Table of Contents
EARLY HISTORY OF
Clapp and his helper Sylvanus Groom cut their way from Maple Rapids to
Lutheran Mission and the Indian Cemetery to the horseshoe bend in Pine
River and built a cabin home in 1853. The following spring Joseph Clapp
married Matilda Smith of Sandusky, Ohio. Her brothers came along, Seaman
and Elias Smith, and all worked in lumbering. By 1856 Clapp's sawmill
was in operation. More settlers moved in. In the same year Sydney S. Hastings,
brought his family by Indian canoe upriver from Saginaw. He became county
October 15, 1868 Saint Louis incorporated as a village. The first election
was held the following November. The citizens elected as first village
president the Honorable John L. Evans.
Saint Louis laid along the route of the huge log drives, down Pine River, from Montcalm, Mecosta, and Isabella Counties, and on through Gratiot and Midland to Saginaw's mighty sawmills. Lumbering was the leading industry for the opening years of Saint Louis. By the end of the Civil War, 1865, the population of Saint Louis totaled 140. A booming salt industry in and around Saginaw led Henry L. Holcomb and John L. Evans to try their luck at drilling for salt, in Saint Louis, in 1869. The discovered instead a flowing well that produced magnetic water. Holcomb and Evans, entrepreneurs that they were, recognized that, although they had not found brine, they had discovered something of greater value. They built a crude, temporary bath house to meet the growing demands for baths. In 1869 the plank road to Saginaw was built. In that year the town's first newspaper "The Saint Louis Gazette," began publishing. Its successor was "The Herald," . In 1953 Clarence and Odessa Smazel were publishing "The Saint Louis Leader-Press."
In the Spring of 1881 the Sanatorium , officially known as the Magnetic Springs Hotel opened. Since it adjoined the pleasant landscaped approach to the bath house, it some was known as the Park Hotel or Park House. Built by Dr. Willis P. Andrews and Dr. John M. Combs It was the era of fabulous wealth, in the history of Saint Louis. It was also the time of lumber barons and mineral baths. Henry L. Holcomb built one of Michigan's most elaborately beautiful opera houses. Actors en route between Saginaw and Grand Rapids stopped in Saint Louis for one night stands. An academy, a public school, and four churches already were well-established part of the town's civic life..
Between 1870 and 1887 the village of Saint Louis had 7 hotels;
1. Park Hotel
By 1888 the first electric lights were turned on. In the Spring of 1891 the tiny village was incorporated as the City of Saint Louis, with Dr. A. R. Wheeler as our first mayor. Since 1899 Saint Louis has owned and operated its own power plant.
More detailed stories are found on other pages of this web site.
July 1, 2008