by Jennifer Adele
From my personal and somewhat biased viewpoint, there is no place more beckoning and mysterious than the old Ruprecht Quarry in Bella Villa. I actually grew up right across the street from this abandoned and awesome site. I could look out the living room window of my condominium on Avenue H and see the old, neglected buildings, limestone rock piles, and haunted looking tree lines. On balmy summer evenings, with my bedroom windows wide open and the breezes gusting, whipping across the gaping maw of that quarry, it sounded as though the quarry itself were wailing, moaning, calling. I used to think it was calling to someone who never answered. And if it were calling to me, did I dare answer? It was all I could do to keep tight in my bed and find contentment in wondering, in fantasizing… for the grounds were forbidden and remain so to this day. No trespassers allowed.
A local St. Louis family the Ruprechts once owned the site and the quarry’s business early last century, back when the demand for limestone was high. Ruprecht Avenue is a picturesque street not that far away from the old site, and many Ruprechts are buried in cemeteries and crypts around the area. Although I’ve done some digging online, I haven’t found out much more than that… but the abandoned quarry is exquisite, even from the fence line, and the lack of history readily available leaves the possibilities endless, wide open to vast imaginings. The quarry itself is easily 300+ feet deep, with old wooden buildings that look like they came straight off of a Hollywood film set nearby.
From vacant buildings to rambling tree lines, from old rock piles desperate for use to trails that seem to vanish and then suddenly reappear, Ruprecht Quarry is the summit for horror and suspense writers. There is absolutely no better place in all of St. Louis to bring forth the thriller muse. The entire area seems positively alive and vibrating with the ghostly activities of past. If one is still enough, it is possible to discern the energy imprints from that long ago time. You can feel them surge amid all the tranquility and wildlife, rust and rot that has taken over. Nature is reclaiming what humans once conquered. The shells of the buildings gaze back at you with empty window eyes and tempt you to see into their soul, see who and what they once were and what they are becoming. The whole site summons one to come forward, to step up to the fence and dream.
Ruprecht Quarry is definitely one of my all-time favorite spots to conjure the muse as a local author, and as one who focuses on horror, suspense, and psychological thrillers… with a touch of something sexy and mythical. I go there to find the ghosts of days and dealings past, details that can twist and turn all throughout the writer’s process.