Originally published by the Daily Journal, written by Shawanna Robinson
A simple stone sits along the sidewalk in Long Park along Ste. Genevieve Avenue.
Hundreds of vehicles pass the marker noting the toll booths for the plank road each day – with many taking that route unaware they are traveling along the same road constructed more than 160 years ago.
In 1851, construction began on a plank road between Iron Mountain and Ste. Genevieve and would take two years to complete at a total cost of $200,000.
Five tollgates located along the route were also one way to help pay for the road.
A portion of the road ran on what is now Columbia Street and Ste. Genevieve Avenue in Farmington.
The Daughters of American Revolution, along with the Daughters of American Colonists, erected a marker along the route east of Farmington on Highway 32 noting the location of a toll gate along the plank road.
However, the location of the marker became unknown to some after the expansion of Karsch Boulevard. Thankfully, the marker was moved to Long Park along a portion of the plank road.
On Saturday, the Sarah Barton Murphy Chapter, NSDAR and Missouri State Society Daughters of the American Colonists are hosting a rededication of the marker at 11:30 a.m.
Tours of the Long House will also be conducted. A special selection of music will be played by Sheriff Dan Bullock and his band. The completion of the Iron Mountain Railroad to St. Louis around 10 years after the plank road was completed led to the loss of Iron Mountain customers.
The road would be purchased by the county in 1902 and made toll free. Two years later, it was closed and replaced with a crushed rock road.
“The most famous plank road ever built in the entire nation was hammered down right here in this part of the country,” Jon Cozean said during a presentation to the Farmington City Council in July of 2018. “The plank road is well remembered and never forgotten. It was the longest, most successful ... it ran through the center of town and played a major role in the growth of the Mineral Area, particularly in Farmington.”
“Today, thousands of travelers each day use the plank road’s same route traveling between Iron Mountain and Ste. Genevieve, which follows what was once an Indian trail. We must never allow the plank road to be forgotten.”
At some point, a portion of the sidewalk in the area of the marker in Farmington will be recreated to look like the plank road.