From the earliest times stores tended to locate along what is now South Broadway, then the village's main street. Beginning about 1850, some St. Louis merchants established branch stores on Main Street in Carondelet. Christ Koeln set up a general merchandise store at Main and Taylor (Robert) Streets, in a structure also housing a grocery business. A four story hotel was built on Main south of St. Louis (Nagel) Street. In 1868, a homebased insurance company was begun followed by the Carondelet Savings Bank in 1870. By 1873, Carondelet had eighteen doctors and four drug stores, two livery stables, an undertaker and a real estate business.
Property values on Main Street between Elwood and Davis Streets ranged from $3 to $20 per front foot in 1848, with the highest valuation between Elwood and Kansas. By 1873, values between Elwood and Davis had a variation from $40 to $125 per front foot, with the highest values between Kansas and Steins Streets. In that year, several lodges were represented here including the Druids, founded in 1858, the Harugari, Odd Fellows and Masons. The latter had two lodges and a Royal Arch Chapter founded in 1869. A flourishing cultural pursuit was the Carondelet Sangerbund which presented music festivals and concerts. The A.K.U. Verein, a benevolent society, was founded in 1870 and is still an active organization in Carondelet.
South Broadway remains the principal commercial street in Carondelet today, with lesser amounts of business uses on Michigan, Alabama, and Ivory Avenues. Most of the stores are in old and minimally maintained buildings with a high percentage of vacancies. An economic anchor in the area has been the Southern Commercial and Savings Bank at Broadway and Nagel. While several banks operated in Carondelet for short periods prior to its founding in 1891, this bank has been in continuous operation there for over 80 years.
Probably the earliest industry in Carondelet was lead shot manufacturing in the late 1840's. Establishment of the dry docks and marine ways at the foot of Davis Street in 1857, sparked industrial development in the newly incorporated city. Soon a planing mill and a flour mill were started and two breweries were in operation. Shortly after construction of the railroad in the late 1850's, the iron making industry became a major factor in the local economy. Iron ore was brought in on the railroad from southeastern Missouri and was converted into pig iron at blast furnaces in Carondelet. Later discovery of great iron deposits near Lake Superior diverted the smelting activity elsewhere due to lower production costs and Carondelet's furnaces were closed down. Before prohibition, a major brewery was Klausmann's on South Broadway near the River des Peres. Founded in 1878, the brewery was a large complex of brick and stone buildings in the German style, which were finally torn down in 1937.
The marine ways at the foot of Davis Street were the scene of construction of iron-clads for the Union navy by James B. Eads during the Civil War and of the floating palaces on the river in the 1870's. The ways have grown into the St. Louis Ship-Federal Barge, Inc., one of the nation's largest producers of barges and river tow boats and operator of Federal Barge Lines. Nearby are major industries in the metal production field including the Liberty Foundry, established in 1906; National Lead Co. Titanium Division, in a plant covering 80 acres, and two steel casting companies. These are in the tradition of the great nineteenth century iron smelting industry in Carondelet set by firms such as the Vulcan Iron Works. While most of Carondelet's industrial activity is now located east of Broadway, a secondary center is to be found west of Alabama Avenue north of the River des Peres.