African Methodist Church Cemetery

African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery 10-28-2014When I did a post about the huge quarry just south and west of Old Appleton in July, Dennis Mize and Tom Mueller mentioned that there was a small African American cemetery located near the quarry.

On the way south from dropping Wife Lila at the airport in St. Louis, I decided to check it out.

They were right

African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery 10-28-2014Dennis and Tom were right. Just west of Hwy 61 on KK was the African American Church Cemetery marked by a sign that listed some of the names and family histories of those interred there.

Alexander Hull died in 1898

African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery 10-28-2014Alexander Hull was born in 1892, and died in 1898, before his 5th birthday. His stone was one of the easiest to read. It looked like it had been reattached to its base recently

Graves at quarry edge

African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery 10-28-2014When I strolled down the hill into a wooded area, the quarry popped into view. This grave was almost at the edge of a dead (pun not intended) drop-off. I could only wonder how many bones had been crushed along with the limestone over the years.

A huge hole

African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery 10-28-2014I’m going to guess the stone walls rising above the water are at least 75 to 100 feet tall. Apple Creek runs between the quarry and the farmland in the background. It must have been a challenge to keep ahead of the water when it was an active quarry.

Didn’t feel like exploring

African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery 10-28-2014I didn’t spend much time walking around that area of the graveyard. The ground sloped down toward the quarry and some of the overburden didn’t look stable. I had no desire to end up as a splash or worse.

Nature’s color palette

African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery 10-28-2014The late-afternoon sun and fall leaves made it a place of quiet beauty. A quick Google search didn’t turn up much information about the cemetery or the church it served.

Blasting area

Old Appleton Quarry 10-28-2014I’m sure the cemetery is a lot more peaceful since it’s neighbor, the old Appleton Quarry, has ceased blasting.

Quarry from the air

Aerial Old Appleton Quarry 04-17-2011This aerial photo taken in 2011 clearly shows how the quarry left a little plug of land where the cemetery is located. It’s much like how the cement plant quarry has mined around the Natatorium.

Click on the photos to make them larger.

 

 

 

Old Appleton Quarry

Aerial Old Appleton Quarry 04-17-2011You don’t realize how many quarries there are in Southeast Missouri until you fly over the area in a small plane. When Ernie Chiles and I went on a photo mission that took us up to Perry County in 2011, we passed over Old Appleton on the way home.

There is one HUGE pit on the west side of Hwy 61 at the intersection of  State Hway KK just south of Old Appleton. The brown water in the foreground is Apple Creek.

I couldn’t find much information on the quarry. There are still piles of gravel around, so it may still be active.

When I searched for quarries and Old Appleton, the only thing that popped up was a vague reference to Martin Marietta Aggregates, 224 State Hwy KK. A website not affiliated with the company (so far as I could tell) said that it has an estimated annual revenue of $2.5 to $5 million and employees 10 to 19 people.

Quarry photo gallery

Here some views of the quarry from other angles. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Fruitland Quarry in News Again

Fruitland’s Strack Quarry is back in the news again. I’m not even going to try to figure out what the latest wrangle is all about. I’ll let you go to Keith Lewis‘ story in The Missourian to try to figure out how a quarry that had approval to operate and which has moved a bunch of overburden and started poking a big hole in the ground can be told to put the brakes on.

When I was home last summer, I climbed a berm in on the south side of the Saxony Lutheran High School and shot a 360-degree panorama with the school behind me and a graveled area that is on the quarry property in front of me. I’ve marked the photo with compass directions to make it a little clearer. Click on the photo to make it larger.

Aerial looking north

I took this aerial photo April 17, 2011. The quarry property would be at the bottom of the picture.The yellow X marks the approximate place I was standing when I took the panorama. Highway 61 is at the top left. The Y-shaped building near the center of the photo is the high school.

Google Map shows scope of work

 

View Larger Map
This Google Map will give you an idea of how much land has been cleared for the project. If I’m reading the latest ruling correctly, the pit itself is outside the 1,000-foot latest requirement, but the latest interpretation would require the whole operation to be 1,000 feet away, even though the north end of the property alongside CR 601 is behind a berm that is as high as the rooftop of the school.

Area quarry stories

 

 

Tower Rock Quarry Exposed

When this aerial photo of Tower Rock was taken April 17, 2011, the river gauge in Cape was at about 43 feet and heading higher. The half-moon bay downstream and to the right of The Rock was a big circular corn field until the Flood of 1993, Gerard Fiehler of the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum said. The flood created a huge scour basin that’s a good 25 or 30 feet deep and several football fields across. Trees that grew along the basin are probably in the Gulf of Mexico today.

Click on any photo to make it larger.

We climbed Tower Rock in 2003

Brother Mark and I climbed to the top of Tower Rock in 2003. When the river stage in Cape is about six or seven feet, it’s possible to walk across to the rocky island. (It’s about 14 feet and falling on Nov. 7, 2011)

BE CAREFUL.  If the water’s more than a few inches deep, it can sweep your feet right our from under you. Missionary Father Marquette, who explored the area by canoe in 1673, said the “savages” believed Tower Rock to be “the demon that devours travelers.”

This view to the south shows the remnants of a quarry that was worked off and on for 135 years until almost all of the rock was exhausted in 1972. At normal river levels, only a little rock, if any sticks out of the water.

Low water uncovers artifacts

Despite the tremendous volume of water that sweeps over the area even in normal times, traces of track and tipple car wheels survive. These wheels could date to the late 1800s, Tower Rock, a book distributed by the Perry County Historical Society, says. The author thinks they may have been buried until the 500-year floor of 1993 uncovered them.

Acme Stone Crusher survives

Tower Rock identifies this rusting metal object as a steam-powered Acme rock crusher. A similar or the same crusher was used across the river in Grand Tower in the mid 1870s.

Steamboat tieup

Not far from the crusher is this dual-ring steamboat tieup. There are several different styles on the jetty, the  oldest dating to the 1830s to 1850s. The quarry was most active from the Civil War through the Great Depression.

Now’s the time to see Tower Rock Quarry

If you’re going to go, go while the weather is nice and the river is low. This opportunity doesn’t come often.

Tower Rock isn’t some place you stop on the way to somewhere else. You have to REALLY want to go there. You start by passing through Altenburg on Missouri Hwy A. (It’s worth stopping at the excellent Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum. In fact, I printed a couple dozen scenic photo books for their gift shop to sell to gauge if there’s a demand for them. They’re going for $14, a steal.)

Might be longest suspension pipeline in world

After going up and down some steep hills, just before you get to what’s left of the German pioneer village Wittenberg (Population: two buildings and three people), you’ll see a small sign off to the right pointing to Perry County 460, a steep and washboarded gravel road. As you drive along that road, you’ll spot what may still be the longest suspension pipeline in the world, that carries gas from Texas to Chicago. Not far from there, the road narrows and you pass through an area of fallen trees. I’ve spotted a momma deer and her two fawns twice on this stretch.

Stop, Look and Listen

Now things get interesting if this is your first trip. You’ll make a sharp 90-degree bend to the left and cross over the BNSF railroad tracks and make an immediate right-hand 90-degree turn paralleling the river. After not seeing any trains at the crossing for years, two have passed on my last two visits: Stop, Look and Listen.

The stretch along the river is narrow and there’s a steep drop-off to the water, but you seldom meet a car. Eventually, you’ll come upon a parking area at the Tower Rock Natural Area, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bussen to the Missouri Conservation Department.

If there are any persimmons left, give them a try. You won’t find any anywhere else that are sweeter.

Shameless Plug: Buy My Book

{Shameless Plug: don’t forget to stop in at the Altenburg Museum to pick up a copy of my Tower Rock book. The museum folks are nice and they’re going to be setting up their Christmas Tree exhibit in the next week or so. It’s worth seeing.]

 

 

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.