“Dorenheim, Herbert (76): - Mr. Dorenheim began producing lime with one kiln, at St. Paul, in May, 1890. Since that time he has produced about six thousand bushels per month.
“The stone, which burns to a black lime, is taken from the quarry of the old firm of Goetz & Cobb, which now has here (owing to some litigation) three idle kilns.
“The formation quarried is Trenton Limestone, and the sample for analysis number 67, was taken as an average of the beds used for lime making.
(Click here to go directly to the “Economic Geology Section” that includes the information on the stone quarries in Ste. Genevieve County.)
“Ste. Genevieve County has exposed within its borders a greater stratigraphic succession than any other county in the state, and is traversed from northwest to southeast by one of the most pronounced belts of faulting in the upper Mississippi Valley. It is therefore both stratigraphically and structurally a most important area for study, and correlations made in this county may be considered a key to the succession throughout that portion of the Ozark region bordering Mississippi River.
“Within the area there are a number of formations that do not outcrop at any other point in the state, and until this work was undertaken the occurrence of these formations was virtually unknown. The mapping indicated the presence of an excellent marble which has since been developed by large quarry operations.
“As shown on the topographic map there is a large area in which surface drainage is lacking due to numerous surface sinks. This area is one of the most typical sink hole regions in the Mississippi Valley.
“Due to the fact that there is such a complete succession of the Paleozoic series, considerable attention has been devoted to correlation and to the geologic history.
“Field work was started in cooperation with the United States Geological Survey during the summer of 1913. The present report is chiefly the result of work carried on by Stuart Weller and Stuart St. Clair. That portion of the report and map covered by formations younger than the St. Peter is the result of work by Mr. Weller and assistants, while that portion covered by the St. Peter and older series is the result of the work of Mr. St. Clair....”
Location and Area
“Ste. Genevieve County is situated in the southeastern part of Missouri, being one of the Mississippi River counties. Its northernmost point is about 35 miles south of St. Louis, and the county extends for a little more than 25 miles along the river. The county is irregular in outline, with a maximum length in a north-south direction of somewhat more than 30 miles. The total areal extent of the county is 481 square miles.
“In general the boundaries of the county lie in directions oblique to the cardinal points of the compass. It is bounded as shown in Fig. 1, on the northeast by Mississippi River, on the southeast by Perry County, on the southwest by St. Francois County, and on the northwest by St. Francois and Jefferson counties.”
“The history of the settlement and development of Ste. Genevieve County is of notable interest, for it was here that the first civilized community was established in Missouri, and the residents of this settlement passed under three governments before the vast territory of Louisiana finally came under the United States flag.
“The first Europeans to visit what is now Missouri were with the expedition of Hernando DeSota, the Spanish explorer....”
“In 1712 the French crown conveyed by charter the colony of Louisiana to Anthony Cruzat who sent M. de la Motte as its first governor...”
“With all of these operations no permanent settlements were made either at the mining camps or at any other localities on the west bank of the Mississippi until about 1735, the year generally accepted as being the time when the old village of Ste. Genevieve was founded. The site of ‘le vieux village de Sainte Genevieve’ was three miles south of the present town, in what is known as the ‘Big Field.’ The population of Ste. Genevieve was greatly increased when the territory of Illinois east of the Mississippi, was transferred from France to England in 1765. Many of the inhabitants of the towns on the east bank, not desiring to come under the English government, emigrated to Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis, the latter town having been founded by Laclede in 1764. Prior to this time the civil business of Ste. Genevieve had been transacted at Kaskaskia, which was the metropolis of the west at this time, but when Kaskaskia passed to the English, a post was established at Ste. Genevieve in May, 1766. Near the close of 1769 the Spanish government assumed possession of upper Louisiana....”
“During the latter part of the 18 th century and early in the 19 th, Ste. Genevieve was a very important commercial town. Commerce was carried on by keel-boat transportation on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and much trading was done with the Indians of the interior parts of the territory. During these years all of the lead, copper, nickel, cobalt, and iron ore from Iron Mountain, Pilot Knob, Mine La Motte, Valles Mines, and Potosi were brought on pack horses to Ste. Genevieve to be carried forward by river transportation....”
“In the year 1800 Louisiana was ceded back to France by Spain, but this act was not consummated until December 20th, 1803. In the meantime President Jefferson had been negotiating with France for the purchase of Louisiana by the United States. The transfer to our government was made by France in December, 1803, the purchase price being $15,000,000.
“Few Americans resided in Ste. Genevieve up to 1804. The town was distinctly French in language, customs, domestic economy, and at this time the population was concentrated at the villages of Ste. Genevieve and New Bourbon, but after the transfer of the territory to the United States, and upon the arrival of American settlers, it became more distributed. The inhabitants were engaged chiefly in cultivating the soil, as traders and as voyagers.
“On June 4th, 1812, Missouri was organized by Congress into a Territory with a governor and General Assembly, and the districts were reorganized into five counties of which Ste. Genevieve was one...A few years later, in 1817, steam power was introduced on the Mississippi, and on August 1 st of that year the steamer Pike tied up at Ste. Genevieve, which at that time was on the river bank. Missouri was admitted to statehood on August 10th, 1821.
“The famous Plank Road was built in 1851 along the route of the present Ste. Genevieve-Farmington county road passing through New Offenburg and Weingarten. It extended from Ste. Genevieve to Iron Mountain, a distance of 42 miles, and an immense business was carried on over it for several years. A large part of the ore from the mines to the west, marble and granite from the quarries, and agricultural products of all kinds were hauled to Ste. Genevieve for shipment. This was the chief outlet for these products until the Iron Mountain railroad was built in 1857, when this new means of transportation diverted to St. Louis much of the trade which had formerly gone to Ste. Genevieve.
“About thirty years ago Ste. Genevieve County had a boom in railroad building which has been an important factor in the economic development of the county. The most important line, running along the Mississippi River through Ste. Genevieve and St. Marys, the two largest towns in the county, is operated by the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway between St. Louis and southern points. The Illinois Southern, now the Missouri-Illinois Railroad, built in 1901, crossing almost the center of the county from east to west, opens up a large agricultural country, and connects with the mining districts of St. Francois County. In the southern part of the county the Cape Girardeau and Northern was built. This road ran east and west and connected with a branch to the south in Perry County. It had been abandoned.
“During the time when Ste. Genevieve was the important commercial and trading post on the west bank of the Mississippi, the river flowed directly past the town and the boats could moor at the foot of its streets. Today there is an island between the town and the main channel of the river, and the present boat landing for Ste. Genevieve is at Little Rock, about two miles north of the town, where the Missouri-Illinois trans are ferried across the river to Illinois....”
“The earliest mining operations in Missouri were carried on in Ste. Genevieve County by La Motte, Renault and others, although only small returns were realized from these ventures. At this time (circa 1928) Ste. Genevieve County is not a mining community, but some local development along these lines has proved at least partially successful....”
“Limestone quarries have been opened in a number of localities in the eastern part of the county, much of the stone being used in the manufacture of a high grade white lime, although some blocks have been shipped for building purposes. Rock taken from the government quarry at Little Rock has been used extensively for riprap work along the Mississippi. At a point about four miles south of Ste. Genevieve the Aux Vases sandstone has been quarried and shipped, a large amount of rock from this quarry being used in the construction of the Eads Bridge at St. Louis. In 1921 a marble quarry was opened on Little Saline Creek near Ozora, in the Devonian limestone, and in 1922 a marble quarry in the Kimmswick limestone was opened four miles southwest of Ste. Genevieve.
“The population of Ste. Genevieve County is made up of English, German and French speaking people. The German population lives in communities or parishes, Ste. Genevieve being the largest. Other typical German settlements are Weingarten, New Offenburg, Zell, St. Marys, and River aux Vases, the last better known as Staabtown. In these communities religious and educational activities center about the churches. The southern, western, and northern parts of the county are typically American. The French are more scattered, although a number of families live in Bloomsdale and vicinity.
“This brief sketch of the history of Ste. Genevieve County would not be complete without mention of the archeological investigations which have been carried on in recent years by the Smithsonian Institution.* Detailed examinations have been made near the mouth of Saline Creek and interesting evidence collected which gives light on the people who lived in this locality before the advent of the white men. Some of the customs of these people, and some idea of their implements, pottery, and other articles, both useful and ornamental, have been made known. Excavations at Salt Spring near the mouth of Saline Creek, have revealed vast quantities of wood ashes and charred wood, and fragments of pottery. Most of these are relics of the Indian process of evaporating the water of the Salt Spring to recover the salt. Scattered over the surface of the sloping land on the left bank of the creek, above the spring, many fragments of small pottery vessels, some bearing traces of red pigment and others being pieces of thin, black ware of superior quality, together with numerous stone implements, have been found. All signs point to this having been a favorite abode of the Indians at some former time.
(* Page 17 footnote: Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., vol. 46, pp. 641-668.)
“The peninsula between the Saline and the Mississippi was the site of a comparatively large settlement, and excavations have revealed many fragments of pottery, animal bones, shells, several kinds of implements, and chips of white and pink flint. A single mound stands near the center of this village. It is about 90 feet in diameter with a height less than four feet, and an excavation near its center revealed three skeletons, a number of Indian ornaments, and war and other implements. Stone graves in large numbers have existed in the vicinity of the Saline, and nearly every elevated point appears to have been occupied by a group of them....”
“A number of other sites in the eastern part of Ste. Genevieve County were probably occupied by Indian villages, the most prominent of which is at the rock cut, about three miles above the mouth of saline Creek, on the north bank of River aux Vases near its mouth, and on the nearby hills and bluffs stone graves have been found. Along the Mississippi River bluffs there are many groups of stone graves and low mounds, the most important group of mounds being located a few miles south of the town of Ste. Genevieve in the ‘Big Field.’ In a small cave a short distance from the left bank of the Saline, about one-half mile southwest of the Salt Spring, a number of interesting petroglyphs, thirteen in number, are preserved, which were carved by the Indians on the floor of the cave.
“An iron meteorite from Ste. Genevieve County has recently been added to the museum of the Bureau of Geology and Mines. The specimen was found in 1906 by Joseph Naeger on his farm in the north central part of sec. 3, T. 37 N., R. 6 E., three miles southwest of Lawrenceton. A corner of the meteorite was uncovered in plowing and it was subsequently dug up. The specimen weighs 171 1/8 pounds and is roughly the shape of a triangular prism. In general the surface has characteristic smooth polished scallops, but part of the surface is rough and jagged. No information regarding the date of the fall of the meteorite is available.”
“The climate of Ste. Genevieve County is temperate and wholly continental. The summers are hot and the winters not severe. The air is dry as a rule, and the excessive temperatures in summer and in winter are not felt to the extent that they would be were the atmosphere heavy and damp. The annual mean temperature is probably near 55°. The average rainfall of the county is 42 inches, and the full amount is well distributed over the year. The greater amount commonly falls during the growing season, although there are exceptions to this rule, and occasional droughts occur, but they are not more frequent than in other parts of the Middle Western States. With favorable temperature conditions and ample rainfall, as a rule, the growing season is long enough to mature all ordinary crops grown in the central part of the United States.”
“The principal town and the county seat is Ste. Genevieve, with a population of about 2,000 (circa 1928). Two railroads run through this town, the St. Louis and San Francisco, commonly called the ‘Frisco,’ connecting St. Louis with the south, and the Missouri-Illinois, extending westward to the mining district in St. Francois County. River steamers dock at Little Rock, two miles above the town.
“St. Marys in the eastern corner is located on the bluffs and on the bottom lands of the Mississippi, on the line of the ‘Frisco’ railroad about ten miles below Ste. Genevieve. This town was formerly situated on the bank of Mississippi River, but owing to changes in its channel the river now flows east of Kaskaskia Island about five miles east of St. Marys.
“Bloomsdale is the largest village in the interior, its nearest railroad station being Brickeys on the ‘Frisco.’ The remaining villages are small, several of which are located on the railroads which cross the county.
“The chief industry is agriculture. Over that part of the hilly country where the soil is tillable, as well as along the bottoms of the large and smaller streams, farmhouses dot the slopes. Some timbering is carried on, and tie making is an occupation which attracts a certain class of inhabitants of the county. Grazing on a small scale is cooperative with the general faming industry. Although not a manufacturing district, there are a number of flour mills in various parts of the county, also several saw mills most of which are portable, a stave factory, several large lime plants, and smaller manufacturing industries. Mining has been carried on sporadically in the past in a few localities, and a few limestone and marble quarries are in operation at the present time (circa 1928).”
Topography - Relief
General Features. Ste. Genevieve County lies wholly within the Ozark Plateau, on the east slope of the uplift, and east of the St. Francois Mountains. The extreme eastern side is in the fertile bottom-lands of the Mississippi flood plan from which a well dissected country rises to the west. The gradual slope is broken by three well defined escarpments which extend in a general north-south direction through the greater part of the county. Marbut* has spoke of these as the Avon, Crystal, and Burlington escarpments. The names Avon and Burlington are retained in this report, but St. Peter-Joachim is used as the name of the third, instead of the Crystal. West of the Avon escarpment is the Jonca plain or plateau, a topographic division which occupies a comparatively large area in western Ste. Genevieve County. The highest points in the county are found in the Avon escarpment ridges where in several places rounded knobs reach an elevation of 1,100 to 1,200 feet above sea level. The points of lowest elevation are along Mississippi River. In the northern end of the county, at the mouth of Isle du Bois Creek, the flood plain of the river is about 370 feet above sea level, and at St. Marys in the southeastern part the elevation is about 355 feet, a drop of 15 feet in a distance of 24 miles...”
(* Page 24 footnote: Missouri Geol. Surv., vol. 10, 1 st Ser., p. 35, 1896.)
“All of the streams of the county have relatively steep gradients, and as a result have cut deep and narrow gorges in many places. Well developed water gaps have been formed where the streams have cut through the escarpments. More or less extensive bottom lands have been developed by the larger streams, especially in their lower courses.
“The striking topographic feature of the Ozark region, the even-crested ridges of the divides, is represented by the even-crested hills which occupy the higher elevations in Ste. Genevieve County.
“Uplands. A very large portion of the area is what would be called uplands. As a whole it may be described as a very hilly and much dissected country, and it is safe to say that more than one-half of the county is not adaptable to agriculture, the land being to rough and the hills too steep. The summits of most of the hills are rounded and roughly concordant in elevation, with the more gentle slope towards the east, and except for the ridges which suggest former base levels, the general elevation of the hills becomes lower to the east, a feature which evidently is controlled to some extent by the general dip of the underlying strata....”
“The detailed topography of the uplands of Ste. Genevieve County may be described under four headings given in the order of the age of the rock formations involved. These divisions are the Jonca plain, the Avon escarpment and cuesta plain, the St. Peter-Joachim escarpment and cuesta plain, and the Burlington escarpment and cuesta plain. There are a few other escarpments of smaller extent and minor importance which need no special mention.
“Jonca Plain. This plateau or platform lies in part in Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, and Madison counties, extending from French Village on the north to Fredericktown on the south. The area within Ste. Genevieve is bounded on the north, east, and southeast by the Avon escarpment. The Farmington anticline divides the plain roughly into two parts. On the west side of the anticline in Ste. Genevieve County, the predominant rock formation is the Lamotte sandstone; on the east side of the Bonneterre dolomite and the Lamotte sandstone occupy about equal areas of outcrop. Some granite ledges outcrop in the gores of the main streams....”
“Avon Escarpment and Cuesta Plain. The Avon escarpment is one of the most prominent topographic features in the county. The escarpment is made of the Davis, Derby-Doerun, and lower part of the Potosi formations, the lower slopes being made up of soft shales and more resistant dolomites of the first named formations, while the rim rock is for the most part the resistant cherty of the Potosi....”
“The Avon cuesta plain which slopes to the east from the top of the escarpment covers such an extensive area and is so deeply and intricately dissected that its generic character is not readily recognized. In their slopes to the northeast and east the summits of the divides are seen to be roughly concordant, and in the early stages of the present erosion cycle the country must have presented a typical undissected plain. The formations involved in the Avon cuesta plain range from the Potosi to the St. Peter, and some of the roughest topography in the county is found in its more dissected parts, the irregular brokenness of which is due to variations in the texture of the rocks of the various formations, some of which are resistant to weathering and erosion while others yield readily to agencies of denudation. The result is varying types of topography which extend in more or less parallel belts across the county. The most striking topographic feature in this area is the trough extending through the county which is occupied by the Everton and a part of the St. Peter sandstone. This easily eroded sandstone belt lies between the St. Peter-Joachim escarpment on the east and the steeply sloping cuesta-surface plain on the west.
“St. Peter-Joachim Escarpment and Cuesta Plain. This escarpment is in part the same as the Crystal escarpment of earlier publications. It enters the county a little east of where the St. Louis road crosses Isle du Bois Creek and extends southeast across the county to River Aux Vases, about one mile east of the village of that name. From this place southeast to the county line the St. Peter-Joachim formations are much broken and irregular in outcrop, owing to the complex faulting which cuts across the formations obliquely to the general strike. South of this line of faulting the escarpment is not again well defined in Ste. Genevieve County. This escarpment is best defined at Bloomsdale where it is about 130 feet high and includes a part of the underlying Everton formation.
“The cuesta plain which lies between the St. Peter-Joachim and the Burlington escarpments is very narrow as a rule and in some places it is wanting, but where it is present it is well defined by its gentle eastward dip slope. The Ordovician formations are the only ones involved. Marbut* has spoken of this plain as the Zell platform. It is more typically developed in places north of Ste. Genevieve County than within the county. Its southern extension is cut off by the faulting south of River aux Vases, but south of the county line the plain again assumes its characteristic features.
(* Page 25 footnote: Missouri Geol. Surv., vol. 10, 1 st Ser., p. 60, 1896.)
“Burlington Escarpment and Cuesta Plain. The Burlington escarpment is the most extensive in the state. It enters Ste. Genevieve County from the north near the mouth of Isle du Bois Creek and extends in a general southeast direction across the county roughly paralleling the Mississippi River. The escarpment is formed by the Lower Mississippian formations, especially the Burlington and Keokuk limestones both of which are very cherty and therefore resistant to erosion. The topography of the escarpment hills northeast and east of Bloomsdale, northeast of Zell, and in the Beckett Hills north of river aux Vases, is exceedingly rough, the country being deeply dissected. In the faulted zone south of River aux Vases and south to the county line the escarpment is not prominent. It is, however, clearly defined along Mississippi River in Perry County....”
“South from the mouth of Establishment Creek the cuesta plain east from the Burlington escarpment becomes rapidly broader, and south from Little Rock to the faulted zone its width is five miles or more. The greater portion of this plain is underlain by the Mississippian limestones, and south from Frenchman Creek it includes a remarkable belt of sink-hole topography developed in the Spergen ( Salem), St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve limestones. The size of these sink-holes varies from pits too small to be indicated upon the topographic map to such large depressions as that crossed by the Ste. Genevieve-Staabtown road 2 ½ miles southwest of Ste. Genevieve which has tributary drainage channels two miles or more in length. Many of these sink-holes have their outlets obstructed and in consequence are now filled with water to form ponds. Such ponds vary in size from a fraction of an acre in extent to such a body of water as Hook Pond, three quarters of a mile in length....”
Valleys & Drainage
(Please note: The sections on “Valleys” and “Drainage” will not be presented here. If you are interested in a copy of these sections, feel free to contact me. Peggy B. Perazzo.)
Chapter III - Stratigraphy
Stratigraphic Summary. The stratigraphic column is more nearly complete in Ste. Genevieve County than in any other county in Missouri. The most ancient rocks that are exposed at the surface are the crystalline granites and porphyries of pre-Cambrian age; the youngest are the limestones, shales and sandstones of the Chester Series, the age of which is Upper Mississippian. These youngest rocks, however, are very old, for since they were formed all of the coal-bearing series in northern Missouri have been deposited, and in addition an enormous series of still younger beds that are not present anywhere in the state, although in some other parts of the world they are represented by many thousands of feet of a great variety of sediments. Furthermore, since the youngest of the rocks exposed in Ste. Genevieve County were deposited, great mountain ranges have been raised up in many parts of the world, some of which have been more or less completely cut away by the slowly acting energy of running water.
“The sedimentary series in Ste. Genevieve County consists of a notable succession of dolomites, limestones, sandstones, and shales, exhibiting a great variety of lithologic characters. These sediments have an aggregate thickness here of approximately 3,500 feet, and have been subdivided in the course of our work into no less than 38 distinct formations, each of which will be described in the following pages.
“The series in this area has many breaks in it, represented by unconformities between certain of the formations. The crystalline granites at the base of the section are pre-Cambrian, probably Algonkian. above the Algonkian, sediments are present that are referable to the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, and Carboniferous (Mississippian) systems. If there have ever been any sedimentary rocks in the county younger than the Mississippian with the exception of the unconsolidated Pleistocene deposits, they have been completely removed by the processes of erosion during the enormous period of time that has elapsed since their formation and elevation above sea level.
“The unconsolidated materials which more or less completely cover the hard rocks of the county, and which constitute the surface soils, clays, sands, etc., of the region, are commonly designated as surficial deposits. These are all very much younger than the hard rocks, and have all or nearly all accumulated during the present geologic period.
“In the succeeding pages of this report each one of the stratigraphic units in the geologic section of Ste. Genevieve County will be fully discussed in relation to the part it takes in the geology of the region. These formations will be considered in order, beginning with the oldest, or lowest one in the section.”