Bonne Terre - Bonne Terre, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member gparkes
N 37° 55.295 W 090° 32.982
15S E 715374 N 4199945
This marker sits in a small park in Bonne Terre at the intersection of Allen and Main, located in St. Francois County.
Waymark Code: WM7D5M
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 10/07/2009
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member muddawber
Views: 9

Bonne Terre

The city of Bonne Terre, named for the lead-bearing “good-earth” of the area, lies in the oldest and largest mining district of Missouri, leading lead producing state in the U.S. since 1908.

Missouri’s lead is the base of its first permanent settlement and major industry. Lead, long used by the Indians and known to French gold and silver seekers of the early 1700’s, was not seriously mined until failure of John Law’s “Mississippi Scheme” made it apparent that there was no gold or silver in the area. After the “Mississippi bubble” of hoped for riches burst, 1720, an employee of the French Company of the Indies, Philip Renault, open lead diggings in this Lead Belt region of Missouri.

Jean Baptiste Pratte operated the first lead diggings here at Bonne Terre in the late 1790’s. In 1864, the New York chartered St. Joseph Lead Company bought the 946-acre Pratte lead diggings, then owned by Anthony La Grave, for $75,000.1 With early use of the diamond drill in prospecting and with the rich deposits of lead, the company has become the nation’s top lead producer.2

Bonne Terre is one of the many closely spaced St. Francois County mining towns in the largest lead district in the U.S. Long a mining settlement, the town was laid out by the St. Joseph Lead Co., 1880. Among the other towns in the area are Desloge, laid out by Firmin Desloge, Lead Belt pioneer, 1877, and Flat River, the scene of a mining boom in the 1890’s, laid out, 1913.

The first Americans in this area settled Spanish land grants on nearby Big River, 1794. Murphy’s Settlement, now Farmington, was made to the south, 1801. There Sarah Barton Murphy started the first Sunday School west of the Mississippi about 1807. When St. Francois County was organized, 1821, Farmington became the county seat.

Much of St. Francois County lies in the geologic center of the Ozarks, oldest of U.S. mountain regions. The enormous chat piles attest the county’s mineral wealth where the galena (lead sulfide) is mined in massive man-made caverns from dolomite deposits measuring up to 600 feet. In southwest St. Francois County is Iron Mountain, scene of a great iron mining boom of the mid-1800’s.

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:
This marker sits in the heart of the Lead Belt. One change since the writing of the text in the marker is the amount of tailings that were once piled in the center of town. Towering some 965 feet in from the ground, the site was quite impressive to drivers coming down US-61. Today, after EPA guidance, the community has removed more than half of the tailings, spreading them out over another area to the east. Corrections and updates: 1. Some sources indicate that the St. Joseph Lead Company paid $80,000 for La Grave's lead-mining property. 2. The company now operates under the name Doe Run Company and remains the world's largest lead producer.

Additional point: Not Listed

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A-L-F visited Bonne Terre - Bonne Terre, Missouri 09/11/2014 A-L-F visited it
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