Kimmswick, Missouri |
314 Market Street
This historic riverfront town of Kimmswick, Missouri, is nestled among tall trees and rolling hills along the Mississippi River, just 22 miles south of St. Louis. Take I-55 south to Exit 186, east to Hwy. 61-67, south to Hwy. K.
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By Betty Magrath, SLFP
Photos by Bob Moore, SLFP
© 1998, Saint Louis Front Page
KIMMSWICK, MO, (SLFP.com) - In 1859, a German dry goods merchant, Theodore Kimms, purchased about 160 acres of land from the widow of Captain George Waters. Kimms laid out the small town and named it after himself. The early German community was settled by wealthy families from St. Louis and immigrant stonecutters.
The town prospered early on due to easy access to railroad and river transportation. According to Nadine Garland, past President of the Kimmswick Historical Society, the early community of 1,500 was served by a post office, 4 schools, 2 train stations, a dentist and several doctors. "The town boasted a bank, hotel, flouring mill, iron works foundry, lumber mill and brewery. Many who settled in Kimmswick were stonemasons. They cut the limestones to build the Old Courthouse in St. Louis from the quarries surrounding Kimmswick," said Garland. She noted that at one time there were 14 mineral springs in the area which were the source of salt used by the early American Indians.
After the turn of the century, the town was bypassed and almost forgotten with the coming of automobiles, Garland explained. Many historic buildings fell into decay and were torn down. The loss of boat and train traffic and the building of nearby Hwy 55 almost sealed the fate of Kimmswick.
However, in 1969, Lucianna Gladney Ross, led an energetic movement to save the town. An active Kimmswick Historical Society continues the effort of restoration and now has a museum in what was once the Kimmswick Bible Church at 3rd and Vine Streets.
During the "Great Flood of '93", the town of Kimmswick was saved through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and the National Guard who sandbagged and built the earthen levee. Today, the little town has a population of about 150 people who live and work in many original buildings that have been lovingly restored. Several "saved" historic log buildings have been moved from other areas and re-assembled to preserve history.
Visitors to Kimmswick can step back in time to spend a delightful afternoon browsing through numerous antique, artisans and collectibles shops.
Just west of Kimmswick, the 425-acre Mastodon State Historic Site preserves an important archaeological site containing the bones of American mastodons. A museum tells the natural and cultural story of the area. Visitors can enjoy the picnic grounds and hiking the Tom Stockwell Wildflower Trail. The museum hours are Monday thru Saturday, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, noon - 4:30 p.m. During winter months, November - March, please call (636) 464-2976 to verify hours.
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