On our way back to Cape after the James McMurtry concert in St. Louis and a pause at the Fourche a du Clos Valley Roadside Park, we rolled into the tiny town of St. Mary.
There’s not a lot to remember about St. Mary
- It was (maybe still is) a notorious speed trap on Highway 61 (Highway 25 for REAL oldtimers).
- Much of the town has been lost to Mississippi River flooding.
- You don’t have to cross the Mississippi River to get to Illinois from there.
- It’s where you turn off to go to Kaskaskia to see the Liberty Bell of the West.
- There used to be a spooky old building up on the hill overlooking the town.
Built by slaves
The spooky old building is now a perky red and is a residential care unit. The Marian Cliff Manor’s website says that it was built with the help of slaves in 1861. The white tower was used by the Confederate sympathizer owner to view the movement of Union troops. Over time, it has been used by a number of religious non-profit groups. It is home for about 50 disabled veterans today.