Date in History: 1835

The most important archeological site in Wisconsin lies in Aztalan State Park, near Lake Mills. Archeologists think that about 1,000 year ago a group of Native peoples left their base village of Cahokia, now near East St. Louis, and came north, settling on the west bank of the Crawfish River. Here they established a walled village featuring large flat-topped pyramids. Just why they came here, and why they abruptly abandoned the site about 300 years later, is still a mystery.

The first white settlers who saw the walled compound in 1835 called it the “Ancient City.” In 1836 pioneer Nathaniel Hyer gave the site its name. Hyer was familiar with the legend that said the Aztec people had come to Mexico from a place near flowing waters far to the north, a place called Aztalan.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 06/23/2002.