Most of us in this area are very used to hearing the three words – Laclede Station Road – always together. How many of you ever stopped to think just what and where was this Laclede Station? Laclede was an early property development in what is now the western part of Maplewood. The Laclede Station appears to have been one of the original stops on the Pacific Railroad (later called MoPac) which was completed through what would become Maplewood in 1853.
The search for a photograph of the Laclede Station is another Holy Grail of Maplewood history that I’ve been searching for. From my research thus far I know that Laclede Station was in existence as early as 1855. This is no doubt why images of it are hard to come by. Photographs were extremely scarce that long ago. I suspect that all evidence of the original location was wiped out when Hanley Road was extended south of Manchester and joined to Laclede Station Road just north of Cousin Hugo’s.
In 1896, the Edgebrook bridge was built which spanned the valley containing Deer Creek. It connected Bartold Avenue in Maplewood to Summit Avenue in Webster Groves. Edgebrook bridge was used by streetcars. There was an Edgebrook stop if not a station.
The Laclede Station on the MoPac line was used by trains. I believe it was necessarily very close to the Edgebrook stop so riders could switch from one to the other.
Prior to the construction of the Maplewood depot, sometime after the chartering of the City of Maplewood in 1908, the only other MoPac stop on the territory that is now Maplewood, was a freight stop called Sutton. MoPac records this small frame building as having been built in 1885.
So the Laclede Station was an important stop for folks in this area for many, many years but where exactly was it? It is still a mystery.
This clipping is from the earliest year of the Globe-Democrat on record. Followers of this space will recognize the name of Charles Samuel Rannells (builder of Woodside) from earlier posts. Woodside, Maplewood’s oldest structure, was built ca. 1848-50.
An abstract (abbreviation) of the proceedings of the St. Louis County Court. “Remonstrances filed by Zeno Mackey against opening of new road from Laclede Station to Gravois road, and Commissioners appointed to assess damages.” A remonstrance is a document stating opposition to something or a grievance of some kind. This is undoubtedly about the creation of the Laclede Station road. How cool.
February 8, 1856. Amos E. Curry appointed to open Laclede station road.
A pre-civil war political “Pic-Nic” on Sutton’s farm.
In 1859, Bartold’s Tavern was put up for sale. It would have been just a short walk from the Laclede Station.
This an excerpt from a very long and complicated letter written by Charles S. Rannells on February 1, 1859. Charles, the builder of Woodside and a two term state senator was in office when he wrote this letter. Anyone interested in reading the whole thing, contact me and I will email it to you.
I include this notice of a pic-nic held in 1862 because many of these notices referred to Laclede Station as if it was a recreational area separate from Bartold’s which was very close.
This is interesting. I wonder if Des Peres Creek is now known as Deer Creek? If this bridge was built, I suppose it is long gone.
Two brigades of the city militia spent the night at Laclede Station.
Charles Rannells suffered an injury about which not much is known. It may have been a head injury. It is thought this led to alcoholism. By 1867 he had been declared mentally incompetent in court and a guardian was appointed to sell his extensive holdings. This is about one quarter of the announcement of those sales that appeared in the paper on September 17, 1867. The Laclede refers to his property development by that name.
In 1868, the Caledonia Club had their Fourth of July picnic at Laclede station. Notice how this seems to indicate a recreational area not just a train station.
In this 1868 article, Dr. Watson Rannells and others complain about the smell of dead animals being transported along a road they must travel. Interestingly Dr. Rannells says he resides at Laclede Station, Pacific Railroad as if it is a community and not just a railroad station. He was related to Charles though I forget how. A brother, maybe.
This is obviously not a small place if it can host 250 school children.
In 1876, a ten room house on 13 acres is offered for sale. Ten rooms!
In 1876, a drowning at a picnic.
This one is pretty good. On July 22, 1877, Beckwith, the walkist, starts out…
A large elegant 12 room home for sale. How many of those could there have been? I wonder if this one still exists?
A lime kiln at Laclede Station.
This appeared August 1, 1882. That should read Mrs., not Mr. , M.W. Rannells. Mary Warder was Charles’ widow.
Baseball! The “No Accounts” are playing the Lacledes. The Lacledes? They had enough people living there to put together a baseball team!
This is one of the only descriptions I’ve found that describes what must have once been located at the Laclede Station. I believe Henry Kuhleman was the owner. There are many notices of picnics held there in the newspapers to be found on Newspapers.com. It made me wonder just how big of a place was this? See next image.
This is an excerpt from an article published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on July 5, 1884. It describes events during the celebration the day before. What caught my eye was that 1,000 tickets were sold to Laclede Station. 1,000! Amazing! What must have once been there to handle 1,000 visitors in one day? I can’t imagine. There is nothing there now but Cousin Hugo’s, Deer Creek Park and a Mini-Cooper dealership.
Well, that was a long one. Is there anybody still with me? Believe it or not, I edited out quite a lot. A discovery like this leaves me stunned. How is it all of these things completely disappear?
This one took the wind out of me but soon I’ll be back with a lot more images from Mary Piles, our Citizens Bank history connection. Also Ed and Sharon Notter have generously shared many interesting historic images from their family collection. They have been waiting patiently so those I’ll probably have up next.
In the meantime, I don’t care what some say, we have a long way to go before we can say goodbye to the virus. Wear your mask and wash your hands.
Thanks to everyone who contributes and participates in whatever way. I appreciate your support.
Doug Houser August 25, 2020
This detail is from a map that was printed in 1878. I was made aware of this map by readers Michael and Gary. Thanks to you both. I believe it shows the Laclede Station to be just north of the tracks and west of the Laclede Station Road. I think but can’t prove that the black square that is just below the words, Laclede St. is a home or some other building. DH 9/17/2020