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The Wildwood Historical Society
P.O. Box 125
Wildwood, Missouri 63040

Board of Trustees

Lynne Martin - President
Tom Kelpe - Vice-President
Mary Wyatt - Treasurer
Joyce Mercer - Secretary
Ruby Downs
Helen Gaehle
Rusty Pendleton
Ervin Schaedler

Society Archivist
Steve Wyatt
For more information contact Lynne Martin, Society President, at 636-458-3306.

Download a PDF form to apply for the Wildwood Historical Society

The Wildwood Historical Society was founded in 1999 to continue the work of the Wildwood Historical Preservation Committee. The Society meets at 7:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Bethel United Methodist Church, 17500 Manchester Road, Wildwood, Missouri.

The Society's Mission Statement

The purpose of the Wildwood Historical Society is to discover, memorialize and disseminate the prehistory and history of the City of Wildwood, Missouri by: (1) searching for and procuring written or photographic documentation (including but not limited to personal writings or photographs, newspaper articles, blueprints, maps, journals, cemetery records, and genealogical records), artifacts, relics, memorabilia, and/or other similar documents, items, or objects relating to the prehistory and history of Wildwood; (2) preserving, displaying, and making available to the public these documents, items and objects by placing them in a museum/library/research center and in exhibits strategically located throughout Wildwood; (3) identifying and helping to maintain and preserve historic and prehistoric homes, buildings an/or other significant structures and/or sites; (4) maintaining an active outreach and education program for Society members and the general public; and , (5) accepting donations of money, real property and/or other property as appropriate to accomplish the above.

A Brief History of Wildwood

The area comprising the City of Wildwood has an interesting and diverse history spanning more than two centuries. When the first white settlers arrived around 1800, the land was still a vast wilderness governed by the Spanish - only game paths and trappers' trails penetrated the dense forest. After the territory became part of the United States, early pioneers established a trading post near today's LaSalle Springs Middle School to accommodate the increasing number of adventurers who began pouring into the area intent on exploring and exploiting its abundant natural resources.

In the ensuring years, farmers, lumbermen, quarrymen, and even real estate entrepreneurs radiating west from the fledgling riverfront town of St. Louis made their way into the region, all inexorably and indelibly modifying the landscape. As the population grew, scattered small villages sprang up, one tied to the other by wagon roads, familial bonds, and everlasting friendships.

Construction of a state highway passing through Wildwood in 1835 connecting St. Louis to Jefferson City, and the 1851 extension of the railroad into the area made a huge impact on these tiny frontier outposts, reconnecting them to the urban lifestyle their residents had fled. Over time, simple stagecoach stops and train depots evolved into business districts, many complete with post office, school, blacksmith shop, store, and the ever popular tavern.

For better or worse, these towns and hamlets eventually became engulfed by the sprawl of suburbia and, ultimately, by incorporation into a single entity - the City of Wildwood. But traces of those early communities and the people who made them successful can still be found amidst the clutter of contemporary society. In an effort to preserve the stories such traces and people have to tell, the Wildwood Historical Society was founded in 1999 by a group of energetic Wildwood residents, many of whom are direct descendents of those earliest immigrants who came here long ago to begin life anew.

• The first Americans to settle in Wildwood migrated here along the region's many rivers more than 10,000 years ago.

• Ninian Hamilton settled on a Spanish land grant in the Glencoe area in 1803. Some of his original land became Rockwoods Reservation (ca. 1938) and some of it became LaSalle Institute (ca. 1872).

• The first post office in Wildwood (ca. 1827) was at the corner of Bouquet Road and Old Manchester Road near the Franklin County Line.

• Old Manchester Road, from near the existing Glencoe post office east to Highway 100, served as part of the original Route 66 (ca. 1926 - 1932).

• In 1995 the City of Wildwood incorporated parts of St. Louis County including the small towns of Centaur, Fox Creek, Pond, Glencoe, Melrose, Kelpe, Grover, Orrville, and Hollow.

• Wildwood City Hall in Grover was formerly Fick's (and later, Funk's) General Store (ca. 1880)

You can help the Wildwood Historical Society fulfil its mission in serveral ways:

• Provide pictures, oral statements, or other information pertaining to Wildwood's history (We will computer-scan pictures and documents you do not wish to give away, and tape-record or video-record oral histories).

• Donate objects, memorabilia, or artifacts pertaining to Wildwood's history or prehistory.

• Donate cash or other valuables to help fund our ongoing efforts.

• Become a Society member to support our cause with your own expertise and knowledge.

Remember, all gifts and cash donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.