Perry County Missouri is a beautiful place! During my hosted visit Trish Erzfeld the Perry County Tourism Director took Keith and I to some wonderful outdoor places! This part of the country is so much fun to visit because it is so different than home. While central Illinois is beautiful in its own way, it is very flat. With the hills, trees, the Mississippi River and history, Perry County calls you back again and again to visit the wonderful array of outdoor activities!
Old Appelton Bridge
The Old Appleton Bridge is the only one of its kind still in it’s original location in Missouri. The bridge is a Pratt Truss Iron Bridge. We played like kids posing for pictures and traversing the side of the bank to see the waterfall up close! A mill was once located here.
What makes this bridge fun is that on one side of the bridge is Old Appleton, Cape Girardeau County and on the other side is Perry County, Missouri. There is a public park on the Perry County side!
The bridge was built in 1879. According to the Bridgehunter website, the bridge was, “Built 1879 by H.W. Sebastian & Co. of St. Louis; washed away by flash flood on December 3, 1982; reconstructed 2005.”
The bridge has been on the National Register of Historic places since 2009.
Hadler Shoe Tree
The Hadler Shoe Tree is unlike anyplace we had ever been before! Trish told Keith and I that along a road near the farm of the late Willard and Glenda Hadler is the Hadler Shoe tree. Glenda passed away in early 2016 and Willard passed away in late 2018. “They had been on a trip to Nevada where they saw a shoe tree,” Trish said.
After returning home, they started throwing their old shoes up in a tree. Soon others started doing the same. Now Perry County invites residents and visitors to do the same and share pictures on their Facebook Page.
Trish had commandeered a couple pairs of old tennis shoes for Keith and I to throw up in the tree. We each made a wish and threw our shoes each in our own fashion. I must admit I was pleased as punch to make mine stick on the first try!
The Perry County Courthouse
The Perry County Courthouse in Perryville, Missouri is quite lovely and fun to walk around. While you can’t just walk in the courthouse because of COVID-19 we were able to go up to the bell tower with Trish and take a view from the very top!
One unexpected find while in the bell tower area which is used now for storage was a scrawled note on a board that stated, “Be it known of all the lives yet lived, these were the best.” A cool reminder to live each day to the fullest!
Outside there are many things that make an outside walk fun as well. The cool gazebo, a sundial representing an eclipse, a beautiful War Memorial and more!
The last outdoor stop that you don’t want to miss is Tower Rock! This amazing rock juts out of the Mississippi River. “This is natural limestone and is the only one left of its kind,” Trish said. “The others have been blown up and used to rock the roads.”
Trish said that boats have to be extremely careful because there is a current that circles around the rock. We saw this huge barge go by when we went to see the rock!
It was first written about by Lewis and Clark back in 1803 during their travel on the Big Muddy! Trish said that the rock was saved due to Ulysses S. Grant who saw it during the Civil War. The Missouri Department of Conservation website page states, “At the end of the Civil War the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed clearing rocks from the river at this location to eliminate obstacles to navigation. Upon a recommendation of the Secretary of Interior, then president Ulysses Grant issued an executive order on March 4, 1871 which spared Tower Rock from blasting.”
Other outdoor activities
The area is ripe for bicycling! In fact, we were able to stay in Caroline’s, a beautiful bicycle hostel. The hostel is clean, cool and a great place to kick back! We were very comfortable there!
Even though they just opened up, they have had several people already try out the hostel. Cyclists have come from Alabama, Mississippi and other places from Missouri. Up to seven cyclists can stay at the Hostel! This is located behind the historic Faherty house!
For more information about Caroline’s Bicycle Hostel, you can reach out to the Perry County Heritage Tourism Center at 573-517-2069.
These are just a few of the outdoor activities available in Perry County. The area is a nature lovers dream. Hunting, fishing and a barn quilt trail make up some of the other outdoor activities available.