Home | About | Contact/Order | Books | Websites |

The American Bottom

Muller's Cypress
Stringtown
Modedock Lake
Virgil's Corn
The American Bottom is a great floodplain that lays across the Mississippi from St. Louis. If I could, I would live on there, but in light of the Flood of 1993, I know I can't. Long before the flood, I haunted this place, making some very good images and a lot of mistakes. I learned to be a photographer here.
Mueller's Cypress: I knew the ins and outs of the bottoms so well that I could dodge the National Guard, which protected the bottoms from louters, and find a way in. I called Herbert Mueller and asked him about the trees. He told me he had planted a grove of cypress trees in a place he couldn't dry out. The trees surived the flood. The corn did not.
Stringtown: On a January day, I came upon a corn field at Stringtown, where water had pooled against a levee and sat for weeks. That's corn, not cat tails, that broke off at the water level.
Moredock Lake, the locals call it "Modock:" By Late January the lake had frozen over, marking the end of duck hunting season.
Virgil's Corn: America watched in horror as the flood washed away Virgil Gummersheimer's house. Its force broke off the corn and bent it in the direction. Finally, it washed in acres and acres of sand on his farm.