Wednesday, November 7, 2007
You wouldn't know by looking, but this house was once a beachfront house, and it's sitting on a fortune.
Aeons ago a shallow lake covered the Midwest, and of course it had a beach. Its sand got weathered by wind, not water. The result was a vein of 99 percent pure white St. Peters silica sandstone, five miles wide, running from Minnesota down to to Missouri. My house perches right on it.
The cliff got detonated for road widening in 2002. Where it's been in the open air for some years, oxidation and water has turned the sandstone gray or red. Not far away there's a silica mine. In 50-lb. bags the old beachfront goes to make glass, chinaware, white paint, municipal water filters, and, coarse-ground, it's sold to make sand traps on golf courses. I like it just the way millions of years have left it.