Gila's Place | Where is Southeast Missouri?

Where is Southeast Missouri?

February 10, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I live in Missouri, and I love it. I live in a region called Southeast Missouri, commonly referred to as SEMO. It's beautiful here and the only state I have ever lived in that you could experience all four seasons in a single week, or sometimes, in just a couple of days. No joke.

When I started writing on Examiner, they made me pick a "region" of the state as they divided news categories and physical coverage areas. They originally had me doing material on the St. Louis Region, an island in itself, but about two hours away for me. I told them I wanted to write about stuff closer to home and they asked me what the largest community was in my area. I told them Cape Girardeau. But when they checked square miles, populations, etc., they didn't feel like Cape would be a large enough area to provide the needed material to support a column.

My ultimate suggestion was that I cover Southeast Missouri. They asked me, "Where's that?"

As I tried to explain I had to giggle because I really couldn't say exactly what geographical area "Southeast Missouri" encompasses. And the really funny part is that people that have lived here their entire lives couldn't tell you the exact boundaries either. I know, because I have asked many and I am not sure I ever got the same answer twice. I have heard one or two
(or many) arguments on the subject.

I had to give Examiner a geographical range and so I went in search of a definitive answer.

So where is Southeast Missouri, or SEMO, as area residents prefer to call it? What physical area does it encompass and where are its actual boundaries?

Well, as I said before, that all depends on who you ask.
Some say the line ends just north of Perryville and just south of  New Madrid. Anything that is south of New Madrid is supposed to be the Bootheel. Many will argue that the region extends farther west that most folks will abide.

University of Missouri shows the area larger than a lot of people include. agrees too. They include areas as far north as Ste. Genevieve County and as far west as Pulaski County.

And then there is this map given to me by a local politician that shows the Missouri Senate redistricting map for the area. It was made public in 2011. We SEMO folks took over the whole corner of the state according the the government.

And last by not least, here's a map that an area "old timer" sent me. He's a farmer so this is likely and agricultural map of some sort. His family has lived in SEMO for generations and he swears this is the correct mapping. And I do mean swears, passionately. His map doesn't surpass Bollinger County except for Iron County. No other counties directly south of Iron County or west of Bollinger County are included in his map. There's a whole chunk missing.

Of course, ask the the Army Corps of Engineers and they have their own take on things. The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources will tell you something a little different. And ask the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture to get a different version still yet.

I told Examiner that I would cover the area from St. Louis to the Bootheel and as far over as Bollinger County. They were good with that. But me, well, I am still seeking a definitive answer.

Welcome to the 'Show Me State", where the water runs clear in the creeks but answers to your questions are as clear as mud.



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