Fenton has a rich and interesting history. Did you know...
was built on an old Indian burial ground. In 1998, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that developer Gary Grewe clashed with archaeologist Joe Harl over the possibility of Native American remains in the area that was to become Gravois Bluffs. Harl was hired by Fenton residents to confirm the existence of Indian mounds on the property—similar to those found at the Cahokia Mounds site in Illinois. Harl said the fact the old Fenton has a Mound Street should set off a red flag. The said that any remains found would have been given to a Native American tribe to bury. This webpage documents the dig, as conducted by students from the St. Louis Community College.
is a protected archaeological site. It would seem ancient people lived all over Fenton. If you take a stroll around Fenton City Park you’ll find an open meadow on the west side of the park with a marker labeled “Who Played Here First?” The marker states the field is protected by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
There are two “oldest houses” in Fenton. According to the Fenton Historical Society, the oldest house in the original eight blocks of Old Fenton is at the corner of Main and Ferry. But an even older log home is owned by Virgil and Margaret Chott, on their farm next to Gravois Bluffs. The Chott’s century old cabin would have been outside of town when Fenton was founded, but is within the city limits now.
building used to sell lumber. The grand old building covered in vines looks like it might have been a Bavarian mansion, but the Fenton Historical Society said it was first used as a lumber company.
The oldest church in town moved three times. The is the oldest congregation in town, having started in a log cabin in 1839. In 1860 they built the first “proper” church in old Fenton, and outgrew that building again by the 1950s. They built their current church 1958. The old church at Main and Ware Street is now the .
The oldest business in town is the . The owner believes the building dates back to 1893, but that the business is even older. Records show the current mill was a replacement for an even older mill that was destroyed by a fire.
Fenton is building its fourth bridge over the Meramec River. The at Old Gravois Road replaces a bridge built in 1925, which replaced an even older iron bridge built in 1854. The 1925 bridge was made obsolete by the 1968 Highway 30 bridge. The rock abutment for the first iron bridge is still visible at the end of Mound Street.
A bar served as city hall. According to the Fenton Historical Society, the aldermen had their meetings in the Navajo Hotel bar, back before they had a city hall. The Navajo is now .
Fenton, like a lot of older women, lies about her age. The town was founded in 1818 by William Long, but he didn’t file the paper work until 1837. This year the city will be celebrating its 175 Anniversary, but it’s really 194.
Patch would like to thank George Luebbers at the Fenton Historical Society for all the juicy tidbits about Fenton.