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Taylor, Jacob N; Crooks, M. O. Sketch Book of St. Louis: Containing a Series of Sketches of the Early Settlement, Public Buildings, Hotels, Railroads, Steamboats, Foundry and Machine Shops, Mercantile Houses, Grocers, Manufacturing Houses, Etc . St. Louis: George Knapp and Co, 1858. [format: book], [genre: guidebook; narrative]. Permission: Tulane University
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Chapter XIV. Railroads — (Continued.)


The St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad begins in the south part of the city of St. Louis, leading southward through the grounds of the United States Arsenal, along the river bluffs, to the city of Carondelet; thence traces the bank of the Mississippi to a point twenty-five miles south of the city of St. Louis, where it abruptly leaves the river, crossing a slight elevation into the valley of Sandy creek, which it follows for a short distance; thence over a low ridge falling into the valley of the Joachim creek, which it frequently crosses, until, finally, at a distance of forty miles from the city, it rises out of this valley, crossing a ridge dividing it from the valley of Big river, piercing the summit of this ridge through a tunnel eight hundred feet long. The road then follows down this dividing ridge, crossing Big river forty-seven miles from the initial point. After following the valley of this stream a short distance, it intersects the valley of Mill creek, a tributary of Big river, continuing in it however but a few miles. From thence it crosses the drainage of the country, until, at a distance of sixty-six miles from the city, it again crosses Big river. Leaving it

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by the valley of Dry creek, the road ascends and crosses, seventy-four miles from the city and six hundred and seventeen feet above it, a dividing ridge between the waters flowing into the Mississippi seventeen miles south of St. Louis, and the water flowing through the Ozark Mountains by the St. Franjois river, in Arkansas. At a distance of two miles south from the last point named, it crosses the St. Francois river, reaching the "Iron Mountain" at a farther distance of two and two-third miles, being seventy-nine miles from the depot at St. Louis, and at an elevation above it of six hundred and fifty-five feet. From this point the line is extended a farther distance of six miles, ending at the "Pilot Knob," eighty-five miles from the present depot at Lami street in the city of St. Louis.

The road bed is now nearly completed the entire length of the line. The iron is all paid for, and the road would have been completed ere this had not the general derangement incident upon the financial crisis caused a part of the work to be stopped. However, as matters now stand, it will be completed by the middle of March or first of April.

This railroad passes over a rough portion of the State of Missouri, leading into a part of the country inexhaustible in the ores of iron, lead, copper, manganese, cobalt and other minerals. Immense and inexhaustible quarries of granite, superior marble, and even rock salt, exist in the neighborhood of the Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob. Beautiful white and red sandstone, porphyry, and other rocks of equal value, are also abundant near to and along the line of the railroad. Extensive forests of yellow pine skirt the road, inviting an extensive investment of capital in the manufacture of lumber. We are informed that one company alone has at this time over a million of feet of pine lumber cut, near the town of Potosi,

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awaiting the opening of the road, to be brought to St. Louis for the market. This business, together with the manufacture of iron, copper, lead, &c., will absorb an immense amount of capital seeking safe investment.

There is no road leading to St. Louis that will be of half the value to the city as the St. Louis and Iron Mountain. At the present time five-sixths of the iron in this market is brought here from Pittsburgh, Wheeling and other distant points; and more than two millions of dollars is sent annually from St. Louis to pay for iron and nails sold here, besides the cost of pig metal used by our foundries. By constructing this road to the Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob, rolling mills and nail factories would spring up, and the foreign article would soon be driven out of the market. In fact, even at this date, before the road is completed, we have in our midst two of the most extensive rolling mills in the world. By the construction of this road we are enabled to secure a sufficient quantity of ore from that region to supply an hundred mills, and that too at a cost that will defy competition.

From an estimate made by one of the engineers engaged in surveying the road, it appears that there is ore enough in the Iron Mountain, above the level of its base, to make one hundred and five million tons of iron; and the Pilot Knob and Shepherd's mountain, and the adjacent banks, would furnish probably a still greater quantity; — so that, within eighty miles of St. Louis, and within a space of seven miles, we have iron enough to supply the world for centuries to come, without descending below the base of those mountains. The quality of these ores is well known. For the manufacture of steel, and for all malleable purposes, they have no superior.

The Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob are the largest and most extraordinary deposits of iron in the known world; the

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quantity, the quality and the facility of obtaining the ores are the distinguishing features of these inexhaustible stores of wealth.

The ore of these mountains is what is known by mineralogists as specular oxide. Fair specimens yield by analysis from sixty-five to sixty-six per cent, of pure iron, six to eight per cent, of earthy matter, (alumina and silica,) the remainder oxygen. There is nothing combined, therefore, with the ore in its natural condition to prevent the production of the finest metal. The ore of the Iron Mountain is remarkable for its uniformity of character; the smallest specimen accidentally picked up is a fair specimen of the entire mass. That of the Pilot Knob is more variable. In some places, particularly near the summit of the mountain, it assumes somewhat of a porphyritic character, and consequently involving a greater amount of earthy matter than above stated; but much the largest part of the Knob appears to be as pure as the Iron Mountain.

The ore of the Iron Mountain covers an area of about five hundred acres. The mountain is situated in the valley of the St. Francis, and rises about two hundred feet above the plain of country that surrounds and entirely separates it from all other elevations. The mountain has been estimated to contain two hundred and twelve million tons of ore above the base. The ore usually presents itself in lumps or boulders, from the size of pebbles up to those of two or three hundred pounds in weight, and thousands of tons can be picked up upon the mountain without the use of crowbar or pick. The ore is so pure and free from other substances that no difficulty has been found in working it directly into blooms.

The Pilot Knob covers an area about equal to the Iron Mountain, and rises to an elevation above the adjacent valleys of

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about five hundred feet. On the northern side of the Pilot Knob the ore rests upon red porphyry, and is here seen to dip with considerable rapidity towards the south from the culminating point of the mountain; therefore it may be assumed to be iron ore down to at least a level with the adjacent valley, or say five hundred feet thick.

Near the Pilot Knob stands the Shepherd Mountain, abounding in rich ores that are highly magnetic and said to produce steel of the finest quality. There are several deposits of rich iron ore in the neighborhood.

The Pilot Knob and Shepherd Mountain belong to the Pilot Knob Iron Company, who are actively engaged in the manufacture of pig metal and blooms.

The Iron Mountain belongs to the American Iron Mountain Company, who are largely engaged in the manufacture of pig metal, which is now carried to St. Genevieve in wagons, a distance of forty miles, at which point it is worth for shipment from two to three dollars per ton more than the Tennessee and Ohio metal.

The ore of these vast formations is quite in demand at the river, and sells readily at St. Genevieve for ten dollars per ton for shipment to the Ohio. This pays well for the hauling, when the teams are not engaged in transporting rnetal and blooms.

The St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad will bring these great resources of wealth within four hours' transit of St. Louis, and the ore can then be furnished to manufacturers in St. Louis at three dollars per ton, including all expenses. The common ores usually cost that price at the furnace.

The streams on the road afford an abundance of fine water power, suitable for forges and furnaces, in the midst of fine timber, and we may soon expect to see such establishments dotted all along the railroad.

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At St. Louis the ore will be met by the Cannel coal from the Osage, brought over the Pacific Railroad. Experiments have shown that this coal can be substituted for charcoal without impairing the quality of the iron, and experienced iron masters are sanguine of making rails, by the use of Cannel coal, direct from the ore, and of a quality, for toughness and durability, superior to any now in use.

The road to the Pilot Knob will develop other valuable deposits of iron ore, as well as lead and copper. About one mile south-west of the mountain is an immense quarry of granite, of pure quality, and equal to the Iron Mountain in quantity. There are fine marble and sandstone quarries in the same neighborhood. The railroad, in its extension from the Pilot Knob to the Arkansas line, with branches to Cairo and New Madrid, will continue some distance through a rich mineral country, covered with pine of the finest quality. The completion of the Iron Mountain road, with the branches and extensions, must soon develop the long hidden resources of Southeast Missouri, and add to the wealth of our city and State.

The following gentlemen are the officers of this road for the year 1858, and are eminently qualified for the position they hold:
Louis V. BOGY, Vice-President.
STEPHEN D. BARLOW, Secretary and Treasurer.
J. B. MOULTON, Chief Engineer.

Directors. — H. T. Blow, L. Babcock, Louis V. Bogy, H. B. Belt, H. C. Lynch, A. H. Hackney, F. A. Dick, Benjamin Farrar, George Gherke, J. H. Lightner, John Simonds, Madison Miller, Jas. Harrison.

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A gentleman (Prof. Swallow) of rare geological attainments estimates that the coal beds of Missouri can furnish 100,000,000 tons per annum for the next thirteen hundred years. Another authority of equal weight, Dr. Shumard, says that there are 480,000,000 tons of coal in St. Louis county. The coal beds of Illinois, lying but a short distance from the river and parallel with it, are of unlimited extent. The Osage and Callaway coal, which is inferior to no other kind for every process in the refining of iron ore, can be made available at small cost in manufacturing the finer branches of the iron business. The day is not distant when the right bank of the Mississippi will glow with furnaces, and the streets of St. Louis glitter with the marble and iron which the operation of this road will render cheap building materials. This may seem extravagant to some, but slight reflection on the facts adduced will make it evident that a less flattering exposition would be incorrect, and unjust to the prospects disclosed.

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Taylor, Jacob N; Crooks, M. O. Sketch Book of St. Louis: Containing a Series of Sketches of the Early Settlement, Public Buildings, Hotels, Railroads, Steamboats, Foundry and Machine Shops, Mercantile Houses, Grocers, Manufacturing Houses, Etc . St. Louis: George Knapp and Co, 1858. [format: book], [genre: guidebook; narrative]. Permission: Tulane University
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