Following the Eclipse I spent a few days at Troy’s before heading back towards Indy, taking an alternative route through the river town of Saint Genevieve, Missouri where I sought to satisfy my ferry and ‘big water’ fetishes.
The first Bridge across the upper Mississippi River was not built until 1856 and the first one across the lower Mississippi wasn't built until 1892. Prior to the building of these bridges, crossings were by boat or ferry. Today only 16 bridges span the Mississippi from Kentucky to the Gulf. In spite of the lack of bridges, the use of ferry boats is declining.
Most of the early bridges were Railroad bridges. Prior to these bridges, the only way to get a train across the Mississippi was by train ferries. The railroad tracks would go down to the rivers edge where the ferry would be waiting and drive right onto the barge for transfer to the other side. Train ferries operated on the Mississippi as late as 1982 (Natchez, MS.).
The Ste Genevieve Ferry was one of these train ferries linking the Union Pacific railroad across the Mississippi River. Locally referred to as The French Connection, the Ste. Genevieve - Modoc Ferry is a quick connection between Sainte Genevieve, Missouri and southern Illinois and is the official crossing point for bicyclists enjoying the Great River Road or the Mississippi River Bicycle Trail. The ferry operates year-round, except when river conditions make ferry operation unsafe. The ferry accepts cash or check, and currently does not accept credit cards.
Be prepared to use the 'pause' button to read/view some items. Best viewed at full screen.
STE GENEVIEVE-MODOC FERRY, now has its own phone kept in the wheelhouse 573-535-1354 is the number for calls or text. Mo side of the river does get poor reception but you may also call Ste Genevieve Visitor Center at 573-883-7097 for assistance.
From Southeast Missouri to Kampsville, Illinois there are 7 ferries in operation, crossing the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.
Having crossed the 2 southern ferries (the Dorena-Hickman Ferry & the Ste. Genevieve-Modoc River Ferry) the 5 remaining ferries are all north of St. Louis.