The Bainbridge Ferry Road consists of a half-mile section of abandoned roadbed which connected the Bainbridge
Ferry with the Green's Ferry Road in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. The Bainbridge Ferry and Green's Ferry
were important crossings on the Mississippi River, and the road connecting these two ferries were used by the
Cherokee during the Trail of Tears emigration of 1837-1839. The nominated section of roadbed is approximately
2,500' or 0.5 mile in length and is located entirely within the Trail of Tears State Park. An additional 1,100' of this
roadbed south of the nominated property also meets registration requirements, however, most 13f this section is on
privately owned land and is not included due to owner objection. The nominated property includes 5.7 acres which
is comprised of the roadbed and fifty feet of right-of-way on either side.
The property is located in Cape Girardeau County, approximately thirteen miles east of the county seat of Jackson.
The roadbed ranges from an elevation of 600' above sea level at the top of the ridgeline to 420' above sea level
where it intersects the paved Green's Ferry Road. The nominated section is 0.5 mile in length and was originally
part of a road which was some 5.5 miles in length. The majority of this 19' century road is now incorporated into
paved and improved roads which make up the present-day Bainbridge East Road, State Route 177, and Molley Road
(County Road 623). Because of 20" century improvements, only 3,600' of this roadbed retain a sense of time and
place from the era of the Cherokee emigration.
The original roadbed connecting the two ferry landings was in place by at least ca. 1806 when ferries were in
operation hy Joseph Waller and his son-in-law, Medad Randol on the Mississippi River. Due to steep hills west of
Bainbridge, travelers crossing the Randol Ferry at Bainbridge and used a road which led two miles west to the
valley of Flora Creek, and then north to connect with the Green's Ferry Road. The Green's Ferry Road was the
major easttwest corridor to connect these two ferry landings with the county seat of Jackson. During the Cherokee
emigration of 1837-1839, this route would still have been the main road to connect the two ferry landings and
connect with Jackson.
The nominated section of roadbed begins at the Trail of Tears State Park southern boundary and extends north for
approximately 800'. Just to the north of this boundary, the roadbed divides into two distinct and parallel sunken
tracks which are approximately 50' apart (Photo 1). These "multiple tracks" are typical of 19' century roadbeds and
are created when one roadbed becomes too washed out or difficult to use and a second or third track is formed
parallel to the original. The east track in this area appears to be the oldest and is eight to ten feet in width with four
to six foot high embankments (Photo 2). The west track is ten to twelve feet in width and has two foot high
embankments. After approximately 800' the two tracks merge into one roadbed which then turns to the northwest
(Photo 3). ,\long this section of ridgeline the roadbed continues to have multiple tracks on eithe:r side although not
as defined as the previous section to the south (Photo 4). After approximately 600' the roadbed turns to the northeast
and descends the ridgeline to the Green's Ferry Road. On this slope are two distinct tracks side by side. The east
track is approximately four feet in width while the west track is the major roadbed and is fifteen to twenty feet in
width (Photo 5,. Both of these tracks have embankments three to four feet in height. Throughout the entire length of
the nonlinared section the roadbed has a dirt surface and there is no evidence of modern improvements or the
addition of gravel or other materials.
The nominated section of the Bainbridge Ferry Road extends through a wooded area within the Trail of Tears State
Park and there are no buildings or structures within the viewshed of the roadbed. During the early 20' century
several dwellings were in the vicinity of this roadbed but none remain extant today. The roadbed is presently
abandoned and is not utilized as part of the park's trail system.