The Mississippi River
& Bonne Terre
building of the
Mississippi River and Bonne Terre Railroad created unusual interest due
to the way it was constructed. Up to the year 1880 the products and
supplies of the St. Joseph Lead Co., one of the largest in the world,
were transported by means of wagons between the mines and the St. Louis
and Iron Mountain Railway. In this year the St. Joseph Lead Company
built a narrow gauge railroad thirteen and one-half miles long,
reaching from the mines to Summit in Washington County, a point on the
St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad. The cost was divided between the
two companies, the St. Joe paying two-thirds and the Desloge Company
paying one-third. In 1887 the St. Joe Lead Company purchased the
holdings of the Desloge Lead Company, and in an endeavor to find a way
to lower the transportation costs a shorter route was sought.
1888 a charter was granted to the Mississippi River and Bonne Terre
Railway Company and a line was surveyed from Riverside in Jefferson
County to the Mississippi River, twenty-five miles below St. Louis, to
Bonne Terre. It was constructed as a narrow gauge railroad and
completed between these two points in 1890 and the Summit Railroad was
abandoned. Four years later the road was changed to standard gauge and
later extended from Bonne Terre to Doe Run, crossing the Belmont Branch
of the Iron Mountain at Doe Run Junction. The total length of the
Mississippi River and Bonne Terre Railroad was, when completed, only
forty-seven miles long, but it proved a great factor in the development
of the Lead Belt and there was an enormous amount of traffic on the
road. It was constructed as substantially as most trunk lines. A branch
line was built to Leadwood and there are many additional miles of
feeders, switches and sidings. The railroad passed through the
important towns of Bonne Terre, Desloge, St. Francois, Flat River,
Rivermines, Elvins and Doe Run. At the present time it operates a
gasoline passenger train and two round trips are made daily.
Publishedby THE LEAD BELT
NEWS, Flat River,
St. Francois Co. MO, Fri.
June 10, 1938.
MR&BT Conductor's Hat
Hat Badge from a
MR&BT Annual Pass
MR&BT Railway MAP!
on the images below to view a larger image.
Missouri County Maps Showing
MR&BT Ry. Trackage