Old-timers still call it Gumbo. It's a place where water and land mingle. The mingling yields the thick, dark muck that gave the place its name. After a hard rain, ponds form out on the flats, and even when the sun is beating down on the parched earth, groundwater can be found not far below the surface. Silt from the Missouri River runs deep here, up to 95 feet. It was the rich alluvial deposits that first drew German settlers to the area in the late 19th century. They cleared the bottoms of cottonwoods and sycamores and planted their crops. After World War II, farmers organized a levee district to protect their fields from the constant... More >>>
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By Jay Fram
It may have been the burrowing of moles that caused the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee to collapse in 1993, or the roots of a large tree. Nobody really knows for sure.