the other members of Zion's Camp continued their journey west. The road ran between two Native American burial mounds, one being the so-called Zelph Mound, a mortuary complex of the Hopewell culture. Immediately north of that mound is an unpaved street traditionally known as Church Hollow Road.

Winding between the two mounds, its location — and, presumably, the Zion's Camp route — has remained intact over the years.

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