Missouri Mines Historic Site is Historic!
It was raining. It was cold … and the windows were steaming up, so we thought we would head for an indoor experience. The Missouri Mines Historic Site did not look too interesting on paper! Who wants to go to a dirty ole’ mine? But, I thought, it would make a great photo. We have seen ghostly rusting structures like this one the island of Hokkaido, Japan; Bulgaria, Detroit, south Chicago, Minnesota, Helena, Arkansas, and more! The St. Joseph Mining Company donated the property to the state in the 1970’s, lead tailings and all! Below is only one of the buildings of many!
Walking into the rusting expired giant gave you an eerie feeling. I kept looking up and wondering if the yellow-brown buildings were safe enough to inspect? Outside the park office, there were two guys taking photos of one of the buildings. Whatever they saw in their three-foot lens kept them busy. Click on this link to reach the park!
St. Joe Mine is a Jewel!
Mark Hodges, a very knowledgeable Interpretive Resource Technician with the parks, greeted us. (His father had a career in the mines.) We paid the admission charge ($4.00 a person and a bargain!) and entered into the mineral sanctuary.
On one side of the museum were restored oily machines that were used in the mines. On the other side was a collection of minerals that were beyond anything that we have seen in the Midwest. (Yes, there are some pretty neat Agate museums in Minnesota.) I asked if geology classes used the space and they do, coming from around the country to study the landscape and visit the museum. The place is a jewel! Click on this link!
The Hazards of Mines.
A very-well-done 1950’s movie of the processes used in the mining of lead was played for us. Remember the issues with lead paint and lead in the water in Flint, Michigan? It affects the brain– big time! Mr. Hodges came back to the small theatre and answered our questions. We asked about the carcinogenic chemicals used in the process?
We asked why people did not have their hands protected and something over their nose and mouth? (“They did not have laws that required them to do this when the movie was made.”) I asked how many people died in the mines? (“Less than you would think,” was the answer.) Were there fans to bring air to the miners? No! Did they go into bankruptcy, so they could avoid a clean-up? “Yes.” The poor guy sat there and answered everything he could.
The Department of Labor keeps statistics for each state and there were as many as 900 miners who died in any one year. That large number dwindled to 13 in 2017. I wonder how many miners died early or were incapacitated because of diseases related to their work?
French Fries in Missouri.
Mining for lead, granite, silver, and more has been going on in Missouri since the French owned the properties. According to several sources there are thousands of miles of shafts and railroads under Missouri. Many of the mines are flooded with water now that is used by the locals. (I am not sure that I would drink it. Uh Oh! I think I did in Park Hills!)
“More than 1,000 miles of abandoned multilevel mine tunnels that underlie the region and 300 miles of underground mainline railroad tracks that connected various shafts and mills are testimony to the 108 years of persistent mining operations in this area. Today, these mines, flooded naturally with ground water, provide a water supply for Park Hills and surrounding communities,” according to the Missouri Mines Website. Here is a link to an article about the clean-up!
Mark Hodges next to St. Joe State Park
St. Joe State Park sits next to the Mining Museum with thousands of ATV enthusiasts hitting the lead dusty trails. There has been a multi-million-dollar clean-up of the tailings or lead dust, but it is not complete. You wonder why Missouri allows people to use the park? Could it relate to $$$$? And I wondered after I left the museum if Mark Hodges himself was “infected” with the lead dust? Did he not see the danger of working in that old mine office? The entire area around the old mines has very little population. I need to read more about Missouri’s history.
Rain, Rain go Away!
Our hiking was nixed by the cold rain for the last couple of days in south-central Missouri. We have decided to make Shut-Ins an annual trek when the leaves turn every year. Next, we aimed the RV toward St. Louis to find Edward Babler State Historic Park. The park was almost empty when we arrived. What a relief! But, then, they turned the water off and closed down the shower house. Huh? Twenty-four hours later scores and scores of trailers made their way into the park. How could they turn off the water and know all of these people would be camping for the weekend? No heart or …?
St. Louis and Chuck Berry, here we come!
Memory lane kept us going in St. Louis. We drove by the house on Howdershell where I lived when I was in graduate school at St. Louis University.
On the way to the Basilica Cathedral of St. Louis on Lindell, we veered toward Washington University where Tom spent a winter term. Before we met our friends, we had to take a photo of the arch!
Pablo and Ines were close friends years and years ago. We all lived in Kansas City and ate a lot of pizza together. While they were here they had two children and Ines finished her Ph.D. in an area of Neuro-Science while Pablo worked with Tom. They left us to work in China and New Zealand where we caught up with them occasionally. Now they are back in Chicago with four lovely children and life keeps going on and on and on. It was a grand reunion and the very intelligent children were perfectly behaved!!!
We dined with them at two very unusual restaurants. One of them Guidos, was on the Hill, a predominately Italian neighborhood!
Boring but NOT to US!
I suppose this blog is a little mundane, with no exciting excerpts of grand vistas. Yet, it was a great week and Missouri was beyond beautiful this time of year. Life is good! Get Thee to Missouri!
As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge