Lake Junction to Creve Coeur Lake

The Creve Coeur Branch

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Point of Interest

(Forwarded from the Laclede & Creve Coeur Railroad)

The Laclede and Creve Coeur Railroad was chartered to build a line from Saint Louis proper to Creve Coeur Lake, in order to serve various ice houses along the lake; the line also ferried passengers to an amusement park located on the eastern shore of the lake. The line was completed in 1881.

Over the years, as traffic levels declined and the area alongside the right-of-way further developed, the line was cut back in stages: first to Chapman in the 1920s, and then to Litzinger Road when I-270 was built (which would have severed the line if not cut back).

Final abandonment of the line came in the 1960s when it was under ownership of the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

Stations and points along the line, from east to west:

  • Lake Junction
  • Brentwood
  • Rock Hill
  • Litzinger Road
  • Dwyer
  • Chaminade
  • Malcolm
  • Ballas Road
  • Chapman
  • Benbush
  • Creve Coeur

The spelling "Couer" is incorrect. It should be Coeur. This is a very common error, I make it a few times a year also. Thanks for the great website!

Albert Stix
St. Louis, MO
5/25/2011

[Thanks Albert, I've corrected the misspellings.  —Greg Harrison]

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The map is great, thanks! A couple of interesting tidbits - in the late 1950s when I-64 was widened, MODOT paid millions to relocate the trackage to eliminate the at-grade crossing with the highway. This required about a mile of new track, which ran south of I-64, and then utilized the underpass at Clayton Rd. to reach the new right-of-way. The late Travis Burgess told me the MP only used this segment for a few years, as I-270 construction spelled the end. However, the track was retained as far as Litzinger Rd. into the mid-80s so the MP could serve McCarthy Construction's large quarry, which was/is located between McKnight and Litzinger. Around 1987, the branch was cut back to its current terminus at Manchester Rd.

Scott Nauert
St. Louis, MO
11/15/2011

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I grew-up in Frontenac on Conway Road in the 60s and 70s and I have fond memories walking and exploring along the railroad right of way, which still exists in many sections. Can you pinpoint on the map where exactly the stations were located? Thank you.

Frank F Kling
Woodstock, IL
8/18/2013

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A couple of comments.

First, the abandonment west of Litzinger Road station probably occurred more from loss of business than the construction of I-270. It appears that a major source of traffic after WWII was the large quarry (now a lake) southeast of the intersection of Ladue and Ballas Roads (east of I-270). With that gone, there wasn't reason to keep the rails west of the quarry off of McKnight Road.

Second, the line was cut back from Litzinger to Rock Hill at some point. There were several customers in a yard north of Manchester Road. It's gone (although traces remain). The tracks now end on the south side of Manchester, where a large lumber distributor is served once a week or so.

And, unfortunately, I have not been able to pinpoint all of the station locations. "Brentwood" was presumably near the street of that name. "Rock Hill" ditto. "Litzinger Road", again, probably near where that road intersects the rails: the roadbed is visible there. But that area is subject to flooding, and the spot might no longer exist. "Dwyer" was at the intersection of the railroad and Clayton Road; there's a Dwyer Place there. "Chaminade" was presumably on what is now German Blvd, off of Lindbergh Blvd. "Malcolm"? Who knows? and "Ballas Road" was presumably where it crossed the railroad. "Creve Coeur" was at the north end of Creve Coeur Lake. But "Chapman" and "Benbush, unknown.

There is a mere trace of the big loop that resulted from the relocation to accommodate Highway 40 construction behind the new bank building on Clayton Road; the original right-of-way is clearly visible (partly due to the high-voltage transmission line that runs along it).

Agreed: a very useful website.

Thanks.

Jim Wilson

James D Wilson
Ladue (Saint Louis), MO
10/17/2013

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To answer Jim Wilson's question, "Malcolm" refers to the stop in what was the old Malcolm Terrace neighborhood, now mostly Creve Coeur's Malcolm Terrace Park, southwest of Ladue and Mosley roads. The old railroad grade is very visible in the park; it's the base for the volleyball court.

Bob Beebe
St. Louis, MO
12/19/2013

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Polite correction to Scott - in 1937 U.S. 40 was built and it crossed this line "at grade" in Ladue. In 1960, that year exactly, they re-routed the rail line to the tune of about a million dollars to run it under the clayton/warson overpass of U.S. 40 ( it wasn't called I-64 until it was brought up to "interstate" standards much later ). I think it's great that Scott knew about the "re-routing" that cost a million dollars and then the line was discontinued in 1966 when they built "244" , which is the original name of "270"

kirk wood
kirkwood, MO
4/1/2014

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I have the track map. I received it from the Missouri Pacific building downtown when they were converting to Union Pacific and moving the offices to Omaha. Chapman is the station located at Olive Street Road where present day Barnes West Hospital is located. The history of St. Louis County ( book )

identifies the locations of the branches in Creve Coeur.

I quote from the book: page 255 : Emerson Station on the Creve Couer Branch is sixteen and 3/4 miles from Union Station, named after Mr. Emerson who gave the right of way for the railroad. Chapman is convenient to the families of the western part of Creve Couer ". Note: Chapman was where Barnes West is now located on Olive Street Road.

kirk wood
kirkwood , MO
4/1/2014

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very good info. thank you.

do you know the name of that quarry that is now a lake?

any photos of this lost line?

thank you

steve muckerman
st.louis, MO
6/1/2014

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Hydraulic Press Brick Company owned the quarry.

kirk wood
Kirkwood, MO
6/1/2014

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Hydraulic Press Brick Company was formed as a corporation in Missouri on 7-28-1890 according to the State of Missouri Secretary of State "Search for a business" tab on their website. I've seen the original plans for when they built

Ballas Road as a "Lettered Road" ( Lettered Roads in Missouri were created by an issue passed in 1929 to build a series of "Farm to Market roads" in individual counties )in about 1930. At the intersection of Ladue Road and Ballas Road the maps shows the quarry and it says "Hydraulic Press Brick Company" as the land owner of the property. The Quarry seems to actually infringe originally on the right of way ( south side ) of Ladue Road, and you can see the railroad right of way/track on the map as well.

kirk wood
Kirkwood, MO
6/1/2014

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I seem to recall that when I-244 was built, there were bridges constructed over the abandoned right-of-way. It always intrigued me that there was a bridge over "nothing" between Ladue and Olive. The bridges were removed and the cut filled during one of the many expansions of 244/270 over the years.

Barry Jarrett
Rock Hill, MO
10/8/2014

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Nope. I am mistaken. The bridges over nothing were further north. The Creve Coeur Branch alignment was too close to Olive St Road to have had bridges there.

www.historicaerials.com is a good source of georeferenced topos and aerial photos, with a nice 'compare' feature.

Barry Jarrett
Rock Hill, MO
10/8/2014

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As a 12 year old, I rode mini bikes (a Fox and a Benelli) in 1967 from 2 Glocca Mora Lane off Conway Road where my mom lived, to Lindworth Drive where my dad lived, utilizing the railroad bed. I went through Conway School to Warson Terrace to the rail bed between Foxboro and Warson Terrace, followed the bed all the way to Litzinger, got off and took Daniel Road to Deerfield where a small trail ran to 16 Lindworth Drive. No police, no cars. Safe transit. I loved that railbed. Rode it for years.

Mike Fingerhut
Ladue, MO
12/23/2014

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Mike I grew up on Lindworth Lane and graduated from Ladue 62 That track had trains then and I could get on at Litzinger and ride to highschool. The first engines were steam powered and when they switched to diesel we had to run faster and got lifted right off the ground when getting hokd of a hand rail. Quite a surprise and we found different place to catch our "ride"

Gordon Cox
Ballwin, MO
4/12/2016

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Vivid memories! From 1957 to 1962 I walked to school (Ladue High, Horton Watkins) on the tracks from Waverton Dr. Often stoping at fire house on Clayton road to visit friend's dad, a fireman. Later he was Chief. Walked the other direction to Linworth Lane to play with Gordon! As kids we would ask engineer to throw us a fuse. Sometimes they would. Great fun! No, not 6 yrs to fini HS. In 57 we had 7th grade through 12. We were first to attend the new school.

Dan Hatchery
Auburn, AL
4/18/2016

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Hello. I am researching the quarry/lake at the southeast corner of Ballas and Ladue. I know the quarry turned to lake around 1968 roughly. The first house built in 1969. I want to find information about the quarry turning to lake and possibly if there is a name the the lake. Maps are great too. Thanks!! Lynn

lynn fussner
kirkwood, MO
7/29/2016

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Lynn,

Old topos can be found at USGS website. Old topos and aerials can be found at www.historicaerials.com

1958 aerial shows water in the northwest portion of the quarry; 1971 aerial shows full lake.

No indication of lake name, however the area was known as "Malcolm" on older topos, so "Malcolm Lake" might be appropriate.

Say "Hi" to Chuck.

Barry
Rock Hill, MO
7/29/2016

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Thanks Barry for the comments. I found several topo maps and old maps of the city. No map shows any name. I found out the line was abandoned in 1964. This has now become a puzzle for me. I want to find info on when the quarry was abandoned and the decision made to create lake.

Thanks,

Lynn

lynn fussner
kirkwood, MO
7/29/2016

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Wouldn't it make sense to assume that the quarry filled with water from rainfall/groundwater once it was no longer being maintained? Holes like this tend to fill with water, in this climate.

Jim Wilson
Ladue, MO
7/29/2016

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I'm sure it would. But at some point some one decided to make a lake. I want to know when/why/how etc.

Lynn

Lynn
Kirkwood, MO
7/29/2016

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I have acquired a copy of an old streetcar map, dated 1920. If you give me your email I can pass along the relevant pictures which I believe will assist you in nailing down the station locations

MARK LOEHRER
KIRKWOOD, MO
9/5/2016

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