A warm and windy spring-day outing to Pacific, Missouri…Pacific is not too far from Spy Garden, but very different from the area where we live. The first sight you see when entering Pacific on historic route 66 is the St. Peter’s Formation:
These huge rock formations with big, striking “caves” (really old mine entrances) have quite an unceremonious presence in Pacific. There are no signs, no information, no parking (we just parked on some gravel on a side road). I wasn’t quite sure we were even “allowed” to be walking around here!
I didn’t know it was even called “The St. Peter’s Formation” until I looked it up when we returned. I knew it was a part of an active mine because a bustling U.S. Silica plant sits right along route 66 just a few “blocks” (rock blocks? haha) beyond where these pictures were taken. Train tracks run right up to the plant and the sounds of train whistles and chug, chugging are steady.
We learned that U.S. Silica is mining “St. Peter Sandstone” and that…
More than 65 million short tons of St. Peter, having an estimated present value of $2 billion, have been mined in Missouri from the 1870s to present. In 2008, more than 700,000 short tons of St. Peter at a value in excess of 20 million dollars were produced from Missouri. St. Peter Sandstone was originally used for the manufacture of glass. Its dominant use recently has been as a proppant in oil and gas formation stimulation nationwide. There is an estimated 3.8 trillion short tons of St. Peter Sandstone reserves in Missouri. (from Missouri Department of Natural Resources website, click here to read more about the properties of the sandstone)
Not a mile away, there is a little civil war memorial park that does have parking and signage/information. The description of Blackburn Park from Pacific’s website reads,
Home to Pacific’s Civil War replica cannon located on top of Sandstone mountain on 2nd Street off Osage. This is a breathtaking view of Meramec Valley and the civil war cannon are spectacular sites that you will never forget.
That’s a bit of an overstatement. It is a good vantage point, but I wouldn’t call it a mountain. Given, it was cloudy and the trees are still leafless, but still, this view of Pacific isn’t necessarily picturesque.
Our favorite part was this big sandy flat area below…Silica Valley, if you will. The kids collected rocks (never, ever underestimate the entertainment value of rocks!)
It would be nice to go back on a day when the sky was a good clear vibrant blue (would make for an entirely different set of pictures), but I like how the gray/bright-white sky kind of gave everything a little bit of an otherworldly look today! Happy Friday everyone!