Saint Mary, Missouri
Saint Mary was established in 1839 on the banks of the Mississippi river. The town grew as a regionally important river port until a flood in 1881 caused the main channel of the Mississippi river to shift 4 miles east. Kaskaskia, Illinois which had been a major French colonial town and capitol of the Illinois Territory was essentially destroyed during this flood. The townsite of Kaskaskia is about 5 miles northeast of Saint Mary and has a few restored historic buildings. Saint Mary managed to survive the loss of it's river port and continued slowly growing through the first half of the 20th century. In 1951 a leather goods factory opened in town that employed as many as 750 people. That factory closed in the early 1980s and no traces of it remain. Today Saint Mary is a very small, sleepy town and there are very few indications of it's history to be seen. The road to Kaskaskia which passes through a part of Illinois now isolated from the rest of the state by the Mississippi crosses the former Mississippi river channel.