The Offsets, Missouri


About an hour's drive south of St. Louis, Missouri, is The Offsets - also called Mine La Motte - a spring-fed quarry that has a long history of use as a mine. The first prominent white man to set foot on the soil, in the early 1700s, was the Sieur Antoine de la Motte Cadillac, governor-general of the colony of Louisiana under the Royal Company of the Indies. During the Civil War, Southerners raided the mines about the time of the Battle of Fredericktown. The Southerners captured 18,000 pounds (8,100 kg) of lead and took it back to Arkansas. The Northern army then destroyed several furnaces at Mine La Motte to keep the South from getting any more lead. Today, Mine La Motte is simply a place for the locals to come and swim or dive. The site is popular not only as a swimming hole and a recreational dive, but cave divers can explore several overhead environments. A C-card is required for recreational divers, and cave divers, too, must show proof of their specialty education.
Depths to: 50 feet (15 m)
Visibility: 5-30 feet (1.5 to 9 m)
Water temperature: In the summer, 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) at the surface and 50 F (10 C) at the bottom.
Fees: $20 but call in advance for seasonal adjustments.
On-site amenities:
Air is available.
More info:
Visit www.theoffsets.com or call (573) 756-8300.
Open: Seasonal but in the winter months can be accessed by calling the owner in advance.
Getting there: From Farmington, Missouri, south of St. Louis, take Missouri Highway OO for 13 miles (21 km). The Offsets is on your left.