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The most famous landmark of the Big Bone area, Big Bone Lick, is now the site of a state park. The salt lick, or lick, as it is more generally known here, was long known to the original inhabitants of the area. It was discovered by people of European descent about 1735, the first recorded instance being one Robert Smith, an Indian trader.
The extraordinarily large bones of mammoths and mastodons found in the swamps around the salt lick frequented by animals, who need salt in their diets, was the most notable feature to be found in the entire geographical region. Even the first maps noted it as “the place the big bones are found.” It was a source of huge bones for paleontologists for several centuries.
The area is rich in history, and was the site of a “Watering Place”, a hotel that catered to the well-to-do in the early part of the nineteenth century. There have been at least three hotels associated with the springs.