Document Type



This Sphagnum bog is located in Dead Man's Lake, Pilot Knob State Park, Hancock Co., Iowa. The county is in the center of the state east and west and is in the second tier of counties from the north, just south of Winnebago Co., which, in turn, borders Minnesota. Pilot Knob Park is in the northeastern part of the county, half in Section 3 and half in Section 4 of Ellington Township (97-23). It is right at the northern border of the county and three miles west of the eastern border. It can be reached by driving 3.5 miles east from Forest City (Winnebago Co.) on U.S. 9, and going south for a mile on Iowa 332 to the entrance at the northwest corner of the park. The park is an irregular mass of morainic hills, formed of pebbly Mankato (Wisconsin) drift, with marshy and boggy depressions in between, with Pilot Knob (1450'), by far the most outstanding of these hills, towering about 300' above the level of Lime Creek, to the southwest, and 100' above Dead Man's Lake. For a description of the forest, mostly oak, which covers the whole upland area, see Macbride (1903) "Forestry Notes for Hancock Co." Oak wilt has caused much tree destruction in the last three years. Pilot Knob early attracted considerable attention, and received its name from it use as a landmark, to "pilot" the traveller. "This is not only the finest morainic mound thus far described in Iowa, but is one of the finest in the whole country" (Ibid. :90). The amazing height, for Iowa prairie country, excited various writers to a free use of superlatives: "From the top of Pilot Knob a larger area of fertile land may be seen than from anywhere else on this earth I believe" (Secor, 1919:128).

Publication Date


Journal Title

Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





First Page


Last Page



© Copyright 1955 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



File Format