Lower Hamburg Road Hike
This hike will explore the road that connected the Marthasville Road (Highway 94) with Lower Hamburg, the location of the Hamburg depot on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy Trail) and a few other structures. The entire hike is about 2 ½ miles round trip.
Pull off Highway 94 onto a shoulder of the road next to a metal gate and three large rocks (697146 4283384). This small parking area is 2.5 miles from the intersection of Highways 94 and D, and 3.5 miles from the intersection of Highways 94 and DD. Approximately fifty feet northeast of the three large rocks is the original roadbed. Along this roadbed, less than one hundred yards from Highway 94, is the location of the Hamburg School; no traces remain.
The trail begins, not on the old roadbed, but next to the metal gate; the worn path is obvious. Walk .12 miles down the trail; you will come to an abandoned railroad bed. The railroad cut on your left was constructed in 1940-1941. If you want to take the time, you can find the old road bed, still clearly visible, at the top of the hill, to the north. You can also find the remains of the Sudbrock home, including the intact front steps. Daffodils and other non-native flowers bloom in the springtime. Another old home site, that owned by Georgia Mailloux, is situated east of the Sudbrock home, just across the railroad cut.
Continue walking down the trail. When you reach the area of 697423 4282936, you will notice an old roadbed angling down the ridge on your left, toward the trail you are on. This is the original roadbed; from the point where it reaches the trail you are walking on, you will be on the old roadbed.
Continue walking; you are now walking on the original road. When you are .3 miles from the trailhead, stop and look toward the bottom of the ravine on your right. You will see an unusual concrete structure about twenty feet high. This is the spillway of an unfinished dam project from the 1930’s. Theodore Yahn, a local resident, decided to organize a private boating club and started the project, planning to dam a small stream that ran to the Missouri River. The project was abandoned, but the strange concrete structure in the middle of the woods remains!
As you continue walking down the trail, you will eventually near an old roadbed coming in from your right. Just a short distance down this road, you can find the Hamburg dump (697551 4282761). In 1905 a road was constructed that connected Hamburg to the Lower Hamburg Road. Hamburg residents began to dump their trash where the road crosses a ravine. Be sure to climb down into the creek bed and look at the beautiful stone arch.
The Heck-Roth Cemetery is .55 miles from the trailhead (697802 4282803). Only four graves currently have marked headstones, although records show that in previous years several other Roth graves had marked stones. Of special interest is the grave of Philip Heck, who was a regimental musician during the Civil War.
Only about 100 feet down the trail, on the same side of the road as the cemetery, is the cellar of a house owned by John and Susie Beatty in 1940. Note the stonework in the walls and what the remains of a concrete front porch. A few yards from the back of the ruins stands a hive-shaped well cover. If you look over the edge of the ravine about fifty feet behind the ruins, you will see several broken bottles, pieces of metal, and other trash. Who knows what treasure you might find here? Across the trail, between the cemetery and the home location, you can look for the remains of the Adolf and Rose Daniel house.
Continue walking down the trail. When you have walked .85 miles from the trailhead, you will arrive at the Katy Trail. It is in this area where the Hamburg train depot stood. Turn left/northeast and continue walking, now on the Katy Trail. Walk .54 miles. Leave the trail on the left and walk 150 feet to the north to find the Pitman Cemetery (698843 4283399). As you walk toward the cemetery, you will notice the remains of a stone foundation on your left. This is what is left of a home owned by Charles Siedentop from at least 1875 until 1905, and by Agnes Koladzey in 1940. If you look carefully, you may also find the foundation of a second smaller building still outlined on the ground and the stone-lined cistern (the cistern has been covered over with large branches to prevent someone from falling in). Note the periwinkle, a non-native plant, that covers the ground in this area.
This cemetery is located in an area once known as Wards Hollow. Once the site of several graves, it now contains only the marker for Richard Pitman, who died in 1842. Pitman settled in St. Charles County in 1811. According to an old account of the cemetery, the farmer who owned the land simply removed the headstones in order to have more land to plow. A descendant of Richard Pitman later convinced the farmer to return Pitman’s marker to its original location.
Enjoy your hike!