AMTRAK ROUTE GUIDE #50a -- St. Louis, Missouri to San Antonio, Texas
Part 2 - Arcadia to Poplar Bluff
St. Louis to Arcadia
Poplar Bluff to Little Rock


92      Pass through Arcadia.  In the future, a new AMTRAK station serving the Texas Eagle will be constructed near here.  We are in the center of a scenic part of the State known as Arcadia Valley.  Arcadia was named after the Greek region of Arcadia, and was set out and platted in 1849.  It was the setting of many of the works of author Melissa Miles McCarter.

          A fictionalized version of Arcadia serves as the setting of the 2014 ABC television drama Resurrection, although the series was actually filmed in Norcross, Georgia and elsewhere around Metro Atlanta.

93      On the right (southbound) is College Hill, which sis composed of Precambrian-aged volcanic rocks of the St. Francois Mountains.

96.5   We are now passing through the center of the St. Francois Mountains.  Just west of the railroad is Royal Gorge, a scenic canyon along Highway 21 cut into an extremely faulted section of Precambrian volcanic rocks.  Along the railroad, exposures of Cambrian-aged Derby-Doe Run Dolomite. Davis Formation, Bonneterre Dolomite, and Eminence and Potosi Dolomite can be seen.

          For the next several miles, we will be passing through exposures of the Precambrian volcanic core of the St. Francois Mountains, as well as the younger Cambrian limestone and dolomite formations.

98.5   Pass through Hogan, located a couple miles east of Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest peak in the State. The ruggedness of Taum Sauk Mountain is attributed to an old Indian tale about Mina Sauk, daughter of Chief Taum Sauk of the Piankishaw tribe.  The legend states that Mina Sauk jumped off the mountain after seeing her Osage husband thrown off the peak as punishment for Mina’s improper marriage.  The place where she landed is said to be the origin of 200-ft Mina Sauk Falls.

100.5 Pass through Glover.  On the right (southbound) is a large lead smelter.  Highway and railroad cuts are in the Cambrian-aged Eminence and Potosi Dolomite.

102    At Chloride siding, Big Creek is adjacent to the railroad on the left (southbound), and Little Creek joins Big Creek here on the left.

103.5 Cross Big Creek.

106.5 Pass through Sabula.  We are crossing the Sabula Basin, a large down-dropped block of Cambrian-aged bedrock which has dropped several hundred ft below the peaks of the St. Francois Mountains volcanic masses by faulting.

109.5-110.5 Pass through Annapolis, named after Annapolis, Maryland.  It is the home of the Freedom Fest, held on the first Saturday of October.  The festival includes a parade, an old car show, and other carnival-type activities. This area suffered severe damage from a tornado outbreak on March 18, 1925, one of the deadliest tornado events in the history of the United States, which affected several states.

          On the left (southbound) the hillsides are composed of Cambrian-aged Eminence and Potosi Dolomite intruded by Precambrian volcanic rocks of the St. Francois Mountains complex.

111.5 Cross Big Creek

114.5 Pass through the unincorporated community of Vulcan, a former mining town which supplied St. Louis with iron from the Vulcan Iron Works.

116.5 Ruble Mountain, on the right (southbound) is composed of Cambrian-aged Eminence and Potosi Dolomite.

117   Enter WAYNE County, organized on December 11, 1818, and named after Revolutionary War hero General “Mad Anthony” Wayne.  The formation of the county predates the admission of the State of Missouri into the United States in March of 1819.  The county was created from parts of Cape Girardeau and Lawrence Counties, and once extended west all the way to the Kansas state line. The county seat is Greenville.

120    Pass through the unincorporated community of Gads Hill, best known as the site of the first train robbery in Missouri on January 31, 1874.  At the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, & Southern train station here, the James-Younger gang boarded the train and robbed passengers of somewhere between $2000 and $22,000.

         Gads Hill was established in 1872 by George W. Creath, and was the country home of British author Charles Dickens.  In 1887, the name of the town was changed to Zeltonia; however, it was changed back to Gads Hill in 1906.

         Note large mine on the left (southbound), likely dug into the Precambrian-aged volcanic rocks and mined for construction aggregate.

125.5-127.5 Pass through Piedmont, which began in the mid-1850’s when two brothers who had fought in the Mexican War, James and William Daniel, purchase property here.  James was a farmer, but William began a general store in the area.  The community was first known as Danielsville, after these two brothers.  The name Piedmont comes from the French for “foot of the mountain.”

         The railroad came through in 1871, and the town began to grow.  In 1948, the Clearwater Dam west of town was opened to impound the Clearwater River for flood control.  Clearwater Lake is still used for flood control, but is also a major tourist attraction during the warmer months.

129    Piedmont Municipal Airport is visible on the left (southbound)

131   Black River is adjacent to the railroad on the right (southbound).  This is the river which has been impounded to create Clearwater Lake (see MP 125.5 above).

133    Pass through Leeper, which was founded in 1874, but named after Union Army Capt. W.T. Leeper, who, in 1871, convinced the Iron Mountain Railroad to run through his property.  A sawmill was established here in 1872. The town was founded by Sid Leeper, W.T.’s son.  In the early 20th Century, the Ozark Hotel in Leeper was one of the Ozarks’ most fashionable resorts.

          On January 21, 1903, a black man, Andy Clark, was lynched here.

          The hillsides along the valley here are composed of Cambrian-aged Eminence and Potosi Dolomite, overlain by Ordovician-aged Gasconade Dolomite.

134-134.5 Pass through Mill Spring, which is named after a large spring which was located here and once powered a lumber mill.  The village was laid out in 1871.

137   Black River is now adjacent to the railroad on the right (southbound).  Hillsides are composed of Ordovician-aged Roubidoux Sandstone overlain by Ordovician-aged Gasconade Dolomite.

142    Across the Black River on the right (southbound) is Markham Springs Recreation Area.  The springs have developed in the Early Ordovician-aged Gasconade Dolomite.

145-146 Pass through Williamsville, which was named after the town’s founder Asa E. Williams.  This town was once an iron mining and lumbering town.  It was founded in 1822.

          Note the flood plain of the Black River on the right (southbound).

147   Black River is again adjacent to the railroad on the right (southbound).

149.5 Enter BUTLER County, the last county we will be passing through in Missouri.  The county was organized on February 27, 1849, from a portion of Wayne County.  It was named after U.S. Representative William O. Butler of Kentucky.  Butler also ran for U.S. Vice President in 1848, along with Lewis Cass, the Presidential candidate, on the Democratic ticket, but was defeated by Whig candidate Millard Fillmore, the V.P. for President Zachary Taylor.  The Butler County seat is Poplar Bluff.

151.5 Pass beneath U.S. 67.

152    Pass through the unincorporated community of Hendrickson, named after an early Danish settler.  On the right (southbound) is the Black River, and beyond the river is a quarry in the Early Ordovician Gasconade Dolomite.

157-158 Crossing the flood plain of the Black River.  The hills on the left (southbound) are composed of Early Ordovician-aged Roubidoux Formation.

158.5 Pass through unincorporated community of Hilliard.

160.5 Cross Black River

165   POPLAR BLUFF station, 400 S. Main Street.  Elevation approximately 354. The Poplar Bluff AMTRAK station is located on the boundary between the Ozark Plateau, which we have been traversing since St. Louis, and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, a subprovince of the Gulf Coastal Plain geomorphic province,

         Poplar Bluff was named for the abundance of poplar trees overlooking the bluffs of the Black River and the Mississippi Valley. The city was founded in 1850, but first explored in 1539 by the Hernando de Soto Expedition.  The city was incorporated on February 9, 1870.  Starting in 1873, the railroad encouraged the development of the lumbering industry in the area for a few years; however, in the early 20th Century, when the lumbering business began to decline, the economy changed to agriculture.

         Poplar Bluff today is a wholesale and retail center for southeastern Missouri.  It is the home of the Margaret Harwell Art Museum and Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.

                We will be traveling along the border between the Ozark Plateau and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain for several miles now.  The geology of the Alluvial Plain consists of very young alluvial sediments deposited by the Mississippi River.