Thursday, March 02, 2006

"The Oldest Road In St. Louis County"

"St. Charles Rock Road, the first road through St. Louis County, was laid out in 1772 as “The Road to St. Charles” by the Spanish. The road began in St. Louis (where it was called “Kings Road”), followed in a general direction the route now used and led to the bank of the Missouri River opposite St. Charles. In 1819, St. Charles Road was established as a post and stage road; in 1837 it was first incorporated as a turnpike. In 1865, St. Charles Road was rebuilt with macadam (successive layers of small broken stones) and renamed St. Charles Rock Road. In 1921, it became the first concrete state highway in St. Louis County."

Excerpted from the official website for the City of St. John, St. Louis County, Missouri.


Joe said...


This is from Norbury Wayman's History of St. Louis Neighborhoods - Oak Hill:

"Gravois Avenue began as a road to a salt spring and ferry, near present day Fenton, about 1804. It was declared to be the public 'road to Fenton' by order of the County Court in 1832. In 1839, an act of the State legislature made Gravois a state road and during the 1840's it was paved with a macadam surface. In 1914, Gravois Road became the first concrete highway in Missouri, when six miles were laid from the City limits to Grant's Farm."

Sounds to me like Gravois pre-dates the Rock Road as paved in rock by 20 years or so; and pre-dates it with concrete pavement by seven years.

Last time I checked, the section of Gravois from just west of Hamburg Avenue to Grant's Farm was located in St. Louis County.

But St. John's page would be correct if they simply added the word NORTH to that last sentence!

This illustrates a classic St. Louis conundrum: people who live north don't know anything south, and vice versa.

Gravy Crane Durham said...

Or the name of the post could be changed to "The Oldest Paved Road in St. Louis County" so as to not confuse the public. When I read the post I was confused. How can the City of St. John claim that the St. Charles Rock Road is the oldest road in St. Louis County when they clearly know that Gravios was paved in the 1840s? A road without macadam paving is not a road at all.

I wouldn't blaim the people of St. John for the mistake. The Spaniards who laid the non-macadam surfaced...path.... set this error in motion 200 years ago by calling it a road.

Last time I checked, a road is a road regardless of surface unless someone wants to illustrate a classic St. Louis conundrum: using artificial geographic distinctions to divide the community neatly along racial, cultural and economic lines.

The people in St. John may not "know anything South" but they do know the definition and proper use of the word "road".

What road, or I mean concrete paved surface as roads are only surfaced with macadam, is the divide between North and South St. Louis County?