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Tower Rock facts for kids

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Not to be confused with Grand Tower Island.
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Tower Rock Island
Tower Rock island monument 1.jpg
Geography
Location Mississippi River, Brazeau Township, Perry County, Missouri, United States
Highest elevation 344 ft (104.9 m)
Administration
United States
State Missouri
County Perry
Population (0)
Additional information
Official website
Tower Rock
Karl Bodmer Travels in America (9).jpg
Tower-Rock, view on the Mississippi (circa 1832): aquatint by Karl Bodmer from the book "Maximilian, Prince of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America, during the years 1832–1834"
Location Brazeau Township, Perry County, Missouri
Nearest city Wittenberg, Missouri
NRHP reference No. 70000344
Added to NRHP February 26, 1970

Tower Rock, also known as Grand Tower, is a rock formation and landmark island in the Mississippi River, in Brazeau Township, Perry County, Missouri, near the town of Wittenberg, Missouri, and across the river from Grand Tower, Illinois. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Tower Rock has also been dubbed with many names over the centuries: Cap de Roche, Cap St. Croix la Tour, La Roche de la Croix, Rock of St. Cosme, Castle Rock and Devil's Tower.

The earliest mention by Europeans of this island is by French missionary Jacques Marquette in 1673:

...we found ourselves at a river called ouaboukigou, The mouth of which is at the 36th degree of latitude. Before reaching it, we passed by a Place that is dreaded by the Savages, because they believe that a manitou is there, — that is to say, a demon, — that devours travelers; and The savages, who wished to divert us from our undertaking, warned us against it. This is the demon: there is a small cove, surrounded by rocks 20 feet high, into which The whole Current of the river rushes; and, being pushed back against the waters following It, and checked by an Island near by, the Current is Compelled to pass through a narrow Channel. This is not done without a violent Struggle between all these waters, which force one another back, or without a great din, which inspires terror in the savages....

Another early mention of the rock was by French-Canadian seminarian priests: fathers Montigny, Davion and St. Cosme, who planted a cross on the rock in 1698.

A ridge directly across the river from the island is named Devil's Backbone.

The earliest European inhabitants on the island were a band of river pirates, who settled here after being driven off Spanish soil west of the Mississippi River, was a pirate ambush spot. This outlaw haven was destroyed by the United States Army dragoons, most likely sent from the army post upriver at Fort Kaskaskia in 1803.

Meriwether Lewis mentions the island in his journals, stating that rivermen who passed the rock would celebrate in a way similar to sailors crossing the equator, by raising a drink of spirits.

Lutherans from Germany considered this island their Plymouth Rock, for here they landed, after seeking a place where they could practice religious freedom.

In a Nov. 6, 2003, article in the Southern Illinoisan newspaper, Mike Keeley, manager of the Tower Rock National Historic Site for the Missouri Department of Conservation, said that it's possible to walk out to Tower Rock every year or so because of low water levels on the river.

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