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The "Old" Seven-Mile House
St. Charles Rock Road  at  Lucas & Hunt
Wellston, MO

Acknowledgments:
  The compiling of this information would have been impossible without the generous help of many friends and classmates from Wellston High.

Ownership of The Land:
  The "Seven-Mile House occupied land within present day Wellston, St. Louis County, Missouri.  Ownership of the land can be traced back to Peter Saffray's Land Grant Survey 2684 of the early1800s, which covered most of the present city of Wellston north of the Road to St. Charles, (later the St. Charles Rock Road).   

Prior to 1868. Charles Salzman purchased a portion of Survey 2684, that can be described as "location, location, location"..  He had it all.  Farm, truck garden, grocery store, water, and "Dram Shop" on the first good rest stop west of St. Louis.

This was when "Trails West" meant using the Overland Trail or the National Road to go West.  The St. Louis and St. Louis County part of the National Road was Franklin Avenue to Easton Avenue to St. Charles Rock Road.   Up to 40 wagons a day were going west to St. Charles. This location had two horse drawn street car lines stopping at the Seven mile house.  Eden Seminary was across the street on the west and an Ice House and later a Allhoff Feed Store on the south.  Two large cemeteries also drew customers to Salzman's store and tavern.

Below is an 1868 Atlas Map of interest to Wellston Alumni

Marked in yellow is Chas. Salzman's Seven-Mile House & Geo Rinkel's Six-Mile House.  Just west of Rinkel's
property is the Kienlen Family,  about 79 Acres, now divided showing Mary L Kienlen name (widow) and the other four names, which are son-in-law surnames.  On the South side of St. Charles Rock Road is the E. F Hutchinson property.  This land will include Evergreen, Ridge, Barnes (Wells), and part of Ogden. Wellston High School, and Grace Lutheran Church are on this land.  (see 1878 sale adv. on page 2)     The John Watson extended family owned most of Wellston south of this area.

1893 Advertisment St. Louis, Co., MO Directory

The Salzman property was divided and 1.7 Acres was sold to Ernst and Mina Eckert. They ran the store, restaurant and tavern as the Seven-Mile House. Later they rented the business to the August Kissner Family.   In 1938, Charles and Margaret Schuchmann and family first rented the Grocery store, then later both of the attached stores, and lived upstairs over the restaurant/tavern and store.   It was known as Charlie's Seven Mile House. The Grocery store and the tavern were combined, and the entire first floor was now a tavern and restaurant.  It became a popular place for dancing with a three piece band performing seven nights a week.


Click Photo for larger View

In 1943 the business was purchased by John Vitale and renamed "Johnnie's Seven mile House.  In 1956 the Seven Mile House was razed and replaced by a Gas Station.  That was the end of 100 years of history for the Seven Mile House.

The retail business opportunities for this area changed quickly after WWII.  Factories closed or moved.  Interstate highways greatly reduced the use of St Charles Rock Road. The peak of population for Wellston was 1950. It then dropped rapidly as returning veterans moved to outlying subdivisions. The older buildings of the early 1900s were not a good investment to improve or replace.  Businesses moved westward to the Strip malls and Shopping Centers.  Urban blight began slowly at first, then rapidly. Soon the area was an Urban "Ghost town".  By the 1960s the town was cycling back to open spaces and the population continued a downward spiral as residents and employment were migrating westward away from St. Louis.


ca 1934-1950  Map, Click to enlarge

More Information of The Historical St. Charles Rock Road
http://www.cityofstjohn.org/history.html

http://www.breckenridge-hills.mo.us/History2.htm

What does the old  "Seven Mile House" location look like in 2008?    See below.

See Part Two,  More Photos and News clippings!  Click Here

 

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