New Signs Mark Historic Plank Road Route
Special Road District A recently installed signs marking the part of the Lime Kiln Road which was originally the Ste. Genevieve, Iron Mountain, and Pilot Knob Plank Road.
Built between 1851 and 1853, the 42-mile long road originated in Ste. Genevieve and extended to Iron Mountain in St. Francois County.
The road went from the foot of Market Street, through the present-day Mississippi Lime Co,, then along Lime Kiln Road to its junction with Route A near Zell. The road crossed what is now Interstate 55 to present-day Highway 32. It deviated from today’s Highway 32 at both New Offenburg and Weingarten. It went through Valley Forge, Farmington, and on to Iron Mountain along Route W.
The road was used to haul iron ore and forged products from Iron Mountain to Ste. Genevieve for shipment up and down the Mississippi River. Along the road, each mile was marked with a stone pillar. The Ste. Genevieve Museum has one of these original mile makers as well as a part of a plank from the road and the original seal of the Plank Road Corporation.
The Plank Road met its demise in the late 1850s due to high maintenance costs and the completion of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad.
Ste. Genevieve County and the state of Missouri maintained it as a gravel road. It was paved circa 1935.
The Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve donated the signs to mark this part of Ste. Genevieve’s transportation history.
(Information from Bob Mueller of the Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve.)