Landmarks of South County?

The editor of B.E.L.T. and I were recently discussing our lack of knowledge of major architectural landmarks in South County. Specifically, any great churches, relatively intact main streets or other noteworthy houses or businesses? We’d like to hear from you. By the way, I was knocked out with the flu the last couple of days, but I’m back to normal now.

39 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    There is a "mansion" on the corner of Buckley and Sappington Barracks Rd. From what I have heard it used to be a brothel back in the day. You may also want to look into the Forder family. Their house is on Telegraph Rd. just north of St. Martin of Tours school (you may want to take a look at that school as well). Apparently, the Forder family used to own land that stretched from their home (on Telegraph) all the way to the river. Good luck!

  2. The "Bauernhof" at Grant's Farm in Affton was built by the Busch family in 1913 and houses the old Budweiser carriages and the famous Clydesdale horses. Grant's Farm now functions as a free zoo operated by A-B. The fence on Gravois Road is noteworthy because it was built out of confederate war rifles. Part of the property was once owned by former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. Grant's Cabin was built by Grant in 1855 and is across the street from Grant's Farm.

    1. Julie Beller says:

      Grant’s cabin is not across the street from Grant’s Farm, it is right on the same property as the farm. You can see it just behind the fence you refer to that is made from civil war rifle shafts.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There's a couple churches that I know of that are similar. Specifically St. Andrew's in Lemay which has an extensive history with my family (Our name is in a stain glass window) and a cousin of the church on Gravois by Heege called St. George. Both are beautiful. St. Martin of Tours on Telegraph at Forder is another good one. It is very old yet has very nice modern architecture. It's the parish I attended when I was in grade school.

  4. Speaking of Grant's Farm, from what I remember, my father once told me when I was a child that the land across from grant's farm, where the stone wall is and the cannon, (or where the cannon used to be) were authentic to civil war era. How old is the Lindbergh Building? I know that not much changes in the South County area, or at least it seems that way, but things have changed in the last 20-30 years. I wish that South County Tilt stayed the way it was. I remember a giant indoor miniature golf course.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow, there is an amazing amount of history in South County! Try Jefferson Barracks Historic Site (an active Army post from 1826-1946). The oldest building date back to 1851 in the County park section of the old post. Also, Sylvan Spring Park has the beverage garden built by the 6th infantry in the 1930s. The Neff Mansion is in Bee Tree Park. Plenty to explore for all.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That should be Nims Mansion(in Bee Tree Park), after the owner and founder of Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., Eugene Nims.

  7. anonymous says:

    There is also a half built castle at the back of Bee Tree park overlooking the Mississippi River, known as Chinamans castle by most, it is the Wood-Smith Castle. Built by George F. Wood-Smith, he apparently ran out of money around the time of the great depression and never finished the castle.

    1. Tom Maher - Kirkwood MO says:

      It was just reported in Underground Ozarks that the Wood-Smith castle has been demolished by Ameren; I could find nada in the P-D. True story?

      1. rusty shackleford says:

        It has been demolished. Major security. Not suggested to visit.

        1. Richard E Engelhardt says:

          That’s a shame,I remember walking on a small trail along the bluff from bee tree to the castle and it was really cool,we would go back there to hang out and party..

    2. Sean Neal says:

      Thats not Chinamans Castle, Chinamans Castle is a home back behind the St. Anthony’s Hosp. area that was once owned by William Lemp Jr. Some old woman owned it in the 80’s and as high school kids we all used to go up there. I heard it was sold a couple years ago to an unnamed buyer. It’s not a ruin, it’s a very together mostly wood mansion with a large surrounding grounds.

      1. Don Wohlschlaeger says:

        Chinamans was located off
        Mentz Hill Rd or you could go back Alswell Drive. A parkers paradise.

  8. Jerry Marty says:

    Forder House. Telegraph Rd in Lemay. Near St. Martin of Tours Church. Owned by Forder Family. Property obtained by a land grant from President Polk in 1820’s. Current house on site is pre-civil war. Slave cabin in back of house still there. Stone ice house where ice was brought, cut and transported by horse and wagon to the ice house, still there. Property recently sold and will be torn down. Terrible. Place in great shape. I guess the Forder Family wants to close a long history of the Forder homestead. I do not at all understand this.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:


    2. Ann Willis says:

      Was any attempt made to at least move the log/slave cabin to another location?

    3. MR X says:

      he wants $$$$$$

  9. Ann Willis says:

    There is a nice write-up of the Forder House in the book, The Past In Our Presence; Historic Buildings in St. Louis County, which was published in 1996 by the Historic Buildings Commission of the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation. So sad that such a piece of South County history is being destroyed.

  10. Michelle says:

    All–There appears to be an estate sale of the Forder House this weekend (4/26 and 4/27 see The log cabin IS for sale. Let’s hope it goes to someone with intentions of saving a piece of our history.

    Sadly, from what I’ve read, the estate that is next door to the Forder House had a similar sale a week or so ago. The properties are going to become a new subdivision or something. What a shame!

  11. Linda says:

    We went to the estate sale at the Forder House this past weekend. Awesome house and some terrific buys. Not sure if anyone bought the log house. I asked them if they contacted the Mo Historical Society and the guy snobbishly answered “Why?”. I thought older homes etc. couldn’t be knocked down.

    1. Jerry Marty says:

      Old or historic homes that are on historic registers are recognized as historic. If the property is privately owned, it can be torn down if that is what the owner wishes. The Forder House would have made a great living history site.

      1. MR X says:

        yeah but forder dosent care

        1. S says:

          It wasn’t even Sam forder that sold it. He didn’t want to anyway. It more had to do with his wife. Which is a real shame. Most of the forder children from the current generation were not happy about the sale of the property at all!!

          1. Mr x says:

            Wow thanks for sharing

  12. Michele says:

    I have been trying to see if ANYONE out there can stop at least the slave house from being demolished, but have had no luck. I saw trailers arriving yesterday. I’m afraid the end of an amazing piece of American History will be destroyed any minute now. I wish there was SOMETHING that could be done.

    1. Dana says:

      I hadn’t heard about the sales, etc., until it was too late, but I’d always wanted to see the home. Just before it was demolished I drove up and was shocked to find the cabin and ice house. I had no idea they were there, and they were absolutely amazing and in better shape than the house itself. I can’t believe that anyone would allow the cabin to be demolished. Jefferson Barracks is just a few miles away, and that would have made an excellent addition to their museums. Very sad.

      1. MR X says:

        Check out my post

    2. MR X says:

      Forder didnt care all he wanted was the $$

  13. MR X says:

    Dose anyone know why it was sold? Did forder die?

  14. MR X says:

    Okay everyone heres the lastest. Forder decided he didnt want it anymore and sold it. They are cramming the homes in prices starting at 250k. I dont see why this should have every been sold for a measly 315k But forder is the type that just want money whats good is it going to do when your taking your dirt nap?

    1. HH says:

      Before you jump to judgement, you should at least take the time to put yourself in his shoes. I knew Sam Forder, and he was an older man with some very young children, one with special needs. Obviously the kid will have extensive medical needs which -when her dad is taking his so called dirt nap-she will be able to live and pay her bills . There’s your answer.

      1. Mr x says:

        Why couldn’t he just set up a trust for him surly a man like him has more than enough

  15. Just wondering says:

    $205,000 starting? Wow- people will pay that to live in lemay? Hope they don’t change the school boundary lines because the border between Hancock and mehlville is very close!!!!

    1. MR X says:

      I thought it was 250 k Homes comming spring of 2015

  16. jaime gast says:

    does anyone know who is building the homes?

  17. Gerry Spitznagel says:

    When I was delivering furniture for Famous Barr in the 80’s We had a delivery at the Forder House. I lived in south city at river des peres and had passed it many times. The lady (mrs. Forder?) gave me a tour of most of the house. It was pretty cool with a huge family room of stone and large timbers. I just saw it was gone and new construction.

  18. Denise says:

    I went to the estate sale. It was so upsetting knowing it would be torn down. I met a lady who knew the owner and said he was very upset over having to sell it. I have some of the stuff including his wife’s clothes in storage. I’m looking for the old home made broom that was sold. I went home to get more$ and by time I came back it was gone.

  19. Sean Neal says:

    I own property on Yaeger Rd. in 63129, my property goes way back, in the woods behind Oakville High School, there are ruins of some sort from what looks like at least 30 years ago or more. Stone walls, concrete steps, fire brick chimney, etc. etc. Does anyone know what that was? Or how old the building is? Bricks from the building say EGYPTIAN on them?

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