Locale and Topography
About 1702 a temporary settlement was made by Catholic missionaries to the Indians at the mouth of the River des Peres, which received its name therefrom, meaning "River of the Fathers."
The village which was later named Carondelet was founded in 1767 by Clement DeLore de Treget on a trip upriver from Sainte Genevieve. He chose a site for his family home at what is now the foot of Elwood Street, near the river but above the flood stages. DeLore was soon joined by other French settlers who migrated from Cahokia and Kaskaskia, forming a village. DeLore was apparently vested with authority to govern the colony by the Spanish, who had acquired Louisiana Territory by treaty from the French in 1762. He laid out long strips of land for cultivation in the Carondelet Commonfields, which ran from the location of present day Virginia Avenue west to that of Morganford Road. It was bounded on the south by a line which parallels present Holly Hills Boulevard and reached northward to what is now Meramec Street. South of this farming area DeLore laid out a large Commons of pasture land for grazing of livestock. This area was bisected by the River des Peres and became known as the Carondelet Commons North or South of the River des Peres, including what is now the Jefferson Barracks.
The original French village was located near the north end of what is now called Carondelet, just south of the hill where Bellerive Park is now situated. At first called DeLore's Village, it underwent several name changes such as Louisburg, Prairie a Catalan and finally, in 1794, Carondelet in honor of Baron Francois Louis Hector de Carondelet, the Spanish governor of Louisiana. Carondelet was a Frenchman who married into a family that was influential in the Spanish government. Lots in the village were allotted by DeLore, but few of the settlers had deeds.
However, ownership was established through verbal grants. They effectionately referred to the village as "Vice Poche", meaning "Empty pockets", a reference to either the financial status of the inhabitants or to that of visitors departing after gambling losses in Carondelet gaming houses. The old village of Carondelet was located on a plateau above high river stages eastwardly from the present day Broadway to the Mississippi. It was rimmed by higher ground on the north and west, with the crest of the latter being generally at Michigan Avenue. To the south the land sloped toward the River des Peres and beyond that it began a general rise southward toward the Barracks area.
Roads and Streets
Principal roads in the area ran in a north-south direction, with Broadway being the town's Main Street, in St. Louis it was known first as the road to Carondelet and later as Carondelet Avenue. Southwardly from Carondelet it was called the road to Herculaneum. Virginia Avenue running toward Carondelet from Meramec Street was known as Stringtown Road. Ivory Avenue originated as a short diagonal route into Carondelet used by farmers from south and west of the River des Peres. Streets within the town, as laid out in Eiler's Survey of 1832 were identified by letters, such as A Street, on the east-west thoroughfares from north and south.
This alphabetical system was later given names as can still be seen in Bates, Caldwell (now Bellerive), Dover, Elwood, Fillmore and others down to Upton Street. West of Broadway, the north-south streets had numbered names until after annexation when they were given names of states, being extensions of streets so named in the St. Louis Common. In 1843, Jacob Stein, a German immigrant, acquired a lot at the southeast corner of Stein and Reilly Streets. He was so impressed by opportunities in Carondelet that he persuaded many other Germans to come there. Some of them later became prominent in the life of the community unity and gave their names to streets in what came to be known as "Stein's Town", south of old Vide Poche. These names exist today on Krauss, Schirmer, Koeln, Nagel, Espenschied and other streets in the area. The small stone houses that can still be seen in this section of Carondelet are reminscent of these German settlers; many of whom started small factories which spread in later years to create a highly industrialized section of the town.
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.
Carondelet in 1850
By 1849, several of the town's prominent citizens had arrived including Henry T. Blow, Wilson Primm, Roswell Field, Louis Picot and Alexander Lyle. The census of 1850 showed Carondelet to have a population of 1,265, of whom 28 were classed as slaves. At that time Broadway did not run directly north of Elwood Street because of a steep hill, traffic was forced to go westward for a block before proceeding to the north. Southeast of Elwood and Broadway were about half a dozen houses, the easternmost being the old DeLore house built by the town's founder. Before 1860 it was razed to make way for the Iron Mountain Railroad. At Bowen Street and Broadway was the town hall and its meeting tree and on the west were a few houses north of the hill.
This hill, which had the church and convent at its top, extended eastward toward the river, forcing traffic on Broadway to make an easterly detour. This part of the hill was graded down to provide fill for construction of the railroad. Also on the hill, south of Holly Hills and east of Pennsylvania, stood the castle of Louis Picot with its high tower providing a landmark for river men. The house was abandoned and razed after the Civil War. Further south on Broadway, at its southwest corner of Haven Street, was a three story building with a meeting hall on its top floor. Residences were scattered southwardly on Pennsylvania Avenue and Broadway, with stor,es also located on the latter's frontage.
In this area were the stone houses built by the German immigrant settlers in the 1840's. Largest house in the southern end of the town in 1850 was that of Delphi Carlin, it was located on the south side of Davis Street a block east of Broadway. A desirable location for large homes was "upon the hill" along Michigan Avenue, where, near Iron Street was the home of Judge Primm. Nearby was the home of Bernhard Poepping, last Mayor of Carondelet. In wooded country near the present intersection of Virginia and Haven was the Henry T. Blow mansion and to its west was the Alexander Lyle home, in what is now Carondelet Park.
Incorporation as a City
An act of the State Legislature on March 1, 1851, authorized the incorporation of the City of Carondelet. It was divided into three wards and authorized election of a mayor and two councilmen from each ward. In 1862, the city offices were moved to Lafayette Hall at the southeast corner of Broadway and Loughborough. This landmark, later converted to commercial uses, was destroyed by fire in 1949. During the late 1860's, the city began to attract many industries and prospered after opening of the Iron Mountain Railroad from St. Louis.
The political complexion of Carondelet changed during the Civil War. Older inhabitants were generally Democrats, whereas the more recently arrived Germans were Republican and Northern sympathizers. At the 1859 city election only two Democrats were elected, all other offices going to the Republicans, who dominated the city's life for many years. Henry T. Blow remained the leader of the pro-Union people during the war years. Southern sympathizers rallied to join the Confederate Army under Captain John S. Bowen, who, as a general, died of complications from the effects of the siege of Vicksburg.
A special census in 1865 reported the population of Carondelet to be 4,534. Native Americans comprised 3/8 of the total, while Irish and Germans comprised 1/4 each and French and Creoles were the remaining 1/8. On the first Tuesday in April, 1870, by act of the legislature, Carondelet was annexed to the City of St. Louis, amid much bitterness among Carondelet residents who had no voice in the precedings.
Until 1900, Carondelet continued to be a pleasant place to live, having enjoyed the extension of city services after the 1870 merger with St. Louis. With the advent of the twentieth century, a gradual decline began in the area to the extent that considerable rehabilitation is now necessary, especially in the older portions of Carondelet.
While it is not located within the original area of the City of Carondelet, the park which now bears that name is closely identified with the vicinity. The 180 acre park originated in response to the desires of South side residents for a park in their part of the city at the same time that Forest Park was being promoted for the West End. Similarly, O'Fallon Park was also created at the same time for the benefit of the north eiders. Carondelet Park was purchased by the city in 1875 for $140,570 and was dedicated on July 4, 1876, when it very nearly was named Independence Park for the Centennial.
The newest park in Carondelet is named for St. Agne de Bellerive, the Frenchman who governed the village of St. Louis before the arrival of the first Spanish governor. It was acquired in 1908 as a terminus for Bellerive Boulevard and to provide a scenic viewpoint for a fine riverscape vista. The 5.67 acre park was also intended as a south end point for a proposed 1929 riverfront parkway that was suggested by the City Plan Commission, but which was abandoned because of the depression. A historical plaque was dedicated in the park in 1970. It was originally named Riverside Park, and received its present name in 1916.
A small block square park is South St. Louis Square, bounded by Broadway, Courtois Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Schirmer Street. It is part of the original Spanish grant of Carondelet and was forever reserved for park purposes when the town was laid out in 1832. The 1.66 acre square was a gift of the City of Carondelet to St. Louis in 1882. One of Carondelet's three town markets was built in a corner of the square and is now leased by the City for private market use.
Another block square park at Davis Street and Michigan Avenue was purchased by the City of St. Louis in 1929 and is known as the Carondelet Lions Park.
A hill top site northwest of the present intersection of Holly Hills and Pennsylvania Avenues was set aside for church purposes in 1767 by Carondelet's founder, Clement DeLore de Treget. The first church erected there was a log chapel dedicated to St. Francis Xavier in 1775. Two succeeding churches, bearing the name of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph of the Angels were erected on this site. The first of these, built in 1819, was described as a "modest hut of rough boards." The second church was a stone structure which was completed in 1835. In 1859, the name of the parish, which was founded in 1824, was changed to St. Mary and St. Joseph and a new brick church was erected. It was situated on a site north of that of the earlier structures. The corner stone of the present church of St. Mary and St. Joseph at 6304 Minnesota Avenue, was laid in September, 1940. Adjoining the church is the parochial school which was constructed in 1926.
St. Boniface Church at Michigan Avenue and Schirmer Street was founded in 1860 as the first German Catholic parish in Carondelet. The building, which was designed by Thomas W. Brady in the Romanesque style, has two 100 foot towers flanking its entrance. The towers were completed in 1868 and 1890 respectively. The parochial school, which was founded in January, 1860, now occupies a building which was finished in 1949.
St. Columbkille's Church at 8202 Michigan Avenue was organized in 1872 to serve Irish iron workers of the nearby Vulcan Iron Works. The building was dedicated in March, 1873. Its pastor, Father Michael O'Reilly was called a "militant defender of the Church" bnecause of his defense of his parishioners against slurs of character. Before plans for a larger church were consummated, the iron works closed down and the parish population dwindled. The church was razed in 1952, at which time the parish was discontinued.
The oldest religious institution in Carondelet is the Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph at 6400 Minnesota Avenue. The Sisters came to St. Louis in 1836 at the invitation of Bishop Rosati. In that same year they established schools in Carondelet and Cahokia. The latter school was abandoned following damage by the flood of 1844.
The Order's first novitiate in Carondelet was founded on September 12, 1836, in a log cabin that had been built three years before as an orphanage. This orphanage later moved to St. Louis. In the school at Carondelet, also held in a log cabin, the Sisters gave instructions in French and English to girls between the ages of 6 to 18. In 1839, by arrangement with the School Commissioners of Carondelet, the Sisters were paid an annual salary of $375 to instruct the children. This continued until 1351 when a public school system was established.
The first brick building of St. Joseph's Academy was built in 1841 on grounds given to the sisters by Bryan Mullanphy. Part oE this building and the old log cabin were destroyed by fire in 1858 when only the north wing of the structure was saved. Other buildings were subsequently added to the Academy and convent to complete the group as it exists today. In 1860 the convent was made the national Mother house of the Order. In 1883, a new wing was built for the novitiate, and in 1885, a residence hall was built for the Sisters who taught in city parochial schools. Saint Joseph's Academy was operated at Carondelet until 1926 when it was relocated at the newly completed Fontbonne College campus at Wydown and Big Bend Boulevards.
The Carondelet Baptist Church was organized as the First Baptist Church of Carondelet in 1867. Its first building was dedicated in December, 1872, at Fifth and Taylor Streets in Carondelet. In 1874, a colony called the Welsh Mission or Second Baptist Church was formed by some members of the First Church. This mission flourished for two years and then its members returned to the parent church. The old church served until 1928 when it was damaged by fire, while the present building was under construction. Until the new church was completed on November 25, 1928, services were held at the Y.M.C.A. and other churches. The new church at Virginia and Robert Avenues was erected at a cost of $40,000. A new school building and a gymnasium were constructed adjacent to the church in 1954.
The Dover Place Christian Church, which is the only one of its denomination in Carondelet, was formed at a meeting at a home at 510 Kansas Street in 1895. After a revival meeting at the Carondelet Baptist Church, the group rented the old Temperance Hall at Minnesota and Robert Avenues, where they were organized as the Carondelet Christian Church in 1896. In the following year, they rented the former German Methodist Church at Pennsylvania Avenue and Upton Street, and used the location for four years. A former high school building at 6801 Virginia Avenue was then purchased as the church's next home in 1901. By 1907, the congregation doubled in size and the present site at Dover Place and Alabama Avenue was acquired. A small church was opened there on October 25, 1907, at which time the name was changed to Dover Place Christian Church. An educational annex was added in 1909. By 1932, growth of the church necessitated the launching of a building program. The present Gothic church, designed by Theodore Steinmeyer, was dedicated on December 17, 1933. In appearance it harmonizes with the adjoining older unit and has an auditorium seating 350 persons.
The Carondelet United Church of Christ at 7423 Michigan Avenue was founded as the Carondelet German Evangelical Church in 1869 by Rev. John Will. A brick school building at Michigan and Koeln was completed in 1870. The present church building was erected in 1871, at a cost of $4,500. A parsonage was built north of the church in 1872. This structure, after several alterations, was razed in 1966 to make way for the new Christian Education building. In 1888, the old school building was sold and a new one erected at the southwest corner of the church grounds. With the opening of nearby public schools, the parochial school was closed in 1913. A church hall building was completed in 1926, at a cost of $36,000.
One of the black churches in Carondelet is the Corinthian Baptist which was originally located at Steins and Alabama as early as 1871. It is presently located at 6326 Colorado Avenue near Interstate Highway 55. The only Lutheran Church in Carondelet is that of St. Trinity, which was organized in 1859. Its first church building was a two story brick building on the west side of Sixth Street (now Vermont Avenue) between Robert Avenue and Koeln Street. In 1872, the present church was erected across the street from the first structure, at what is now 7404 Vermont Avenue. The brick Gothic edifice was 45 by 100 feet in size and could seat 600 persons. The church's parochial school is located at 517 Koeln Street.
Methodism had its inception in Carondelet in 1856 at the instigation of Rev. Dr. David R. McAnally, Frank C. Carter and John C. Bull. A small Presbyterian church stood on the present Haven Street site at that time and its use was tendered to the Methodist by [leery T. Blow of the Presbyterian congregation. Accepting the invitation, Dr. McAnally held services there for a year. In the meantime, the Methodists had purchased the eastern half of two blocks on the west side of Virginia Avenue between Haven Street and Loughborough Avenue. A small church was erected at the southwest corner of Virginia and Haven in 1857, and was named the First M.E. Church South, of Carondelet. In two years, the church was very overcrowded, but before plans for a new building could be prepared, the church lost members due to a schism in the congregation during the Civil War.
After the War, the Haven Street Church entered into missionary work, establishing colonies at the "coal diggins", a mining settlement southwest of Tower Grove Park and at Columbia, Illinois. Establishment of new blast furnaces and a rolling mill in Carondelet in 1868 brought new Methodist families to the part of town near the river and the founding of a church mission there. A frame church was erected in the area in 1871, but had to be abandoned in a depression in the late 1870's. The old Haven Church was razed in 1903 to make way for the present structure which was dedicated on March 13, 1904. The church has since been renamed as the Mellow Memorial Church in honor of the founder of the Liberty Foundry. Zion German Methodist Church was originally at Virginia Avenue and Koeln Street.
A building which was built in 1869 as a city market by the City of Carondelet is now the only African Methodist Episcopal Church in the community. The City of St. Louis acquired title to the structure when Carondelet was annexed in 1870. Ten years later, the City sold the building at the northeast corner of Minnesota Avenue and Bowen Street, to the Carondelet African Methodist Episcopal Church for $600. The date of the church's organization is unknown, however, in 1880, it had 120 members. The building was remodeled for church use and was named in honor of an early A.M.E. bishop, William Paul Quinn. The chapel's membership has dwindled, but Quinn Chapel enjoys the recent distinction of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The first black Methodist church in Carondelet was St. John's Methodist, which was built in 1869.
The earliest Protestant Church in Carondelet was the Carondelet Presbyterian which had its beginning in 1849 in response to the need for a place of worship. Its first meetings were held in a vacant room in the home of General Madison Miller at the foot of Bowen Street, where a Sunday school was organized. Later the group met in a log cabin just north of the Bowen Street house. After the present church site at 6116 Michigan Avenue was donated by August A. Blumenthal, a $1,500 building was erected there. The church was organized there on June 2, 1850 by Rev. Robert S. Finley.
Construction began on a new church on the present site in 1859, after razing of the older building. Work was delayed by the Civil War and services were held in the City Hall and the Odd Fellows Hall until the basement of the new structure was occupied in 1863. This brick building was completed after the War and was used for about thirty years, it is now used as a Sunday School. The Hope Mission Chapel at Third and Taylor Streets in Carondelet was an offshort of the Carondelet Church. In 1883, it had a congregation of 600 persons and 420 pupils in its Sunday school.
The present stone church was built next to the older structure in 1896, at a cost of $15,000. Its indebtedness was cleared by 1906, and later an educational unit was erected and $12,500 in improvements were made. In 1958, the church's name became Carondelet-Markham Memorial Presbyterian Church, following a merger. Markham Church at 1614 Menard Street had been organized in 1901 and had lost many members due to a changing neighborhood and highway construction.
St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church was founded in 1868 and held services in rented quarters until the church was completed in 1870. The church was located on Third Street near Lafayette in Carondelet and was erected at a cost of $5,000. In 1882, its congregation had 75 communicants and the Sunday School had three teachers and 60 pupils. The church's present address is 6518 Michigan Avenue. An interesting fact about this church is the location of a historic point in its front yard. This point is the southeast corner of the old Carondelet Common Fields, which is marked by a stone set late in the eighteenth century. It was also the point of beginning of the original survey of the Spanish grant to the inhabitants of the Village of Carondelet.
As Carondelet's population was entirely Catholic for many years after its founding, the first attempts toward education were made by that faith. After the first parish was founded in 1824, a parochial school was established in due course. It had been continued until recently and occupied a building erected in 1926, adjacent to the Church of St. Mary and Joseph. Other parochial schools were those of St. Boniface, founded in 1860, and now occupying a building built in 1949, and St. Columbkille founded in 1872, and closed with abandonment of the parish in 1952.
The girl's school at the Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph began in 1836 and was supported after 1839 by public funds for teachers' salaries. This method continued until public schools were instituted following incorporation as a city in 1851. St. Trinity Lutheran Church's school was founded about 1860 and is now located at 517 Koeln Street. A school was organized by the Carondelet Evangelical Church in the 1870's but was closed early in the twentieth century.
After incorporation of Carondelet as a town in 1832, rather makeshift arrangements were made for public education. The trustees authorized payment for children attending private schools and later tried to establish public schools. Records from 1841 show employment of a teacher for three months at a salary of $87.50. Following incorporation as a City, the first schools were set up during the administration of Mayor William Taussig in 1852. One was located in the old town hall, another on a school block in Survey No. 4 and one in the old Market House on Iron Street east of Broadway. A group of citizens headed by Henry T. Blow initiated action which resulted in erection of Carondelet's first regular school building in 1866. This school, named the Blow School, was a two story, eight room structure, it was enlarged by addition of a one story four room unit in 1873 and a three story building in 1883, all on the west side of Virginia Avenue south of Loughborough. The present Blow School on that site was opened in 1903.
In 1871, the Carondelet School was built at 8221 Minnesota Avenue to serve the southern part of the community. This school was closed in 1975 and sold to a church group which operates it as the Gateway Day Nursery. Des Peres School, 6307 Michigan Avenue at Iron Street, was opened in 1873. The two story structure, in common with others of its time, had high ceilings and windows for satisfactory air and light. Each room was heated by a coal stove and drinking water was provided in buckets with dippers, in the hallways. Henry T. Blow's daughter Susan, opened the first kindergarten in America in Des Peres School soon after its opening through arrangements with William T. Harris, superintendent of schools. The school was closed in 1935, and is now used as a grocery warehouse.
Carondelet's first school for blacks was also built in 1873, in response to a state law reguiring segregated schools. This was Public School No. 6 at Virginia Avenue and Bowen Street which was later named for Martin R. Delaney, a Negro physician and publisher. The old school was razed in 1911, and was replaced by a new Delaney School, which was renamed Maddox in 1952. From 1940 to 1952 it was named the Virginia Avenue School (for White Children.)
The Lyon School at 7417 Vermont Avenue was erected in 1909, after designs by architect William B. Ittner, who was also the designer of the present Blow School at 516 Loughborough Avenue.
Carondelet's principal residential area is located on the high ground west of Broadway. Single family dwellings predominate, with a minor mixture of two family flats. Most of the units are owner occupied but maintenance is about average. "On the hill", west of Michigan Avenue are large brick residences in what was probably the elite section of Carondelet during the 1890's. There is a smaller amount of residential uses east of Broadway, interspersed among the prevalent industries. These houses are usually small, quite old and not well maintained. A few outstanding exceptions can be found at some intersections of that section.
A few survivors remain of the early French houses in Carondelet. One example is a stone two level house at Primm and Reilly Streets, others to be found are "double houses" in the 6100 block of Michigan Avenue. German immigrants of the 1840's and 1850's built stone row houses in Steinstown and some of the best of these can be seen on Steins Street, west of Pennsylvania Avenue. Brick houses were built later on Schirmer Street and other streets in the south part of Carondelet. These, like the earlier stone houses, are built in a characteristic German manner, close to the sidewalk and generally one and a half story in height.
Two early Carondelet landmarks are located at Michigan Avenue and Krauss Street. On the northwest corner is a home built by Confederate General John S. Bowen, while the northeast corner is the location of the Dr. Ashbel Webster house built in the early 1850's. The home of another prominent early resident is the Jacob Stein house at 7600 Reilly Street, where the German immigrant agent resided before the Civil War. On Hurck Street may be found houses with examples of gingerbread French verandahs. At 5801 Minnesota Avenue is a home styled in American Victorian Gothic architecture with battered vertical siding and jigsaw carpentry gable ends.
At 122 East Davis Street is an old house that was built by John Krauss in 1842. An outstanding example of an antebellum country house is the Alexander Lacey Lyle house in Carondelet Park. Lyle was a young Virginian who came to the St. Louis area in the 1820's and made his fortune in the construction business. His estate covered a large part of what is now Carondelet Park and Lyle erected his New England style mansion near its center about 1850. After Lyle's death in 1874, the house was used as a park keeper's residence for many years and is now a recreational center for senior citizens.
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.
Railroads and Transit
Construction of a railroad south from St. Louis to the iron and lead mining areas of Missouri was a project of prime importance during the early 1850's. Following determination of a route by government surveyors, the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad was established in 1852. Author ization of state aid was obtained and by July, 1853, the government surveyed route along the river through Carondelet was adopted. Delays were encountered in negotiations with Army authorities for routing through the St. Louis Arsenal Grounds and Jefferson Barracks. Construction began in stages and in 1855, track was laid between the Arsenal and Carondelet.
In 1856, service began with an "omnibus train" so called because passengers from St. Louis were required to take a horse drawn omnibus to reach the temporary railroad station at Lami Street before proceeding to Carondelet Two years later, the line was completed and full service was initiated. The vicinity of Carondelet was served by railroad stations at Elwood Street, Krauss Street, Robert Avenue and at the dry docks (Davis Street). The scheduled time from Elwood to Plum Street in St. Louis was forty minutes. In 1859, extensive railroad machine shops were built in Carondelet, employing more than 500 persons. The line was heavily used for both commuters and freight hauling especially iron ore to Carondelet's works.
A branch line, with a station at Ivory and Alabama, was built to Kirkwood and another division called the Oak Hill branch was opened in 1887. The Kirkwood branch was used as a by-pass for freight trains destined for the eastern states, leading to establishment of a railroad ferry at the foot of Steins Street. Passenger stations were built on this line at Broadway and on the Oak Hill branch in Carondelet Park near Loughborough Avenue. The former was razed in 1972, after being a local landmark for many years. In 1917, the Iron Mountain line was absorbed by the Missouri Pacific System. As a side light, the Missouri Pacific hospital had its beginning about 1880, as a facility for Iron Mountain employees, in the old Blow mansion at Virginia, Haven and Loughborough Avenues.
Earliest form of public transit between Carondelet and St. Louis was a horse drawn omnibus during the late 1840's. Better omnibuses were used during the fifties but the first horse car line did not begin operations until January, 1860. It ran on Broadway and Michigan and Virginia Avenues. It failed because it emcompassed too great of an area for the number of riders it attracted. At that time the much faster railroad was used for passengers going to St. Louis. Another line of horsecars was inaugurated in May, 1875. It operated on Broadway from Davis Street to Meramec Street where connections were made with a line into St. Louis.
Tracks were also laid on Michigan and Virginia Avenues with connections to Broadway at Elwood and at Davis Street. The latter portion was later abandoned. The line operated twenty cars every ten or fifteen minutes on a single track with intermittent passing switches. Motive power was provided by a single mule pulling each car. Electrification of the street car lines began in 1891 when the Broadway line was converted and by 1894, service was restored to the long abandoned Virginia Avenue sector south of Meramec Street. This was done by extending the California Avenue (later Bellefontaine) line southward to its terminus at Primm Street. Electric street cars served the Carondelet area until the 1950's when motor busses were substituted. Competition from local transit eventually caused a cessation of the commuter rail service on the Iron Mountain railroad along the river and on the Oak Hill branch.
Originally, Carondelet was populated by French and Creole settlers until the immigration of Germans began after 1840. Soon after the Germans, a tide of Irish arrived in the town and after the Civil War, many negroes came up-river as deck hands and roustabouts on steamboats. Many of them remained in Carondelet to work as laborers at the blast furnaces and foundries. American residents from St. Louis and the east and south began to settle in Carondelet before 1850, giving the community a diverse population. The last major group to come to Carondelet were the Spanish who arrived between 1910 and 1915, to work in local zinc pIants. Since 1960, the area has experienced about a 20% decline in population due to highway conatruction and demolition.
The Carondelet Public Library was completed in 1908 and was financed in part from the Andrew Carnegie Library Fund. It was designed in the classic Ionic style by architect E. Preisler.
A hospital was started in Carondelet by St. Boniface Church in 1873, but was destroyed by fire four years later. The patients were then moved to Gillick Hall at Michigan and Steins. The hall was an old landmark and was a favorite meeting place and dance hall for many years. Later reverting to industrial usage the old four story building was razed in 1939.
Carondelet Branch Y.M.C.A. was organized in 1919 and the present buildinq was erected in 1926, the same year in which the Carondelet Y.W.C.A. was organized. The Y.W.C.A. is now located at 4510 South Kingshighway.
The Masonic Temple at 6818 Michigan Avenue was opened in July, 1907, and was used as a meeting place for various organizations until June, 1978.
Scharf, J. Thomas - "History of St. Louis City and County" - 1883
Stevens, Walter B. - "St. Louis - The Fourth City" - 1909
City Plan Commission - "Community Development Report" - 1973
Southern Commercial and Savings Bank - "Reflections of Carondelet" - 1966
Carondelet Centennial Ass'n., Inc. - "Official Souvenir Book" 1951
Carondelet Historical Society - "Historical Society Newsletter" 1973-74
Carondelet Savings and Loan Ass'n. - Early Carondelet" Prints 1972
Community Development Agency - "St. Louis Landmarks" - 1977
Community Development Agency - "Feasibility Study for Developing the Carondelet Riverfront" - 1977
Kingshighway United Methodist Church - "A Brief History - 18771977"
Toft, Carolyn Hewes - "Carondelet: The Ethnic Heritage of an Urban Neighborhood" - Social Science Institute of Washington University - November, 1975