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This story starts with getting an email with the subject line "We are the aliens who built the Hoyt Park Pyramid."
In the October 2019 issue of Madison Magazine, our cover story "Mysterious Tales & Oddities," we explored some intriguing stories including hauntings at the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., a town that no longer exists and the Hoyt Park Pyramid.
Haunting faces and designs are etched into the pyramid-shaped structure, located behind the Madison School and Community Recreation building in Hoyt Park. Some thought that the pyramid was an homage to an ancient Mayan city, others wondered if it's a work of aliens, which brings us back to the email.
Mollie Stetzer, admissions and outreach coordinator at Preschool of the Arts, says that students who went to Preschool of the Arts were actually the ones who helped create this sculpture.
"This pyramid was made before 1982 based on how I've tracked it down," Stetzer says.
Stetzer says she called some of the original teachers she knew who worked at the school when it was located near Hoyt Park — it is now at 11 Science Court. Those teachers thought it might have been a visiting artist, but in actuality the custodian at the time, Doug Parks, worked with the children and the teachers to create the pyramid.
Preschool of the Arts was incorporated in 1971 and moved to its current location about 22 years ago. The school is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, which "encourages young children and their teachers to explore, question, and discover in a beautiful and inspiring environment."
When the school was near Hoyt Park, Stetzer says the kids would climb on the pyramid and treat visiting it like an adventure.
"I know that it was meant to be a secret, fun little place," she says.
The faces were meant to represent the children at the school. When it comes to the symbols, she says she's not sure what they are, but she assumes the children created them.
"I would bet they had some kind of mold for the children's faces," Stetzer says. From what she's found out, she thinks the pyramid was made out of concrete and things were just pushed into it or molded in place.
She says the sculpture was something that she's always known as part of the history of the school, and didn't realize there was a mystery surrounding its origins.
If you ever visit the statue, you'll notice that the statue doesn't have a sign or any information about it. "If it was created by children, they probably didn't think about putting a sign," Stetzer explains. It also was created pre-internet, so there wasn't an easy way to keep a record of the origins.
So it turns out the pyramid wasn't created by aliens, it was the work of creative kids and their teachers, which makes this mystery officially solved.