Locale & Topography
The Mississippi riverfront of North St. Louis in the 18th century was a beautiful, fertile country with densely wooded bottom land rising westward and heavily forested hills bordering uplands to the west. Among the spring-fed streams north of St. Louis was Gingras Creek, which arose near what is now Pine Lawn, crossed Broadway in Baden and emptied into the river near the present foot of Mallinckrodt Street. Rocky Branch Creek, coming from a source on the Grande Praire Common Field, was a picturesque stream with a rocky bottom and a shore lined with stone ledges. At a point near the present Salisbury Street and Natural Bridge Road, it flowed under a natural rock arch, hence the name, Natural Bridge Road. From there, it found its way into the Mississippi midway between Dock and Buchanan Streets. Banks of these streams were the haunt of fur bearing animals which fell prey to French trappers, who built cabins in this country as it was so heavily endowed with fish and game.
Four years after the founding of St. Louis, the Spanish government made the first land grants to various settlers. A grant made to Gabriel Cerre on September 10, 1768, embraced the area, which became the site of the town of Breman many years later. It was surveyed by Antoine Soulard and recorded with the Registre de Arpendage on April 15, 1798. This grant covered 184 arpents - about 156 acres - but Cerre did not settle there, having a house and farm in the present Soulard area, then south of the village of St. Louis. Cerre's property here, later known as Survey #2042, was sold after his death in 1805 and by the 1830's had been acquired by Rufus Easton. Cerre was also qranted title to two other tracts west and north of his riverfront holding. Survey -#3209, to the west, covered about 255 acres and later became the Farrar tract, which included the site of Hyde Park. Northwardly along the west bank of Gingras Creek was another Cerre property, later called Survey #2041, and acquired by Clement B. Penrose.
About 1816, quite a migration of Virginians and Kentuckians arrived at St. Louis and many were attracted to land north of the town. This fertile ground could be purchased for a few dollars per acre and many of these pioneers settled there. Accessibility to St. Louis was an important factor for the marketing of their produce and the main roadway was Bellefontaine Road, also called the Great Trail. Originally a military road laid out in 1804 to reach Fort Bellefontaine, it was a continuation of Main Street in St. Louis, later becoming known as Broadway.
This route was charted more precisely in 1811 by William H. Christy and Alexander McNair. Christy was a founder of the town of North St. Louis in 1816 and McNair became Missouri's first governor in 1821. In the Bremen area, Bellefontaine Road followed the course of future Eleventh Street, departing from Broadway at Branch Street and rejoining it at Bissell Street. Further north, it ran through the hills of what later became Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemetaries and thence through Baden to the fort on the banks of the Missouri River.
Town of Breman
Among the many Germans who migrated to the St. Louis area in the 1840's were quite a few who were natives of the German city of Bremen. Since many of these families had settled along Bellefontaine Road, this area was given the name of New Bremen after their home town. A survey of the town area was executed by Edward Hutawa in 1844 at the direction of the four principal property owners; George Buchanan, E. C. Angelrodt, N. N. Destrehan and Emil Mallinckrodt. They were the incorporators of the town of Bremen in 1850 and the four east-west streets were named in their honor. Broadway was the main street and was dedicated as a pubIic highway on May 10, 1852.
Ernest C. Angelrodt was the first president of the town board of trustees, which held its meetings in his residence. A town seal was designed as follows: "A dove with an oak branch in its mouth and a key in its claws and the rising sun beneath, surrounded by a scroll inscribed with these works in Roman Capitals: The Commonwealth of the Town of Bremen, incorporated on the sixteenth day of July, 1850."
A post office was secured by a petition of the trustees in August, 1850 and trans-portation to St. Louis was provided by an omnibus line, operated by Erastus Wells and Calvin Case, established in 1845. A tax of one-fifth of one percent was levied on all property in the town. As incorporated in 1850, the towns' limits extended from the river on the east as far west as Twentieth Street and from Dock Street on the south to East Grand Avenue on the north. It included the 1844 survey and the Farrar tract.
Annexation of Bremen to St. Louis was under consideration in 1854 when the trustees opened discussion on the subject with Mayor John How of St. Louis. The question was submitted to the citizens of Bremen at an election in April, 1856, when they voted in favor of annexation, thus ending the official existence of the town of Bremen. By that time, the town had developed into a thriving community with considerable commercial and industrial activity.
During the late 1850's, several large tracts west and north of Bremen were subdivided. These included lands owned by John O'Fallon, Theodore LaBeaume, Clement B. Penrose, Joseph B. Wilkinson and Louis Bissell. All but Wilkinson are commemorated by street names. After 1860, the larger tracts were further broken up into subdivisions ranging from half blocks to several blocks in size. This activity continued until about 1880.
These aubdivisions were usually platted with sixty foot wide streets in a gird pattern, the blocks consisting of lots with frontages of 25 or 30 feet and average depths of about 125 feet to rear alleys. As practical necessities, the alleys contained privies, coa1 sheds and ash pits for refuse. Not an actual pit, but rather an above-ground box of brick or concrete about six Łeet square with four foot walls; ash pits were a backyard fixture in the St. Louis of coal burning days.
Subdivision platting in those days apparently lacked liaison, resulting in irregularities in street continuity characterized by jogs and dead ends.
This subdivision activity engendered a wave of residential construction in the Bremen-Hyde Park area. It is visibly apparent in the 1875 perspective view in Compton and Dry's atlas, which shows the area to be well built up beyond the present Florissant Avenue. Predominantly a residential district, the buildings are largely multiple family dwellings with a mixture of single family structures and row houses. In the nineteenth century, most of the multiple dwellings were called tenements, indicating occupancy by more than three independent families or else residency above commercial first floor uses. Because of large family sizes of that time, considerable flexibility was used in interior plans for these buildings whose architecture reflects the middle class status of the occupants - artisans, merchants and industrial emnloYees .
Most of the houses in the area are built of brick with few frame examples. Not very many are one story in height, and two or three story types are commonplace; the latter's top floor is usually built into a steep roof with gables and dormers. Practically all of them were built before 1900 and variations relate more to the economic status of the owners rather than to structural age. Many of these houses sustained damage from the 1927 tornado, evident in rebuilt parapets and copings making flat or low pitched roofs.
Historically, one of the earliest houses in this vicinity was a two story stone structure erected by Major William Christy in 1818 at Second and Monroe Streets. It was later converted to industrial use and was razed in the 1870's.
The oldest house presently in the area is Bissell mansion at 4426 Randall Place. Built in 1823, it is believed to be the oldest house extant in the City of St. Louis. It was saved from demolition during construction of I-70 by the Landmarks Association and was recently opened to the public as a restaurant.
Its bluff top location was simiIar to those of several other fine houses built upon high ground overlooking the Mississippi. Among these was the home of Emil Mallinckrodt at the southeast corner of Ninth and Mallinckrodt Streets, still in use as a residence in 1928. It was one of the first country houses erected in North St. Louis on a site acquired in April, 1840. The home was surrounded by many trees and had an orchard extending toward the river. Some other early houses were the Gaty mansion at 3408 North Ninth Street, near Angelrodt, built in 1845 and the home of Adolphus Meier built in 1842 on the west side of Ninth near Bremen Avenue. These were also still in use in the late 1920's. Early landmark houses long since razed include the Davis mansion (1840) at Thirteenth and Branch Streets, the Yeatman-Eddy house (1846) at Eleventh and Penrose and the Maguire, Barth and Angelrodt houses in Bremen.
In the neighborhood surrounding Hyde Park several early houses are still in existence and some are currently undergoing renovation by their owners. One of the best of these is the house at 2223 Salisbury Street purchased by William O. Shands in 1851 and enlarged by him in 1857. It is a two story brick structure with cast iron window hoods and appears today much as it did in the 1875 pictorial atlas.
Another interesting two story brick house was built at 3616 North Nineteenth Street by Caspar Linck in 1866. It is four bays wide with handsome brick detailing in its window arches and a corbelled brick cornice. At 1420 Bremen Avenue is a brick home that apparently was built in two stages. The rear portion is shown in the 1875 atlas and the front section was evidently erected some time before 1909, preserving good detail both inside and out.
A large brick house, with a dressed stone facade at 1403 Farrar Street was completed in 1876 for Charles Naber, a lumber dealer. An indication of Naber's business is seen in a two story wooden porch across the length of the rear wing. Its intricate jigsaw carpentry is reminiscent of the detail on nineteenth century Mississippi River steamboats.
Facing Hyde Park at 1907 Bremen Avenue is a three story house with a mansard roof, completed in 1879. It sets up on a high stone foundation, has wood detailing on its porch and features a bay window with iron cresting on its roof.
Some multiple dwellings exhibit similar ornamental detail such as on the four-family flat at 4104-06 North Twentieth Street. It has fine masonry work and a facade with red sandstone trim. A two story flat at 1432 Penrose has well executed face brick, with arched windows containing stained glass and decorative iron grills over the basement windows.
An outstanding example of the one story style house is to be found on the northeast corner of Farragut and Blair. This is a long, narrow brick structure with a gable roof with also covers a long porch that is set into the side of the house.
Row houses are represented in the Hyde Park area by several good examples. Eleven adjoining houses at 1415-35 Bremen were built about 1873 by Francis Watkins. They are each three bays wide and three stories high with mansard roofs into which three large gables were set to give unity to the whole design. Unfortunately two of these houses have been demolished.
Allied in appearance to rowhouses were closely spaced detached houses of similar design. During the 1890's, groups of such houses were built on both sides of Newhouse Avenue between Eleventh and Blair. They are two and four family dwellings, two stories high with recessed entrances framed with arched brickwork. The northern edge of Hyde Park is well marked by six large houses on Bremen Avenue between Blair and North Nineteenth Street. They present a varied appearance but mass together well.
Business uses were generally found on the ground floors of buildings along the main thoroughfares, such as Salisbury Street and Broadway. Both sides of Salisbury, from Eleventh to Blair and beyond that facing the park, until recently, possessed a remarkably complete grouping of late nineteenth century shop buildings. Recent demolition have unfortunately destroyed this grouping effect. Most of the remaining buildings have dwelling units on the upper floors. Typical of these is the building at 2016 Salisbury built before 1875. It is a three story structure with a cast iron front on the ground floor containing windows held in a lightly-scaled, wooden frame work. Another cast iron front on the ground floor can be seen at 2027 Salisbury on a three story mansard roofed building with a metal bay window on the second floor.
A strong social and civic influence in the area has been the North St. Louis Turnverein organized in 1870. In its first three years the gymnasts used apparatus set up among stalls in Maguire's Market, on the west side of Broadway between Salisbury and Bremen. They bought their present site at Twentieth and Salisbury and occupied their first building, designed by H. W. Kirchner in 1879. A three story addition on Twentieth Street was completed in 1893 followed by the gymnasium in 1898. These buildings are well preserved and fit well into the texture of the neighborhood.
A commercial institution of strength and long standing in the area is the Bremen Bank, which dates back to 1868. At that time no financial facilities we're available and a group of business and professional men of the community met to organize the Bremen Savings Bank. Soon, subscriptions of $100,000 were obtained to purchase stock in the-bank, which received its charter on October 2, 1868. Growth and expansion of business and industry in Bremen and North St. Louis caused the enterprise, located at 3618 North Broadway, to prosper. In 1888 it moved into larger quarters on the northeast corner of Broadway and Mallinckrodt Street, at which time the present name was adopted.
The bank's building, now in use, was completed in 1928 from plans by architects Wedemeyer and Nelson. It is in the classic Grecian style of architecture and is built of tooled Bedford stone. The Front of the structure is dominated by four large fluted columns rising 27 feet. Approach to the portico is by way of a flight of Missouri red granite steps leading to an entrance interior done in St. Genevieve marble. The bank's interior is treated in Tavernella marble and bronze with walnut wood trim. It is located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Mallinckrodt.
A semi-public building, worthy of mention, is the Fifth District police station at Penrose and North Nineteenth. It is a one story multi-colored brick building, built as a P.W.A. project in 1938, designed by Albert A. Osburg, chief architect of the City's Board of Public Service. The buiIding is an example of Art Deco design, which, while uncommon in the Hyde Park area, relates well to neighboring buildings.
Earliest industrial activity in the Bremen area was that of logging and lumber and numerous saw mills were scattered along the riverfront and in the town. This timber was floated down the Mississippi in the form of log rafts from Wisconsin and Minnesota forests. Principally white pine, it was cut and prepared for building purposes in the Bremen mills, and then stored in extensive lumber yards nearby. Another large user of lumber in Bremen were barrel makers such as the Union Cooperage Company, founded in 1862. Several furniture manufactures were also located in Bremen at that time.
The Union Stock Yards was opened in 1874 at the foot of Bremen Avenue and cattle being herded there through the streets of Bremen was a common sight in those days. These yards have since been closed.
A neighborhood fixture for many years was the Hyde Park Brewery, which was founded in 1876 and was sold to the St. Louis Brewing Association in 1889. The plant at 3607 North Florissant was a major unit in the Association until prohibition. After repeal in 1933, the plant was acquired by independent operators, who sold it in 1948 to the Griesedieck-Western Brewery Company of Belleville, Illinois. That firm became a unit of the Carling Company in 1953, who produced Hyde Park beer at the North Florissant plant until 1958.
Mallinckrodt Chemical Works was founded in 1867 by three sons of pioneer settlement Emil Mallinckrodt; Gustav, Edward and Otto. Their first venture was production of agricultural chemicals and they later branched out into pharmaceutical lines and food and industrial bulk chemicals. Two of the founding brothers died a few years after the firm was established, so that its successful development can be attributed to Edward Mallinckrodt, Sr. In 1882, the company was incorporated and established a plant in New Jersey.
By 1904, the company was producing 400 chemicals and sales had reached $3,000,000 annually. Research led to eminence for Mallinckrodt in X-ray media and fungicides. Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. succeeded his father at the company helm in 1928 and guided it until his death in 1967.
World War II brought about a long association for Mallinckrodt in the field of atomic energy, when the firm produced the uranium compounds needed for development of the atomic bomb. A new company plant on Destrehan Street was the sole producer of uranium and related products in this country from 1946 to 1952, when it was supplemented by a large Mallinckrodt atomic energy commission plant at Weldon Spring, Missouri. Since 1967, the company has had a declining role in atomic production because of development of an enormous stockpile of atomic fuel and is constantly engaged in expansion into new challenging chemical fields.
Among the industrial buildings, the Mallinckrodt maintenance building on the north side of Mallinckrodt Street between Second Street and Broadway is worthy of architectural mention.
Survey #3209, originally a land grant to Gabriel Cerre, was purchased in 1842 by Dr. Bernard G. Farrar and later a portion of it became the site of Hyde Park. Dr. Farrar, who began his practice here in 1809, was the first American doctor in St. Louis. After making a fortune in his medical practice and pharmaceutical business, he invested in real estate in the Bremen area and donated several parcels of his land for church purposes. While administering to the victims of the cholera epidemic in 1849, Dr. Farrar himself fell fatally ill to the disease.
In 1850, his widow, Mrs. Ann C. T. Farrar, subdivided the tract, reserving the future park site as the family estate. Four years later, apparently in anticipation of impending annexation by St. Louis, she sold the 141/2 acre estate to the City for $36,250.
Hyde Park is believed to be a namesake of the famous London recreation ground. For some years after its acquisition, portions of the park were leased to vegetable gardeners by the city. The old Farrar mansion and grounds, located in the park, were rented as a beer garden by the city, as another effort at producing revenue. The mansion contained a bar and rooms and its upper floors were used for hotel purposes.
This pleasant grove attracted political meetings and patriotic festivities and one of these ended violently on July 4, 1863. On that day the park was thronged with nearly 10,000 persons, including about a hundred convalescent Union soldiers from Benton Barracks hospital at the nearby converted fairgrounds. Animosity grew among these soldiers against Confederate sympathizers, who were identified by colored ribbons on their headgear. In the ensuing melee, a large balloon was torn to shreds and the mansion was badly damaged. Soldiers called to restore order fired into the crowd, killing two persons and wounding six others.
Condition of the park deteriorated after the Civil War, until 1874 when improvements were begun. An ornamental fountain, a pond, meandering walks and landscaping were installed by 1876. A fence was added to keep out cattle being herded along Bremen Avenue to the riverfront stock yards. During the 1890's, Hyde Park contained a bandstand, greenhouse and floral display gardens. Although these improvements have long since disappeared, the park continues to serve as a community recreation ground. A fire engine house has occupied the park's southeastern corner for many years. Widening of streets around the park have reduced its area to the present 11.84 acres.
A former park in the area was McKinley Bridge Plaza, bounded by Ninth, Eleventh, Salisbury and Bremen. Created in the late 1920's, this open space disappeared with the construction of I-70.
Three churches, founded by German residents in Bremen's early years, continue to serve the neighborhood. Holy Trinity congregation; founded in 1848, has a special place in the history of Roman Catholicism in north St. Louis. It has been the mother church for four parishes as the area developed and has been located at Fourteenth and Mallinckrodt Streets since its beginning. Holy Trinity's first church building was dedicated in 1849, an unpretentious one story stone structure on what is now the site of the rectory.
In the fall of 1848, the first parochial school was consecrated adjacent to the church. It had two stories, with classrooms on the first and the rectory upstairs. As the parish grew, additional educational facilities became necessary. A girl's school and convent was completed at Blair and Mallinckrodt in December, 1859. A new school for boys at Fourteenth and Mallinckrodt was consecrated on February 4, 1972. Its first two floors served as classrooms for 300 students, while the third floor was a hall for meetings and social gatherings .
A second church building, erected in the 1860's on the southwest corner of Fourteenth and Mallinckrodt Streets, was demolished in 1890 to make way for the basement of the present church structure. This impressive limestone edifice was designed in a late French Gothic revival style by Joseph Conradi. Completed in 1898, the church has a cruciform plan, 155 feet long by 90 feet wide with finely carved ornament. The interior, with its high ribbed groin vaults, is also done in a late Gothic style. A commanding feature of Holy Trinity Church is its twin spires which rise to a height of 215 feet and are visible from a great distance.
The tornado of 1927 caused severe damage to the rear of the church, destroying the upper parts of the choir and apse, which were restored. A tower-like dome above the crossing of the nave and transepts was also ruined, but was not replaced. The rectory was completed in 1909 and nine years later a new boy's school was erected behind the church.
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church is the oldest Protestant congregation in the Bremen-Hyde Park area. It was organized on April 26, 1849 by twelve Lutherans of New Bremen, a community then two miles north of the St. Louis city limits. Its first church building at the southwest corner of North Nineteenth and Salisbury Streets was dedicated on May 5, 1850. This was a small one story structure in the Greek Revival style. In the fall of the same year, the church school was opened, with the pastor as teacher. A second, larger church on the same site was dedicated in 1858, with a brick santuary raised above a ground floor of stone.
Beginning with the founding of Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Baden on May 16, 1869, six daughter organizations have been formed from Bethlehem Church.
Growth of membership made a move imperative by 1887, when the present church site, at the northwest corner of Salisbury and Florissant, was purchased. Construction soon began on the church's third home, a large brick structure, which was dedicated on October 29, 1893. Designed by Louis Wessbecher and Charles Hummel, the new building has been in use for less than three months when it was all but destroyed by fire on January 24, 1894.
Rebuilding began immediately and the present edifice was dedicated on April 17, 1895. It is built of red brick with stone trim in the English Gothic style with traceried windows, buttressed walls and towers, and steep slate roofs. It originally had two spires, with the higher one on the east tower, but both were destroyed in the 1927 tornado. The interior, with pews arranged in a semi-circular pattern, was redecorated on the occasion of the church centennial in 1949.
Dedication of the first Bethlehem Lutheran school building, on Nineteenth Street next to the church, occurred in 1872. This building was modernized in 1915, and twelve years later it was severly damaged by the tornado, and was replaced by the school building at 2153 Salisbury Street in 1930.
The third church founded at an early date by German residents of the area is Friedens United Church of Christ at the southwest corner of Nineteenth and Newhouse. It was organized in 1858 as Friedens German Evangelical Church, and the congregation met in the Fairmount Presbyterian Church at Ninth and Penrose Streets. Their first building on the present site was completed in 1861, built of red brick in the Gothic style.
This was replaced in 1907-08 by the present structure, designed by Otto J. Boehmer in the English Perpendicular Gothic style. Its walls are built of over-sized brick with terra cotta trim. It sustained damage in the 1927 tornado, especially to stained glass windows and interior furnishings. After extensive rebuilding, the church was re-dedicated in 1928 and four years later a new altar anc chancel were installed. Friedens Church has an eighty foot corner tower which dominates an ensemble consisting of a parsonage and office, built in 1902, and a Sunday school hall constructed in 1907. They are of Gothic Revival design to harmonize architecturally with the church.
Among other churches of architectural interest in the area is Markus Evangelical Lutheran at Twenty-second and Angelical Organized in 1904, as a daughter church of Bethlehem Lutheran, its building in the Gothic Revival style dates from 1912. New Shiloh Baptist Church, at Blair and Bremen, is built in Romanesque style and was completed in 1894 for the Hyde Park Congregational Church. An interesting example of church architecture is a small frame building on the northwest corner of Blair and Penrose. Originally the home of the Fourth Christian Church, it now houses the New Harmony General Baptist congregation.
Oldest of the public schools in the Hyde Park area is the Henry Clay School, now located at 3820 North Fourteenth Street. Originally it was started in a three story brick building at the southwest corner of Bellefontaine Road (Eleventh Street) and Farrar Street in 1859. This school contained twelve rooms with a capacity of 940 students. The present Clay School, designed by William B. Ittner on a large H-shaped academic plan, was completed in 1905. The Library Service Center of the Board of Education is now on the site of the old Clay School. The Center was designed by Mariner and LaBeaume in 1909 as the Divoll Branch of the Public Library and was so used until about 1965. It was pilastered brick walls on a granite foundation with a richly developed stone trim.
A typical example of nineteenth century school architecture is the original building of the Washington Irving School at 3829 North Twenty-fifth Street. It was designed by F. W. Roeder and completed in 1871 in a simple Italianate style with round arched windows. Three stories in height, it originally had twelve rooms seating 700 pupils. Ornamental brick work is evident is an addition erected in 1893-94.
The third public school built to serve the area was the William Greenleaf Eliot School at 4242 Grove, at that street's intersection with North Florissant. Eliot was a president of the school board and the founder of Washington University. The building was completed in 1898 from plans by William B. Ittner. It has an H-shaped plan with a rusticated first floor, corner quoins and a tiled hipped roof in a picturesque Italianate style.
North St. Louis was the destination of the earliest successful public transit line in the city. This was a horse drawn omnibus operated by Erastus Wells in 1845. It began at the National Hotel at Third and Market Streets and proceeded northward along Third and Broadway to the ferry landing at Bissell's Point. The next development in local transit was the introduction of horse car railways in 1859, affording a faster and smoother ride than the omnibuses. The first horse car line to Bremen-Hyde Park was the St. Louis Railway on North Broadway from East Grand Avenue southward to the downtown area and South St. Louis. Its offices and barns were at Broadway and Salisbury Street. General William T. Sherman was its president in 1861. This line was cabled in the late 1880's and electrified about 1896, it later became a part of the Broadway car line.
The Bellefontaine Railway was completed through the area in 1866, running north from downtown over Eleventh, Hebert and Tenth Streets to a terminus at Penrose. In the nineties it became the Benton-Bellefontaine branch of the Union Depot Railway and, after the transit consolidation of 1899, it became the northern division of the Bellefontaine car line.
In 1865, the Union Railway was incorporated and completed a line to Hyde Park in the same year. It approached the park from the south over Thirteenth (now Nineteenth) Street to Salisbury. It was extended northwestward to the Kossuth Avenue gate of the Fairgrounds in 1871, proceeding via Salisbury, Twenty-fifth and Kossuth. After electrification it became the Lee Avenue street car line. About 1924 the St. Louis Bus Company, a subsidiary of the United Railways, began operation of a bus line on Salisbury Street from McKinley Bridge to Grand and Natural Bridge. This was the forerunner of today's bus lines which replaced street cars in the late 1950's.
The north St. Louis industrial district along the riverfront was at first dependent upon steamboats for transportation service. In 1855, the North Missouri Railroad was placed in operation from a depot at Second and North Market Streets. Its line ran north on Second toward Baden and thence through Ferguson to St. Charles. After the Civil War it reached Kansas City and, in a change of management, it assumed the name of St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern in 1872. Later, it was the Wabash and is now a part of the Norfolk and Western system.
Another railroad running through the Bremen area was the St. Louis, Keokuk and Northwestern, which made its appearance in 1884. It is now in the Burlington Northern Railroad system.
Merchants Bridge was built by the Terminal Railroad Association at the foot of Ferry Street in 1889-90 to provide additional rail access to the East. Connecting lines along the riverfront and the Bremen Avenue yards were established in conjunction with the bridge.
An important part in the industrial development of the Bremen-Hyde Park area was played by the Illinois Traction System. To bring its tracks into St. Louis, it constructed the McKinley Bridge in 1910. It was named for William B. McKinley, president of the system. The bridge furnished local access for its network of freight and passenger electric interurban lines in Illinois.
This railway, now known as the Illinois TerminaI Railroad, presently is a dieselized freight line operation. McKinley Bridge, which formerly carried local street cars to Granite City as well as interurban trains, now is used for highway traffic and railroad freight trains.
Although the Bremen-Hyde Park area was never affluent, its architecture indicates that it was created by a comfortable, well organized community. Within it, people lived pleasant, orderly lives in a style that is appreciated by many people in the neighborhood today. Although a population exodus has occurred in the last decade and now, diverse groups have replaced them, there are still strong links with the original residents of the area. An indication of this liaison with the past can be found in the activities of the Hyde Park Renovation Effort (HYPRE), comprised of area residents interested in the preservation of its architectural heritage.