Did You Know Missouri’s Bootheel Used to Be a Great Big Swamp?
Missouri has changed a lot in the past 120 years and no area more than the Bootheel which used to be one great big swamp.
I have to confess that I was not aware of the Great Swamp that used to be a major feature of the geography of southeast Missouri. I became aware when I saw a recent share on the Missouri sub-Reddit that showed what a map of Missouri looked like in 1845. Pay special attention to the swamp area in the Bootheel.
Neueste Karte von Missouri (New Map of Missouri) printed in 1845 in Germany and distributed in Amsterdam, Paris, and Philadelphia. It shows the Great Swamp, a different Springfield, and the Boone's Lick Road
by u/como365 in missouri
That led me to research where I learned that there was a major effort around the turn of the 20th century to get that area of Missouri drained so it could be used for agriculture.
The Southeast Missourian said that this part of Missouri was known by several names - the Great Swamp, Dark Cyprus or Big Swamp. They say that it was the largest draining effort in history when it was attempted between 1909 and 1926 and cost $11 million dollars which is a hefty sum for that time.
That part of Missouri never did get 100% clear of the swamp area, but the story says it's about 95% done.
While there are still remnants of that geology in the southeast part of Missouri, it's nothing like it was over 120 years ago when swamps ruled the land.