St. Paul Road

Update: Sorry about the really low quality of some of these pictures; the road is incredibly narrow and there really is nowhere to stop; I also like to think I’ve gotten a little bit better and taking photographs since 2007. For better pictures and information in later posts see this post from 2013 and this one from 2015. Many current and former residents were gracious enough to share wonderful stories about growing up and living in this special corner of the St. Louis region.

While St. Louis County is often viewed as devoid of history, in reality much of the western portion of the county still contains vestiges of close to two hundred years of habitation. For instance, the rail line that heads out west, following the Meramec River, contains numerous small towns that date back to before the Civil War. Even more interesting, many of the roads that we drive on today date back at least one hundred and fifty years, such as St. Paul Road, which will be the subject of this entry.

St. Paul Road heads off through the hills south of Kiefer Creek, and is actually one lane for large portions of it. The first, northern section, contains in places the original log cabins of the earliest settlers.At one point, as seen below, the road narrows to approximately ten feet, sandwiched between two old log structures of a homestead. To the east, a large field stretches off in the distance.

Sadly, there is little to no information on St. Paul Road.

Update: The former storefront/apartment building below was abandoned when I went back in 2019.

After St. Paul Road intersects the more recent Ridge Road, it becomes two lanes as it plunges down into the Meramec River Valley. The town of Jedburgh, or sometimes called Sherman, or sometimes called St. Paul, sits along the railroad tracks that have been here since at least the 1840’s. The town clearly was larger in the past, but a few of the commercial buildings still stand; this one for instance, has been converted into a single family residence.

This church, seen below, is a strange mix of styles; I think it’s probably from the 1950’s or 60’s, but it possesses older stain glass windows as well as an ornate belfry. Who attends this church??

This whole area is steeped in mystery, and since I was a teenager (and clearly long before) this part of the county was believed to be haunted–where teenagers got run over by trains or disappeared on the nearby Lawler Ford Road, or as we called it, “Zombie Road.” Some friends have told stories of being chased from the area by trucks with their high beams on, or other weird encounters with mentally retarded men on bicycles. I have to admit I’ve never even met anybody who even claims to know anyone who lives down this way.

Due to the lack of bridges across the Meramec, this area seems destined to stay largely rural, even as suburban sprawl is now reaching as far west as Lincoln County. I, for one, am glad that this area, an interesting relic of the past when steam engines rolled through the sleepy towns of the Meramec, will remain largely undeveloped–and full of mystery.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Erik Arnson says:

    Sherman is a great place to drive at night. Sometimes I get bored and go down a few of the one way roads just to see who is outside at 2AM. Usually there is at least one person. I’ve only had one somewhat odd experience in the town itself. A jeep flashed it lights at me as I drove by. Kind of strange. Other than that, I’ve walked the tracks at night from 11PM to 4AM searching for weird things. A few things we came across include a strange well in the middle of the forest, several full deer skeletons, beer cans, and an awkwardly placed shed. We also stumbled across an amazing view of the tracks on top of the bluffs. Below us, you could see coyotes all over the other side of the tracks.

  2. rjl says:

    You wrote about St. Paul and the town of sherman. I grew up there. The church is the Sherman Baptist Church and is still attended today.

  3. Oliver (Bud) Elliott says:

    I grew up in Sherman. The name Jedburg refers to a passenger train station that the then Missouri Pacific RR used. It was located just east of St. Paul road on the gravel road now named, coincidentally, Jedburg road. I am almost 71 years old and yes, there were a lot more people living in Sherman when I was a kid. I moved away in 71, but returned to retire in 99. Love the people and the rural atmosphere.

  4. Patti huntington taylor says:

    I lived in sherman at 560 larry elliott dr. My grandparents lou and florence huntington and my patents mike and sue huntington . they are all now have passed away . i have family and friends who still live in sherman. Proud to be a shermanite. Shermanite strong.

  5. shermanite says:

    Yes we chase people out of town because a lot of people come down and vandalize.

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