I asked the two of them to help me identify place names from Seton’s 1937 map of his 2500 acre property on the DeVargas Land Grant. A number of high spots near the Castle – such as Sunset Hill, Raven Rocks, and the Hill of Memories, now support houses.
One particularly mysterious place is the “Piasa” cliff with its strange painted creature, part insect part something else with antlers. First painted by Seton, it was later maintained by his family, holding up rather well. It is based on a (now lost) rock painting from a cliff along the Mississippi River in Illinois first described in the 17th century. Apparently Seton was aware of a replica of it that existed in his time. What meaning it held for him, if any, is unknown, although I suspect its appearance on a cliff along Seton Village Road was purely whimsical. Due to tree growth along the arroyo, it is not easily spotted. The history of Piasa was discovered by my longtime research associate, Bob Hare. For more on his other discoveries in nature, history, art, and philosophy, see Wilderness Adventures with Bob Hare.