Ste. Genevieve (often shortened to “Ste. Gen” by locals) was founded in 1735 by French-Canadians from Illinois and is the oldest permanent European settlement in Missouri. Like many early settlements, the populous lived in town and farmed communal property. Once the Louisiana Purchase was completed in 1804, the area attracted German and Anglo-Saxon immigrants. This influx gave rise to more trade and merchants within the city limits. By the late 19th century, there were multiple quarries and lime kilns which aided the industrialization of regional cities, such as St Louis.
The M-I’s predecessor (Illinois Southern) was the first railroad into Ste. Gen (1902) and the Frisco came through two years later. For many years, the Frisco and the M-I shared space at the Union Depot. In 1938, the Frisco erected their own depot directly across the tracks.
Trains depart southward from Middle Yard, cross over Main Street on the bridge and arrive at the Ste. Genevieve depot where they pick up the occasional passenger in the caboose.
Several industries south of the depot are switched, including a busy plant for the International Shoe Company. A second industrial track, the Sofie spur, has a mix of spots including a house dock, an electrical equipment supplier (Falk) and a fuel dealer (Donze Oil). Many years ago, crews nicknamed this spur after a local girl, Sophia. Legend has it that Sofie sunbathed on the dock in various states of undress as gawking crews carried out their switching duties.
The Frisco interchange, just across from the M-I depot, is also worked. The SLSF serviced the Western Lime Works plant, but all of its coal originated in Pinckneyville, Illinois, moving along the MoPac and the M-I. Hence, this interchange sees a fair amount of hopper traffic.
Passage across the diamond southward requires clearance. Line-side phones are provided for the crew to call the tower operator.