Grand Tower, Illinois

“At Grand Tower, too, there was a railway; and another at Cape Girardeau. The former town gets its name from a huge, squat pillar of rock, which stands up out of the water on the Missouri side of the river– a piece of nature’s fanciful handiwork–and is one of the most picturesque features of the scenery of that region. For nearer or remoter neighbors, the Tower has the Devil’s Bake Oven–so called, perhaps, because it does not powerfully resemble anybody else’s bake oven; and the Devil’s Tea Table– this latter a great smooth-surfaced mass of rock, with diminishing wine-glass stem, perched some fifty or sixty feet above the river, beside a beflowered and garlanded precipice, and sufficiently like a tea-table to answer for anybody, Devil or Christian. Away down the river we have the Devil’s Elbow and the Devil’s Race-course, and lots of other property of his which I cannot now call to mind.”

Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883.

Above is the Devil’s Backbone, I think. It seems, as Twain noted, that every feature near the town of Grand Tower is named after the Devil. In the fall of 2022, Tower Rock was exposed by low water and visitors could walk up to and around the massive rocky landmark from the Missouri bank of the Mississippi.

The river dominates the town, and has swallowed it on numerous occasions.

Update: It’s a gas pipeline bridge.

The bridge off in the distance has no road or track bed; as far as I can tell, it functions only for power lines. But that doesn’t seem right, either.

The town itself has a couple of interesting buildings, such as this corner store above, and the old city hall below.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Casey F. Ryback says:

    You can actually see that bridge if you get creative with google street view near that town.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Cool, certainly is strange, isn’t it?

  2. Drew says:

    google satellite view of the cable bridge clearly shows it connects to no roads and the supports are anchored where a road would go too. perhaps this is a gas or oil pipeline.

    1. Tom Maher - Kirkwood MO says:

      It is a gas pipeline.
      Long and interesting story here:

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