HERITAGE SIGNS AND DRIVING TOUR
by Ida Gerdiman and Bob Brail
Twelve years ago the Boone-Duden Historical Society decided to undertake the task of erecting a historical sign in every community, both large and small, both remembered and forgotten, in southern St. Charles County and eastern Warren County, the area encompassed by the Society's charter. The effort progressed slowly over the years, with signs erected for Dortmund, Nona, La Charrete, Marthasville, and the original site of Dutzow. About five years ago, two more signs were placed for North Washington and New Melle. Earlier this year Schluersburg received its sign. Now the society is ready to place two more signs, both double-sided, for Hamburg, Lower Hamburg, Howell, and Toonerville. The Heritage Sign Project will be complete when future signs are placed for Augusta, Matson, and ????????.
The purpose of these signs is to ensure that the histories of these small communities are not forgotten. Each 4' by 4' sign contains a chronological overview of the town's past, and some signs include photographs or maps. Each maintenance-free sign is green with routed letters and mounted to white decorative posts.
Included in this issue is a Heritage Sign Driving Tour with a map and very specific directions to the locations of each of the current signs and the future locations of the Hamburg/Lower Hamburg and Howell/Toonerville signs. If you live in the area, why not spend a couple of hours driving the tour and reading the signs? You may learn something new!
This tour does not include information about the communities; that is the purpose of the signs! However, if you wish to learn more about these towns, including the ones that no longer exist, you may wish to obtain any of the following books from the St. Charles County library:
Dutzow: A Place of Dreams by Urban Reuther
The Historical Center of Duden Country: Dutzow, Missouri by Jerry Holtmeyer
La Charrette:Village Gateway to the American West by Lowell Schake
Emmaus Homes: 100 Years, 1893-1993 by Ralph Gregory
The Rape of Howell and Hamburg by Donald K. Muschany
A Dream Left High and Dry: the Town of Dortmund by Anita Mallinckrodt
These websites may also prove helpful: thetntstory.org and boone-duden.com/history/map.
TEXT FOR NEW HERITAGE SIGNS
Please help the BDHS fix its mistakes! Below is the text for the two new double-sided signs for Hamburg, Lower Hamburg, Howell, and Toonerville. These signs will be erected as soon as the information is verified as correct. If you find any mistakes, please contact any of the BDHS officers or board members listed on this newsletter's first page. We would like for you to ask us questions or give us your comments. Thank you. The Sign Committee (Ida Gerdiman, chairperson)
1840 – The town was located about two miles from the Missouri River and about 16 miles from St. Charles. Hamburg was laid out and platted in 1840 by Henry Schneider, assisted by Jacob Smith and William Koenig. Henry Schneider built the first house in town. The small town below the hill became known as Lower Hamburg.
1845 – Johann Nahm started a store and William Koenig a cabinet making shop.
1856 – John L. Martin, M. D. came to town.
1857 – Post office was established. William Koenig was the first postmaster.
George Mades, a shoemaker, made shoes principally for slaves.
1858 – John E. Schneider was known for his coverlets.
1867 – George Mades donated land to build a Sarge flouring mill.
1870 – Population was 50 people, 9/10 German and 1/10 American.
Henry Seib and Peter Mades bought stock and merchandise from Schaefer and Son.
1878 – Henry Seib built a larger two-story store building. Upstairs was used for dancing and parties.
1881 – Henry Seib was appointed postmaster of Hamburg.
1893 – John Mades opened a clothing store for gentlemen.
1896 – H. J. Seib Grocery Co. was incorporated with Seib's son and Louis Wackher.
1940 – Brought Death of a Dream. Government buys land for a TNT plant. Only memories and sites of Hamburg remain.
Located along the Missouri River, southwest of St. Charles along Highway 94 in St. Charles County.
1834 – A group of German immigrants came up the Missouri River and landed at a site on the river's northern side, not far from where originally the Femme Osage Creek flowed into the Missouri River. They were Wilhelm Koenig, George W. Mades, Johann Nahm, Nicholas Roth, Daniel Schmidt and Jacob Schneider. They cleared land and built log homes.
Flooding was a constant threat to people.
1840 – Henry Schneider laid out and platted the town of Hamburg. Locals referred to Hamburg as Upper and Lower Hamburg.
1887 – Missouri Central Railroad came to Lower Hamburg. There was not enough funding and it was sold to the M. K. & T. railroad.
1888 – There was a great flood that shifted the river away from the bluff's edge. Hamburg could no longer get shipments of goods by steamboat. The railroad created a plan for daily mail and major transportation of goods to the outside world.
Men repaired the tracks by walking and inspecting them. They were called the Track Walkers. Robberies and fear of being killed were always possibilities.
1894 – The M. K. & T. Railroad completed the tracks and built a depot which they called Miller's Station or Miller's Switch, below the hill from Upper Hamburg.
Lower Hamburg had a good station, express and telegraph office. H. J. Seib Grocery Co. built a grain elevator and brought grain near the tracks. Near the station a hotel, saloon and several dwellings were built.
Farmer's Bank was organized, later moved to upper Hamburg. Miller's Station was changed to Seib's Station.
Today it is part of the Katy trail, and only the site of Lower Hamburg remains.