Land Divisions

In 1859, the Carondelet Commons, which surrounded the town on three sides, was subdivided and tracts within it were sold. Subdivision activity in the vicinity began about 1860, reached a peak about 1880 and continued into the early nineties. The Carondelet Commons was a portion of a large tract of 6,000 acres, extending for ten miles along the riverfront, which was granted to the village by the Spanish government in 1796. At the time of the Louisiana Purchase transfer in 1804, Carondelet had a population of about 250 persons occupying fifty houses. The inhabitants of the village, although legal owners of the large tract, had no means of governing it.

This became evident in 1826 when 1,700 acres were sold to the United States government for only $5.00 by virtue of signatures of only twelve of the village's land holders. This tract was later developed by the War Department as Jefferson Barracks. To establish a formal local government, the village was incorporated by the County Court as the Town of Carondelet on August 27, 1832. It was governed by a five member board of trustees who occupied a small stone town hall on the east side of Broadway south of Bowen Street. To the south of the town hall was a venerable spreading elm tree under which town meetings were held. In 1837 the Commons south of the River des Peres was surveyed and subdivided into large tracts which were used in later years for truck gardening.