Learning about Monks Mound
I went to college in St. Louis for four years and nearly every week I crossed the river to Cahokia for AFROTC. Still I never managed to visit the Cahokia Mounds.
Making a visit was important to both of us. We love seeing ancient remnants, plus I had just finished reading 1491. Sadly the visitor center is closed for a while as they renovate, so we only spent a short while there reading what info we could find and exploring some of the grounds.
The largest mound there, Monks Mound, was the center of the largest city in North America (15,000-ish) and likely represents the peak of mound building in eastern North America. It takes organization and almost certainly centralized control to build structures like the Cahokia Mounds. And it appears the top dogs took their hubris to such heights as to deforest and redirect water flows that they experienced catastrophic flooding and ruination of their maize production.
Gateway arch from the mound top
From three top of the mound there are great views of the Mississippi basin and the St. Louis skyline.