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"THE DUMPS"-IRON MOUNTAIN.
ample breast. Every conceivable variety of river boat grates its keel against the St. Louis levee the floating palace, the "Great Republic;" the "Natchez," or the "Robert E. Lee;" the strong, flat bottomed Red River packet; the cruisers of the Upper Mississippi and of the turbid Missouri: the great processions of barges, laden with coal and iron and lead and copper ore; the huge arks of the Transportation Company, each capable of concealing a hundred thousand bushels of grain within its capacious bosom; and rafts of every size and shape are scattered along the giant stream, yet seem but like chips and straws on a mountain brook. Nearly three thousand steamboat arrivals are annually registered at the port of St. Louis. Drifting down on the logs come a rude and hardy class of men, who chafe under city restraint and now and then require stern management. Sometimes one of these figures, suddenly arriving from the ancient forests on the rivers above, creates a sensation by striding through a fashionable street, his long hair falling about his wrinkled and weather-beaten face, and his trusty rifle slung at his shoulder.
When the "ice gorges" come, the steamboatmen on these upper waters of the Mississippi suffer. Faces are dark with anxiety every day, black with fear at the news of each fresh disaster. Even the dreaded "low water," with all the dangers of "snags" and sunken wrecks, is not so much to be feared as one of the great ice sweeps which, with its glittering teeth, will in a few moments grind hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property to atoms. In December the Mississippi at St. Louis is sometimes closed by ice, and hundreds of teams cross to and from the Illinois shore upon the natural bridge over
the stream; suddenly there is the breaking up,
a gorge, and dozens of boats, with their cargoes, are swept away and annihilated. Then come the stories of romantic and hairbreadth escapes; the population along the banks are mad with excitement over the pending fate of some unfortunate family swept out into the current when the ice breaks up, and steamboat owners hardly dare look in a newspaper. But the record of the disasters even is not without its grim humor. In 1872 there were over five hundred and fifty disasters on the Mississippi river and her tributaries-by few of which, however, was there any loss of life. But the destruction of property is annually enormous. It occurs in almost every conceivable manner. One can hardly repress a smile at the announcements, in the terse, expressive language of the river, that " Phil. Sheridan broke loose at St. Louis," "Hyena broke her engine," "Lake Erie ran through herself," "Mud Hen blew up at Bellevue," "Enterprise broke a wrist at Cairo," "Andy Johnson blew out a joint near Alton," "Wild Cat sunk a barge at Rising Sun," "Humming Bird smashed a shaft," "St. Francis broke her doctor," Daniel Boone crowded on shore by ice," or "John Kilgour, trying to land at Evansville, broke nine arms." The rivermen have not been satisfied to confer upon their beloved craft the names of heroes and saints; but they rake up all fantastic cognomens which the romance of the centuries, or the slang of the period can afford, and bestow them upon clumsy and beautiful crafts alike, while they pay but little regard to incongruities of gender or class; the "Naiad " may be a coal barge, and the "Dry Docks" a palace steamer. The ice makes short work of even the largest cargoes; the river will swallow up several hundred thousand bushels of coal or grain as if it were the merest bagatelle, while the gorges gape for more.
Hundreds of barges annually leave St. Louis for Pittsburg, carrying loads of iron ore via the Ohio river. It is a long and wild journey, moving slowly upon the treacherous currents of the two great rivers, the men on the barges sometimes living for
THE SUMMIT OF PILOT KNOB.
water brought up fresh from the stream. Here, in a zinc furnace, half a dozen Irishmen wrestle with the long puddling rods which they thrust into the seventy-timesseven heated furnaces; the green and yellowish flames from the metal are reflected on their pale and withered features, and give them an almost unearthly expression. Farther on, the masons are toiling at the brick work of a new blast furnace, which already rears its tall towers a hundred feet above the Mississippi shore; not far thence you may see the flaming chimney of the quaint old Carondelet furnace-the first built in all that section; or may linger for hours in such immense establishments as the South St. Louis or Vulcan Iron Works, fancying them the growth of half a century of patient upbuilding, until you are told that nearly every establishment has been created since the war. The Vulcan Iron Works, which now employs twelve hundred men in its blast furnaces and rolling mills, overspreads seventeen acres, boasts $600,000 worth of machinery, and has two furnaces smelting twenty-five thousand tons of ore annually, while its rolling mill can turn out 45,000 tons of rail in a year, was not in existence in 1870, indeed there was not a brick laid on the premises. There is nothing else so wonderful as this in the South or South-west; Kansas City, in the north-western part of the State, is the only other place in Missouri which can show such material progress. The little Rivière des Pères, where the holy Catholic fathers once had a mission among the Osage Indians, empties into the Mississippi, close beside the Vulcan Iron Works; its banks are piled high with coal and refuse. The fathers would know it no more. They would stare aghast at the great thousand horse-power pump; at the myriads of fiery snakes crawling about on the floors. of the rolling mill; at the regiments of Irish laborers, the cautious groups about the doors of the sputtering blast furnace, and the molten streams pouring into the sandbeds to form into "pigs" of iron; and could hardly credit the statement that Carondelet furnaces alone. can manufacture 140,000 tons of iron yearly.
This sudden and marked progress at Carondelet is significant. Such amazing growth is indicative of a splendid future. The heart of the republic, the great commonwealth of Missouri, is to be the England of to-morrow. The elder England is fading out; her iron-fields are hausted; and her producers growl because American iron-masters can at last undersell those of England. Missouri's stores are inexhaustible. There are a thousand railroads locked up in the great coffers of the Iron Mountain. A thousand iron ships lie dormant in the ore pockets scattered along the line of the Atlantic and Pacific Railway; a million fortunes await the hun
than it is in the cheapest furnaces in Wales. The four or five millions which St. Louis. now has invested in the manufacture of pig-iron will, in a few years, become forty or fifty, and the furnaces in South-eastern Missouri, and the ore sent from them and smelted in the Pennsylvania furnaces will girdle the world. The aggregate production of pig-iron in Missouri furnaces in 1870 was 54,000 tons; in 1880 it will be ten times that amount, for the capacity of Carondelet alone in 1873 was nearly three times as much as that of the whole State three years ago.* If St Louis, unaided by any special interest, could increase the value of her manufactured products from
ters who shall come and take them. souri is one of the future great foundries of the world; the coal-fields of Indiana and Illinois are near at hand; the earth is stored with hematites; the hills are seamed with speculars; the work has already begun in earnest. Enough good iron ought to be produced from Missouri ores and Illinois coal to supply the wants of the United States henceforth, and at the rate at which furnaces are at present multiplying throughout the State, this consummation will be reached. All the conditions for a favorable competition with England have at last been arrived at, for the cost of labor in Missouri furnaces to-day is but a trifle more
$27,000,000 in 1860 to more than $100,000,000 in 1870, what may she not be expected to accomplish with the Iron Mountain at her back in the decade at whose very beginning she has demonstrated such wonderful capacity for progress?
How long, before, with proper investment of capital, St. Louis may be the center of a region producing as many millions of tons of pig iron annually as are now produced in England? As she has begun
*The coal used at Carondelet comes from the
Illinois side of the Mississippi, and a new bridge the high prices charged during the icy season may across the stream at that point is contemplated, that
-less than twenty years would allow her to arrive at that pinnacle of commercial glory; and at that epoch, even the good Reavis, the enthusiast of Missouri, the apostle of St. Louis, would be willing to receive his nunc dimittis.
I will not take for my model the ingenious individuals who have lightened the ennui of their leisure by computing, upon a highly speculative basis, the exact number of tons of ore contained in the famous Iron Mountain. But there is no doubt that the term inexhaustible can with justice be applied to its stores. Certain acute English witnesses have recently, after a careful survey, declared that the coal and iron deposits of Alabama are now the most deeply interesting material facts on the American continent. Whether or not this statement is at all influenced by the knowledge that numerous investments in Alabama's iron fields have been made by Englishmen, or by ignorance of the quantity and quality of the ore in Missouri, I do not know; but there is no doubt that the latter state may certainly claim an equal share in the interest which her wealthy sister of the South has awakened, so far as the value of her deposits is concerned. It is said that the hematites of Alabama, which yield fifty-six per cent. of metallic iron, will compare favorably with the best ores of Cumberland and the North of Spain; what shall we say, then, of the ores of Missouri, which in many cases boast a proven yield of sixty-six per cent.? The main iron region of Missouri is situated in the south-east and southern portions of the state, and the greater portion of it is adjacent and directly tributary to St. Louis. The hundreds of thousands of tons of ore annually sent out of the state to be smelted all pass through or near the great city.
My visit to the Iron Mountain had been resolved upon before I entered Missouri; but my wildest ideas of its importance were none too exaggerated for the reality. The "mountain" is situated eighty-one miles south-west of St. Louis, on the Arkansas branch of the Iron Mountain railroad. The route thither in summer time is charming. The railroad runs so near to the banks of VOL. VIII.-18
THE CAPITOL AT JEFFERSON CITY.
the Mississippi (there high and rugged), that nervous people, not fascinated by the grand outlook over the current, may confess to a tremor now and then. But the exquisite shapes of the foliage on the one bank, and the great expanse of the "bottoms" on the other, made a pleasing picture, to which the dazzling sheen of the broad sheet of smoothly flowing water, bearing lightly forward the white steamers and the dark, flat barges, lent a strange charm. From Bismarck, a pretty little station among pleasant fields, it was but a brief ride to Iron Mountain station, the town which has grown up out of the mining interests managed and owned in these later years by Chouteau, Harrison and Vallé. Three of the wealthiest families in Missouri are represented in the ownership of this and the adjacent region, and each has been much interested in the material development of the State. The "mountain," which rises rather abruptly from a beautiful valley, land-locked and filled with delicious fields, was originally rather more than two hundred feet high, and its base covers an area of five hundred acres. All the country round about is still crowded with reminiscences of Spanish domination. The names of some of the counties and towns call up French and Spanish souvenirs; and the "King's Highway," running through St. François county, is still often called by its original name. The people in the vicinity are quiet and usually well-to-do farmer folk, and look upon the mountain as the most wonderfu! of natural phenomena. The French and Spaniards seem never to
have suspected the rich nature of the queerly shaped elevation and its surroundings; for the original possessor, Joseph Pratte, who obtained it by a grant from Zenon Trudeau, the Spanish governor, in September of 1797, mentions in his petition for a grant that the land is sterile, and only fit for grazing. Pratte's grant composed some twenty thousand arpents, or seventeen thousand English acres, and from his hands it became the property of Van Doren, Pease & Co., who were recognized as the Iron Mountain Company in 1837. Congress had meantime confirmed the Spanish grants. In 1843 the American Iron Mountain Company took the place of the abovementioned firm. August Belmont, of New York, was among the subscribers to the capital stock, which was $273,000; and James Harrison, of St. Louis, one of the most energetic iron workers of the West, was its first president. For many years the investments of the original companies did not pay, and the investors were sneered at as guilty of an act of folly. In those days the Iron Mountain Railroad was not, and all the ore dug out was hauled painfully forty-five miles in carts to the ancient town of St. Genevieve. But when pig iron became worth $85 per ton, there was no lack of energy in examining the real resources of the mountain, and since 1862 the company has taken millions of tons of ore from the surface and from the deep incisions made in the hill-sides. The ores there, as throughout the section, are mainly rich specular oxides, and were originally
pronounced too rich to work. Even to this day the surface specimens are plenteous, and one could readily pick up a cart-load of lumps all ready for the furnace. In the deep cuts and along the mountain sides more than one thousand men were at work; Irishmen, Swedes and Germans predominated. The mountain is composed almost exclusively of iron in its purest form, and the regiment of laborers mine ore enough to load one hundred and twentyfive cars, carrying ten tons each, daily, and to supply two furnaces of large capacity, established at the base of the mountain. A century of hammering at the hill's sides will not bring it level with the valley, and the ore is so intermingled even with the earth, that I found a number of stout Swedes washing it very much as gold is washed for, and extracting tons which, in more careless days, had been thrown away. Iron Mountain 1S a typical Missouri mining town. It was mainly built up by Hon. John G. Scott, of St. Louis, an exCongressman, and largely identified with all the iron interests of that section. Mr. Edwin Harrison, the present president, and one of the principal owners, is an accomplished metallurgist, one of the most active business men in the South-west, and interested in a dozen large and successful enterprises connected with the development of metal. Both at Iron Mountain and at Irondale, as well as at other mining towns which I visited, the workmen have built handsome cottages, and liquor and the other debasing influences