Part 3 - Hermann to St. Louis
AMTRAK ROUTE GUIDE #50b -- Kansas City, Missouri to St. Louis, Missouri
Sedalia to Hermann


202 HERMANN station, 301 Wharf Street.  Elevation approximately 517 ft.  Hermann is a German community founded in 1837 by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia, who wanted to start a town whose customs and lifestyle were more like the “old country.”  George Bayer and Edward Hermann led the early settlers here in hopes of establishing a utopian society of traditional German culture.  The city was likely named after Hermann der Cherusker, a Germanic leader who defeated the Romans at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD.  The German settlers who moved to Missouri took up viticulture in the Missouri Rhineland (see MP 157.5 above), and the area today is still abundant with vineyards and wineries.  The industry was shut down during Prohibition, but flourished again starting in the 1960’s.

  Hermann is also a center of fine craftsmanship, due in part to the establishment of the Deutsche Schule in the German School of Arts & Crafts.  Hermann is also the home of the Deutschheim State Historic Site, the Hermannhof Winery, the Stone Hill Winery, as well as the historic Hermann Museum.  The city celebrates a traditional German Maifest in mid-May, and a large Oktoberfest and craft show in October.

205.5 Enter FRANKLIN County, created in 1818 and named after Benjamin Franklin.  The county is a part of the Missouri Rhineland, and there are many wineries in the area.  The Hermann AVA (American Viticultural Area) extends into Franklin County.  The county seat is Union.  After the American Revolution, many emigrants from the Deep South settled in Franklin County, along with their slaves.  During the 1830;s, many Germans came to the area, and, since they were against slavery, many of the young men fought for the Union Army during the Civil War.  Prior to the Civil War, the Missouri River in Franklin County attracted much steamboat business, but after the War, the area became a railroad hub.

206.5 Cross Little Berger Creek.

208 Pass through Berger, which was established in 1856, but not platted until 1870.  It was named after Casper Berger, an early settler.  We are still traveling along the edge of the Missouri River flood plain.

212 Pass through Etlah, which was first settled by Germans in 1864, and platted in 1874.  Its name is the German word for “stop,” halte, spelled backwards.  The creek adjacent to the railroad on the left (eastbound) is Big Berger Creek.

213 The Etlah Knobs, visible on the right (eastbound), are composed of Ordovician-aged St. Peter Sandstone unconformably overlain by Pennsylvanian-aged shale and limestone.

215 On the left (eastbound), Big Berger Creek enters the Missouri River.

215.5-216 Pass through New Haven, which was originally known as Blish’s Mill, named after a flour mill owned by Joseph Blish.  Later the name was changed to Miller’s Landing, and the town was platted in 1855.  In 1858, it was renamed New Haven since it was a new town, and was a good port, or “haven,” for boats on the Missouri River.  The name of the town is sometimes spelled as Newhaven.  The town is located within the Hermann American Viticultural Area.

  New Haven is the home of the New Haven Commercial Historic District, New Haven Residential Historic District, the Wilhelm Pelster House & Barn, and the Christopher and Johanna Twelker Farm.

219.5 Cross Boeuf Creek.  The word “Boeuf” is a French word meaning “buffalo” or “cattle.”  The creek empties into the Missouri River just north of the railroad (left if eastbound).

221 Just south of the railroad (right if eastbound) is the community of Dundee, formerly known as New Port or Newport. It was the first county seat of Franklin County.  In 1857 the town was platted by Abraham Bailey, who named the community after his father’s native seaport in Scotland.

225.5 Cross St. Johns Creek, which was likely named after an old Spanish fort along its course, Fort San Juan del Misuri.

228 WASHINGTON station, 301 W. Front Street.  Elevation approximately 491 ft.  The city was named after President George Washington, and is known as the “corncob pipe capital of the world.”  The modern city was founded by Kentuckian William G. Owens, who first settled at New Port (modern Dundee; see MP 221 above).  Owens had begun to plan the city, since he was the property owner, but he was killed in a duel in 1834, before the city had been built.  Prior to Owens’ time, the Washington area had been settled in the late 18th Century, largely by family and followers of Daniel Bone.  During the 1830’s, the area began to be settled by Germans, who were anti-slavery and therefore strong supporters of Union causes during the Civil War. After the Civil War, Washington became a leading steamboat and railroad transportation hub.  During the 1820’s, the town was known as Washington Landing, and John Caldwell ran a ferry service across the Missouri River from Washington.

  Washington is near the Missouri Rhineland (see MP 157.5 above).  It was also the location of the 3rd season of the television reality showTown Haul, in which older towns received makeovers of family-owned businesses.  Washington is also the home of actor Jack Wagner of General Hospital fame.

231 Cross Busch Creek.

231.5 On the left, Busch Creek empties into the Missouri River.

235 Pass through Boles, as we now bend away from the Missouri River.  Boles was previously known as Augusta or Augusta Station, since it served the town of Augusta, across the Missouri River.

237-238 On the left (eastbound) is the city of Labadie, named after Sylvester L’Abaddie, a hunter who was reportedly killed by a bear near here, at L’Abaddie’s Cave.  Labadie Creek enters the Missouri River north of town. The town was platted by the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1855.

239.5 On both sides of the railroad is the large Nestle Purina Poultry Research Center.

240.5-241 Pass through the unincorporated community of Gray Summit, named and founded by Daniel Gray, a New Yorker who built a hotel here in 1845.  The community was formerly known as Point Labadie, then later as Port William.  This site is the highest point on the Missouri Pacific Railroad line between St. Louis and Kansas City, thus the “Summit” in its name. Grays Summit is the home of a large Purina Farms plant (see MP 239.5 above).

241 Pass beneath Interstate 44/U.S. 50.

244.5-246 Pass through Pacific, named after the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (later the Missouri Pacific, now part of Union Pacific), whose ultimate destination was the Pacific Ocean.  The railroad began construction at St. Louis in 1851.  By 1853, however, the railroad had only gotten as far as Pacific.  The town was laid out in 1852 by William C. Inks, and the town was originally called Franklin. The name “Pacific” was chosen in 1854.  Pacific is the home of the Gustav Grauer Farm, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  Enter ST. LOUIS County, the most populous county in Missouri.  The City of St. Louis borders the county, but is not a part of the county, but rather an independent city.  The county seat of St. Louis County is Clayton.

  In 1812, the county originated and was part of the Louisiana Purchase.  The county was first established in 1764 by French fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau.  The county was incorporated on November 9, 1809.  The City of St. Louis was originally part of St. Louis County; however, in 1843, a petition was voted on to separate the county and the city, and there was much opposition at first to the separation.  The city and county were finally separated in 1877.

  On the right (eastbound) is the Meramec River, a 218 mile-long tributary of the Mississippi River.  The name is likely a corruption of the Chippewa Indian word manumaig, which means “catfish.”

  Between here and St. Louis, we will be traversing sedimentary rocks which are younger than the Jefferson City Dolomite, which we have been traversing since Kansas City.  The Ordovician-aged formations overlying the Jefferson City Dolomite are the St. Peter Sandstone, Joachim Dolomite, and Decorah Group.

249.5 Pass through Allenton, which is now part of the town of Eureka (see MP 252 below).  Allenton was laid out in 1852 by Thomas R. Allen.

  On the left (eastbound), the Six Flags St. Louis theme park, formerly known as Six Flags Over Mid-America, is visible.  The park opened on June 5, 1971, and was the 3rd park in the “Six Flags” series.  Including this park, there are only 3 Six Flags parks still in existence.  The park is “Missouri’s Coaster Capital,” and now contains 9 roller coasters and 8 themed areas.  The park is adjacent to the Hurricane Harbor water park, which is included with park admission.

252-253 Pass through Eureka, which was platted in 1858 along the route of the Pacific Railroad.  While clearing the way for the railroad, engineers found a flatter railroad grade for the new road, thus eliminating many grades and land to clear, and exclaimed “Eureka!”, which is Greek meaning “I have found it.”  The city was founded in 1898.  On April 7, 1954, Eureka was finally incorporated, and in 1985, the City of Eureka annexed Allenton to the west (see MP 249.5 above).

  Bedrock in this area consists of the Early Ordovician-aged St. Peter Sandstone and Everton Formation, which are composed of sandstone and dolomite.  The St. Peter Sandstone is a well-known source of sand for glassmaking.

253.5 Cross Meramec River.

254 On the right is the town of Crescent, named after the large crescent bend of the Meramec River to the west.  Hills on either side of the railroad are composed of the Middle Ordovician-aged Joachim Dolomite overlain by limestone and shale of the Decorah Group.

255.5 Cross Meramec River again, and pass through the unincorporated community of Sherman, which may have been named after Civil War Union General William T. Sherman, who lived in St. Louis for a while.

258 On the left is the town of Castlewood, established in 1921.  The Meramec River is adjacent to the railroad on the right.

261-262 Pass through Valley Park as we bend away from the Meramec River.  Prior to 1890, when the Valley Park name was adopted, the city was known as Nasby, Sulphur Springs, Quinette, and Meramec.  The community was originally developed as a summer resort.  The town was incorporated in 1917.  In the great flood of 1915, the main bridge in town was destroyed, as were the huge factories along the river.

  Valley Park is the home of Lone Elk Park and the adjacent World Bird Sanctuary, the Museum of Transportation, and Meramec Landing.  We are now entering the St. Louis metropolitan area.

264 Cross over Interstate 270.  Notice the roadcuts along the highway, in which Mississippian-aged St. Louis Limestone is exposed.

266.5 KIRKWOOD AMTRAK station, 110 W. Argonne Drive.  Elevation approximately 637 ft.  This is a suburban stop for St. Louis.  Kirkwood was founded in 1853 and named after James C. Kirkwood, first chief engineer of the Missouri Pacific Railroad.  It was the first St. Louis suburb built outside the city boundaries.

  Kirkwood hosts the annual Greentree Festival each September, in Kirkwood Park.  The festival  was originally created to replace the drought-stricken trees in the park.  Kirkwood is also the home of Turkey Day Game, a football rivalry between the suburban schools in Webster Groves and Kirkwood.  The game is hosted by alternate cities each year.  It is also the home of the Magic House at the St. Louis Children’s Museum.  Kirkwood is also the headquarters of the Shop ‘n’ Save grocery store chain.

268 On the left (eastbound) is Westborough Country Club

269 On the left (eastbound) is Algonquin Golf Club, founded in 1899 as one of St. Louis’s oldest country clubs.  It remains one of the country’s most prestigious country clubs, with an approximate initiation fee of $46,500, and annual dues of $6,500.

268.5-271 Pass through Webster Groves, named after statesman and former Secretary of State Daniel Webster.  It is one of the most affluent cities in Missouri.  With the coming of the Pacific Railroad (later Missouri Pacific, and now Union Pacific), the community became a popular suburb of St. Louis.  An early housing subdivision known as Webster Park was developed in 1893, and Webster Groves was known as the “Queen of the Suburbs.”

  Webster Groves is the home of Webster University, as well as Douglass High School, the only all-black high school in the County.  Webster Groves was also the home of noted baseball broadcasters Harry and Skip Caray, comedienne Phyllis Diller, novelist Jonathan Franzen, and former FBI/CIA director William H. Webster.

271.5 Cross Deer Creek.

272-273 Pass through Maplewood, a suburban community of St. Louis which was established early in the 20th Century. Maplewood was laid out on a plat of land purchased in 1835, and is the home of the Greenwood Historic District.

273 Enter the City of St. Louis, and leave St. Louis County.

273-274 Pass through the neighborhoods of Ellendale and Benton.  Ellendale was named after the eldest daughter of William L. Thomas, publisher of School and Home; Benton was named after statesman Thomas H. Benton.

276 Pass through the neighborhood of Tower Grove.

279.5 ST. LOUIS AMTRAK station, , 430 S. 15th Street.  Elevation approximately 445 ft.  St. Louis was originally known as “Mound City,” after the numerous Indian mounds of Mississippian culture in the area. European exploration of the area began in 1673, when French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette traveled through the Mississippi River valley.  Five years later, La Salle claimed the region for France as part of French Louisiana.  In 1764, Pierre Laclède and his stepson Auguste Chouteau founded the city of St. Louis.  St. Louis was transferred to the Republic of France in 1800, then sold to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and the city became the territorial capital.  Shortly after the purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis in May 1804, reaching the Pacific Ocean in summer 1805, and returning on September 23, 1806. Both Lewis and Clark lived in St. Louis after the expedition.

  Steamboats first arrived in St. Louis in 1818, improving connections with New Orleans and eastern markets. Missouri became a state in 1821, at which point the capital moved from St. Louis to Jefferson City.  St. Louis was incorporated as a city in 1822, and continued to see growth due to its port connections.  On August 22, 1876, the city of St. Louis voted to secede from St. Louis County and become an independent city, and industrial production continued to increase during the late 19th century.  The city also produced a number of notable people in the fields of literature, including Tennessee Williams and T. S. Eliot, and major corporations such as the Anheuser-Busch brewery and Ralston-Purina company were established.

  Growth in the area slowed during World War I; however, the city at that time financed the adventures of a young aviator named Charles A. Lindbergh, whose dream was the fly across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris, which he did in 1929.  After the beginning of urban decay in the 1930’s and 40’s, the City began a large magnitude urban renewal project, which consisted of many billion-dollar buildings.

  The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, located near the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. was designated as a National Memorial on December 21, 1935, and is maintained by the National Park Service.  The memorial was established to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase and subsequent westward movement of American explorers and pioneers, the first civil government west of the Mississippi River, and the debate over slavery raised by the Dred Scott case.  The most notable feature of the memorial is the Gateway Arch, known as the "Gateway to the West".  It was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel in 1947, and built between 1963 and October 1965. There is a unique tram system to carry passengers to the observation room at the top of the arch.

                                                                                               Ice cream cones, hot dogs, and iced tea were first offered to Americans in St. Louis.  St. Louis is the home of Washington University. St. Louis  University, Covenant Theological Seminary, and Concordia Seminary, as well as the well-known Anheuser Busch Stadium, plus the Dog Museum, Laclede’s Landing, the National Bowling Hall of Fame, Mercantile Money Museum, and Missouri Botanical Garden. A few blocks west of the modern AMTRAK station is the historic St. Louis Union Station, once the nation’s largest single-span train shed.  The building now contains shops, restaurants, a hotel, and an exhibit featuring railroad history in the area.