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Part One

Written by John L. Sullivan, 1964

The City of Elvins, Mo., is a mining town in St. Francois County, Mo., and is in what is known as the Lead Belt, located one mile southwest of Flat River, Mo. The river known as Flat River ran though the east side of the town from the southwest to the northeast. The business section of the town at one time was all on the east side of the river and was then known as "Setz."

In the pioneer days of Flat River, the Mississippi River & Bonne Terre Railroad only extended as far south as Bonne Terre, Missouri. The mail was then carried in a horse drawn hack from Bonne Terre to Setz and the people of Flat River section went to Setz for their mail.

The property west of the river and southwest Main St. was owned by Jessie Mahagan Elvins and Zelma Elvins, his wife. The property of the west side of the river and northeast of Main St. was later owned by the Doe Run Lead Company. Mr. Elvins had his land surveyed in 1881. There were only a few streets designed in the survey but in 1897 the land was owned by the Elvins Land and Lead Company who had the land surveyed and laid off into twenty blocks. Mr. Elvins formerly owned Elvinsville, suburb of Bonne Terre, Mo.

Two railroads run through the town, one formerly known as the Mississippi River & Bonne Terre Railroad on the west side of the river and the other is the Illinois Southern on the east side of the river. Later both roads were known as the Missouri-Illinois, and now in 1964 as the Missouri-Pacific.

Mr. Raymond Tlapek, merchant, came to Elvins in 1907 from St. Mary's, Mo. He worked for the Hauge Butcher Shop and April 12 he purchased the shop located at 114 Short St. He was one time the oldest merchant in St. Francois County. He is now deceased.

The Miller Hotel building is located on the west side of East Main St. at 218. The building was a two-story brick, built in the year 1904 and was destroyed by fire in 190[?] and was rebuilt a two story brick in the same year. It was owned by William (Bill) Miller. The building was sold to Mrs. Don Cameron in 1949.

The Carr building known as the Silsby building was built in 1901 by Frank White who made the brick near the old pump station of the Doe Run Lead Co. on the river of Flat River between Elvins and Rivermines over near the Richnie house.

A newspaper known as the Labor Herald was published in Elvins was the Lead Field Publishing Company. In March, 1910 it was reorganized and the name changed to Mining Herald. It was owned one time by Cameron and Raines. It was located to the rear of East Main St. facing the railroad next to the then known Hotel De Smith.

The Knights of Pythias Lodge known as the Elvins Lodge No. 346 was organized Sept. 10, 1900 by John H. Holmes, assisted by the Mineral Lodge No. 96, Bonne Terre, Mo.

The Modern Woodmen of America Camp Lodge No. 7156 was organized Nov. 2, 1899, and in 1927 had a membership of 67.

The Elvins Hardware Store at 114 Short St. in the Elkhart building was started by M. Evans from Kicmundy[?], Ill., in a new building in 1924. Mr. Evans died in 1933 and his wife, Emma, is now the proprietor. The store is now the oldest business in Elvins without a break. The store has approximately 1200 sq. feet of floor space and has a good stock of furniture.

Harry A. Miller, formerly a merchant in Elvins, was born in Tennessee in 1886. He was 13 years old when his parents moved to Elvins, and 21 when he became a partner with his father in the store at 301 East Main St. He also had an interest in a store with his brother at Leadwood, Mo., then known as Owl Creek.

Of Elvins school there seems to be no early history available. There was a two story frame building known as the Red Top School House. The insurance map of 1908 gives one West Main St., Block 4, Lot 3. The north ward school building was built by the Flat River school about 1896[?] and was given to the Elvins school in 1912. The building was located between the Methodist Church and the Hampton Cemetery and was torn down in August, 1946. The school grade buildings were North Ward, Federal Ward, Pleasant Ward and Loughboro, which joined in 1926. The wards have all been discontinued and the children are now transferred to the Central School. The Central building was constructed in 1913 and the High School building in 1921, and in 1924 six additions were built on. The school's first high school graduation was in 1918, when the class consisted of three. Mr. Hollman was superintendent in 1927. The school has six acres of ground.

The dentists that have been in Elvins: Dr. H. S. Rollins, Dr. Chrissy and Dr. Cain. Hotel De Smith was located at the rear of 206 East Main, facing the Mississippi River & Bonne Terre Railroad. Part of the building was two story and part three story, built prior to 1908.

Mr. Carr Hartshorn came to Elvins in July, 1899. He worked for J. E. Westover in the grocery store and at the same time was assistant postmaster, as the post office was in the store. Later he was employed in the Evans and Howell Store. January, 1908, he was appointed postmaster. In 1911 he became cashier of the Bank of Elvins and in addition carried on an insurance business. Mr. Hartshorn married Mary Bell Dunklin of Flat River, Mo. Mrs. Hartshorn's father was Representative in the Missouri Assembly from St. Francois County in 1903 and was the father of the garnishee law.

The Security Bank was organized about 1913[?] and was located in the I. W. Miller building known as the Evans-Howell building. Mr. Bryan Cozean was cashier of the Bank of Elvins. Officers were: I. W. Miller, Carr Hartshorn, Lee Laird and Jim Horn.

The Elkart building is owned by the Elkart Real Estate Company and is located on Short St. from 108 to 114 on the northwest side. The stockholders are: E. J. Francis, Henry A. Hulsey, R. J. Woods and Essie Gray.


Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Wed. May 5, 1965.

[NOTE: Parts of this newspaper article were difficult to read.]