Bonne Terre, Missouri

Bonne Terre is a city located in the state of Missouri in St. Francois County.  It is approximately one hour away from the city of St. Louis.  It is a tiny town with an area of only 4.10 square miles wide.  As of 2010, the population was 6,864 residents.

History of Bonne Terre, Missouri

The city of Bonne Terre was originally established in 1720 by French settlers.  The purpose of their travelers was to uncover lead ore that was abundant in the area.  They named the area to be “La Bonne Terre,” meaning “the good soil.”  The direct translation of “Bonne Terre” from French to English literally means “good earth.”  Bonne Terre officially became a town in 1880.

Importance of Bonne Terre, Missouri

Although a tiny town in Missouri, Bonne Terre is used very much by the state of Missouri.  Predominantly, it is used as a place of executions at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center located in the town.  It has been used for this since the year 2005.  The town also includes a view of historical spots that have made it onto the Nation Register of Historic Places, including the Bonne Terre Depot, Bonne Terre Mine, and St. Joe Lead Company Administration Building.

The city of Bonne Terre is also known for its lead mining which was an active industry there for many years beginning in the 1870s.  The mining was particularly lead by the Desloge Lead Company, who also contributed money to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in Reynolds County, Missouri.  Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park was founded by Joseph Desloge in the year 1955.  The Bonne Terre mines, however, were first founded by Firmin V. Desloge, who created the family business.


The city of Bonne Terre is tiny in both size and population.  The United States Census Bureau reported that Bonne Terre has a total area of 4.10 square miles.  This is comprised of 4.04 square miles of land and 0.06 miles of water.


In 2010, the official census of Bonne Terre found there to be a population of 6,864 people.  These 6,864 residents made up 1,634 households with a population density of 1,699 residents per square mile.  The racial makeup of Bonne Terre was predominately white, making up 79.6% of the population.  African Americans made up 18.7%, Native Americans made up 0.34%, Asian backgrounds made up 0.2%, 1.35% were Hispanic or Latino, and Pacific Islanders made up 0.1%.  0.1% of the population was from another unspecified race, and 0.93% were from two or more races.

Among the 6,864 residents, the median age of people in Bonne Terre in 2010 was 34.2 years old.  Of these 6,864 people, 17.3% were under the age of 18, 12.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24, 37.1% were between the ages of 25 and 44, 22.3% were between the ages of 45 and 64, and 10.4% were found to be those 65 years old or older.  Bonne Terre had a population at the time that was mostly male, with females only making up 32.9% of the city’s residents.