"Pipestone National Monument" Pipestone National Monument by Stephen-KarenConn

On the Mountains of the Prairie,
On the great Red Pipestone Quarry,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
He the Master of Life, descending,
On the red crags of the quarry,
Stood erect and called the nations,
Called the tribes of men together.

from "The Song of Hiawatha"
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

According to American Indian Legend, the first person to discover the area that is today Pipestone National Monument was an Indian woman who was lead by a white buffalo to this very special place. Here she found a very unique red soft stone, actually clay, slightly harder than soapstone, which can be cut with a steel knife. The Indians have used this stone for 300 years in making useful and ornamental objects - especially peace pipes.

This is sacred ground to the Indians. Although a woman is said to be the first to find it, women and children were not allowed to approach the quarries. Even the men must first leave proper offerings to appease the spirits that protect this valley. Indians came from hundreds of miles to collect the prized red pipestone, and it was traded widely among many tribes. American Indians recognized this area as a peace shrine, so all laid down their arms and forgot ancient hostilities while visiting here.

Since 1937, Pipestone National Monument has perserved this unique American treasure. Active quarying continues, but can be done only by American Indians, using handtools, and then only by permit.

Pipestone National Monument is on the northern edge of the small town of Pipestone, in the southwestern corner of Minnesota, about 50 miles southeast of Souix Falls, South Dakota. It is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.

  • Last visit to Pipestone National Monument: May 2004
  • Intro Updated Oct 14, 2006
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Reviews (13)

Comments (17)

  • mikehanneman's Profile Photo
    Oct 15, 2006 at 8:15 AM

    I live in Iowa and I am not sure what to make of the windmills. I sort of think they are eyesores and visual pollution. The upside is that they provide a clean source of renewable energy. Mike in Iowa

  • gregoryr1m's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2005 at 11:08 AM

    Wonderful pics and narration of Pipestone National Monument. I might be taking a drive to Pipestone next week. Looking forward to it.

  • ferdnbean's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2005 at 8:10 PM

    S&K C...great collection of photos and information. One of these days Ferdnbean are going to join you on a road trip! We share a lot of the same appreciation for what we have in this country...the treasures of the Native Americans! Wayne

  • keida84's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2005 at 6:59 AM

    so many national parks and monuments to see! I have friends in Hibbing, MN so someday I'll get to see all the lovely lakes.

  • jamiesno's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2004 at 7:06 AM

    Hi Stephen and Karen there seem to be a tonne of parks in the US you can explore across all the different states, it would be hard to pick wich one to start at!

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2004 at 3:00 PM

    Excellent informative pages backed with good pics. But, then again, we don't expect anything less from your sites!

  • Waalewiener's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2004 at 7:27 AM

    Very different to see a page about Pipe stones ,probably would have never know about this if not read your page Stephen .The fort and the old wagon reminded me of movies I used to see as a young boy. Great page Stephen

  • jgemini65's Profile Photo
    Aug 24, 2004 at 12:49 PM

    Good info included on wind farming! Nice pages!

  • belgianchocolate's Profile Photo
    Jun 14, 2004 at 6:29 AM

    A mixture of good pictures , extended an correct information makes a great page. I learned some thing today. Well done. frank

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2004 at 5:53 AM

    Such an informative introduction, which I really appreciate. Those giant Granite bolders called "Three Maidens" are remarkable. Precise, informative, interesting, and quite well written--a trademark for you.

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