Bevo Mill Neighborhood Overview
Information concerning the neighborhood history, characteristics, institutions and organizations, planning and development.
Located at the heart of South St. Louis, Bevo is bounded by Chippewa to the north, Missouri Pacific Railroad to the east, Bates and Leona to the southeast, Holly Hills Boulevard to the south, and Christy and South Kingshighway to the west.
Originally a Native American trail to a salt spring, Gravois was the public road to Fenton and its ferry. By 1914, the state-maintained portion outside the city became the first concrete highway. This thoroughfare remains the Southside's widest arterial but is less traveled since the construction of Interstates 55 and 44.
The area remained rural in character, with the largest owner being the Christys, until the discovery of clay deposits in the 1830s. The Christy mansion is today a nursing home at Alfred and Taft.
Along with the opening of clay furnaces and product plants came the alignment of the Oak Hill rail line, connecting Missouri Pacific's mainline in Mill Creek Valley with its Iron Mountain Railroad along the Mississippi in Old Carondelet. German immigrants who worked the mines settled in Bevo and started businesses at the crossroads along Gravois and Morganford, the street connecting running between subdivisions on its east and mines on its west.
The Busch family saw this crossroads as the halfway point between their Soulard brewery and Grant's Farm estate, when a track out on Gravois was quite the journey. As a result, the Busch family built Bevo Mill for their own pleasure and as a tourist attraction. Today, this mill continues to be the focal point and symbolic pride of the neighborhood, with its connections to the area's German heritage.