Dave Massengale, Mark Twain National Forest, gave a presentation about the mysteries that still surround Lost Lake to an almost a full house at the Dent County Historical Society speaker series Sept. 10.
Massengale can entertain, and he did during his presentation, as much time was spent laughing and learning.
To learn more about Lost Lake go to thesalemnewsonline.com and search for the December 2018 article on the location.
Part of Massengale’s presentation helped a few of us think how much of our local mining history is lost, like the Sligo Furnace and the Frisco Railroad, Cuba to Salem Spur. Also, the Scotia Furnace that was said to have had the largest furnace at the time in the world on the east edge of Dent County. It was in existence about five years and it moved to Paducah, Kentucky.
Sligo relics are on private property and Scotia relics are on the Mark Twain National Forest. Just think in the late 1870s when these furnaces were going full-blast there were over 13,000 people living in Dent County and now we have under 15,000. How times has changed.
In the reorganization of the counties, Iron County “got the mine, and Dent County got the shaft.” that was said by an Iron commissioner at the 125th birthday ceremony of the Dent County Courthouse. Iron County got Viburnum and what became The Doe Run mining area was cut out of Dent County in 1857.
Also, our local Dent County railroad history has been lost.
All of these histories have to be gained from other records outside Dent County. So, if you have found that the farm you own, are living on or that was owned by your family in the past and it had an iron bank, or part of a planned railroad, like Riverside spur that was planned to go out to Scotia, or you have relics from the railroads or mines, get in touch with the Dent County Historical Society. Help us record our history.
I saw the last train leave Salem crossing Highway 68 as I was heading into Salem in the summer of 1985, by accident, just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
The Clark National Forest is the forerunner of the Mark Twain National Forest. The goal is to have a sign stating, “Formerly Clark National Forest” located below the MTNF information entering those Ranger Districts that were part of the Clark National Forest to prevent losing part of Missouri and Dent County History that recognizes its existence.
As an example, parts of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail passes through different Ranger Districts on the northern route like on the Potosi and Rolla Ranger District; the Benge Route passes through the Popular Bluff Ranger District and the Hildebrand Route passes through the Salem and Rolla Ranger Districts. I have solicited for the Northern Route, NPS sign plans for county roads, from the National Historic Trails Office out of Santa Fe, NM, and have received those from Cape Girardeau County to Green County and received the digital sign plans. Some of these county roads go through parts of the National Forest and eventually these roads will be marked with Trail of Tears Historic Trail markers.
For more information about the meeting contact Deloris Gray Wood, president of the Society at 729-2545 or Dave Massengale at the Mark Twain National Forest, at 573-729-6656.