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History

history

Creve Coeur, French for “broken heart,” has its roots in farming, like many Midwest cities. Having evolved into a thriving city over the years, Creve Coeur is an ideal location to settle with family or for retirement, but its daytime population of 45,000 people proves that its powerful business sector makes the city a great place to work too.

The city doesn’t leave many “broken hearts” in its wake, which makes the origin of its name a mystery. One tale suggests that the name originated with an Indian princess named Memetonwish, who is said to have fallen in unrequited love with a French trapper. Heartbroken, the Indian princess threw herself from a ledge overlooking Creve Coeur Lake, which then reshaped itself in the form of a broken heart. Others believe that the name originated from a flood that caused great heartache. Regardless of how the name came about, Creve Coeur became a popular location for German settlers in the early 1800s, and although they continued to speak German in their everyday lives, they left the French name of Creve Coeur, along with all its beauty and folktales, intact.

Creve Coeur has a strong sense of its past, and advocates the preservation of its historic treasures. Sites such as the fully furnished one-room Lake School House, The Clester Log Cabin (circa 1829), the Hackmann Log Cabin, which served the Hackmann family from 1842-1925, and the Tappmeyer Homestead, which was built between the years of 1880-1884, lend themselves to the strong foundation this area has built upon. Hard work, education, quality of life and vision played as big a part in the past – and still do today.

Creve Coeur officially became a city in 1949, with a population of 1,878 people. While much of what is Creve Coeur was built after 1970 to accommodate the migration of residents from the larger city of St. Louis, there are still more than a dozen century-old homes.

Olivette is a much smaller community (less than three square miles) and it, too, was originally established as a farming community. Although the city as it is known today was officially incorporated in 1930, it was known as Central in the 1800s, and was of great significance to those pioneers who traveled west. The community of Olivette straddled an old Indian Trail, originally named Old Bonhomme Road, which was later renamed Olive Street Road, and is now present day Olive Boulevard. The corner of Old Bonhomme and Price Roads lay exactly halfway between the Port of St. Louis on the Mississippi and Howell’s Landing, which lay on the banks of the Missouri River. Location made this the optimal stop for travelers to stock their wagons. At the time the town boasted a general store, a blacksmith’s shop and a grogshop as well as a handful of homes and farmsteads.

While the corner of Price Road and Old Bonhomme Road was important to those who were passing through on their travels westward, it is also of significance to those who have made their home in Olivette over the years. There has been a schoolhouse located at this corner for the past 150 years, and when the original two-room school was built, it was the only brick schoolhouse in the county.

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