This 400 million-year-old rock island in Perry County, MO has a haunting backstory

Tower Rock has been the subject of much historical legend and lore.

Tower Rock is a natural island that sits in the middle of the Mississippi RiverTower Rock between Perry County, Missouri and Grand Tower, Illinois.

It was formed some 400 million years ago. At the present time, it stands about 60 feet above the average river level.

The large rock has been the subject of much historical legend and lore. Jacques Marquette first wrote about the feature in 1673. Then, William Clark mapped it in 1803 during his travels with Meriwether Lewis along the river.

Lewis described it as being made of “limestone and the same quality of the cliffs heretofore described” and that there were “strong  currents thus meeting each other form an immense and dangerous whirlpool which no boat dare approach in that state of the water…”

Some even say it’s haunted.

Researchers say an undeniably tragic wedding happened there on April 9, 1839. The wedding party crossed the river to hold the ceremony on top of Tower Rock. Afterward, the group’s boat got caught in a whirlpool. The only survivor was a slave.

The bridegroom’s niece was also born that day. On her twentieth birthday, they celebrated on Tower Rock. Legend has it, the slave who survived the whirlpool was the birthday girl’s “special guest.” Later in the celebration, the original wedding party appeared to rise from the depths of the Mississippi River.

And the story doesn’t stop there

Visiting Tower Rock

These days, a hiking trail leads you to a perfect place to snap a picture of the historical formation.

Tower Rock Conservation Area even has a few picnic tables where you can sit to eat right by the river.

From time to time, if the water gets low enough, the island is even accessible by foot.


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