Bloody Island

Bloody Island, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, has a history that is closely intertwined with the city. Originally, it was the location of duels between Missouri politicians, and then it became a liability as it began to threaten the port of St. Louis.

Robert E. Lee was the officer in the Army Corps of Engineers who cleared out St. Louis’s channel and attached Bloody Island to Illinois, as it remains to this day.

Once the site of a huge network of railroad tracks and sidings that wound their way across the Eads and Macarthur Bridges, the area has returned to its forested origins, devoid of many signs of life and a few abandoned buildings, and all around desolate.

A few trains still pass through the area, as there is still an industrial presence at the various Cargill elevators along the riverfront.

But in general, a sense of abandonment permeates the area, and besides the red and yellow signs directing motorists to the Casino Queen, the dominant colors are browns, grays and traces of green.

The area is isolated, and not one where you should just go wandering without knowing where you’re going. Oddly, Google Maps has Bloody Island labeled on its maps. And yes, there are remains of yet another roundhouse in the area.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. I would love to be able to crawl that area with metal detectors. I bet there could be numerous items of historical value.

  2. Casey Ryback says:

    You just blew my mind with the google maps thing. Also, I noticed that the Roundhouse image was titled "clifton heights" – is this somehow/somewhere in the Clifton Heights neighborhood and not in East St. Louis?

  3. Chris says:

    Ignore the names of the images; the photo in question was taken in a group of photos that had been labeled "Clifton Heights." It is inaccurate. Sorry about the confusion.

  4. Tyric Costello jr says:

    So are any of these images is how the actual island looks today? Do the island flood bad as well and is it illegal to sail there?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      These are all images of what it looks like today. Bloody Island was attached to the Illinois bank by the Army Corps of Engineers, starting with the work of a young Robert E. Lee.

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