St Louis History of Manchester Road

Topics: St. Louis County, Missouri, Missouri, Single-family detached home Pages: 6 (2122 words) Published: November 18, 2005
Manchester Road and its Diverse History
Driving down Manchester road was a trip down memory lane. I am currently familiar with much of Manchester road and it booming activity. So much has been built and added in the past twenty years. I did not realize how far into the city Manchester went and so it was a new experience for me. Much of Manchester Rd. in the city is very industrial with the train tracks running parallel to the road much of the time. There were trains present. As we approached Maplewood, the tracks disappeared, leaving behind the barred windows and dilapidated buildings, giving way to a cute little town and the sidewalk shops. Suddenly you saw lots of people walking around. Prior to this I had seen a couple of rough looking people sitting at bus stops but that was all. It only got better. As I drove along I realized how old the places like Glendale and Rock Hill and Kirkwood are. Whereas toward the end in Ballwin and especially Wildwood everything was so new still and in some instances still under construction. Instead of building new homes like these places Kirkwood and some areas closer to the city are in the process of tearing down old homes and building new ones in their place. Manchester road itself has a very long and interesting history. It first was called Rue Bonhomme during French control of the area. At that time, it was an extension of Market Street, which farmers used to carry produce to market on the St. Louis riverfront. In 1826, the Missouri State Legislature moved to Jefferson City, making it the new state capital. One of the first orders of business after the move was to supplement the Missouri River access to the capital with an overland route. Soon an overland mail route between St. Louis and Jefferson City was established. In 1835, the St. Louis County Court approved an act to plan out Manchester Rd. The General Assembly made Manchester Road the first official State road in St. Louis County in order to provide an overland route between Jefferson City, the new capital, and St. Louis. "After World War I, the Federal Government donated military road building and paving equipment to individual states, including the State of Missouri. The St. Louis County portion of Manchester Road, still the major thoroughfare from St. Louis to Springfield, was first paved in the late 1920's. (" "Manchester Road's expansion to four lanes in 1963 was marked by a mammoth ribbon cutting at the eastern city limits of Manchester.(" Now Manchester has anywhere from two, up to six lanes in some places.

Starting in the city, Manchester traverses through Compton Heights and Oakland before reaching the county. Industrial activity began in the Oakland area due to the construction of the Pacific Railroad in the mid 1850's. "Excellent clay deposits in the vicinity brought the establishment of several fire-brick works before 1875.(" "At that time, the larger plants were those of James Green's Laclede Works at about the present Wilson and Sulphur Avenues and Evens and Howard's Cheltenham Fire Brick Works on Manchester east of Macklind. A neighbor of the latter firm was the St. Louis Smelting and Refining Company, while across Manchester, near Sublette, was S. Mitchell's brick works, which dated from 1857. Coal was also discovered in the area in the late 1850's, supplementing the clay sources, which dated from twenty years before that. (" Several public schools are located in the Compton area, the earliest being the Hodgen School at 2748 Henrietta Street which was built in 1884. The Grant School at 3009 Pennsylvania Avenue was opened in 1893 and was one of the first public schools here. Ittner who was the Wyman School built in 1901 at 1547 South Theresa Avenue also built the adjacent building for Harris Teachers College at 1517 South Theresa, which was finished in 1905. "The teachers college remained there until 1950 and the building is now used as...

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