Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lucianna Gladney Ross and Kimmswick, Missouri

Well, I just love delightful discoveries like this. Last week, I was enjoying my first day of self employment, with both the freedom to work on this site and my other business wherever the road took me. I ended up in Kimmswick, which is not far from my house. The southern reaches of the St Louis Metro area are often neglected by us city and mid-county dwellers, and I wanted to familiarize myself with this historic village turned boutique shopping district that is just 17 miles from my house.

As I wandered around the town, I saw this tiny cemetery up on a hill. I love tiny cemeteries because they show that no matter what "progress" brings, people cared enough to protect this burial ground that was probably once a family plot. In this case, it is the final resting place of Wilhemine Kimm and Ernest Kimm, wife and son of Theodore Kimm, the founder of Kimmswick. There is a marker for Theodore as well, which notes that he is buried in Switzerland.

Near this little plot is a sign that says Lucianna Gladney Ross Park. I snapped a picture to remind myself to look her up when I got home.

Turns out, Mrs Ross was a celebrated philanthropist and preservationist, and was known as the "Guardian Angel of Kimmswick". Back in the day, when Kimmswick was struggling, she bought up many of these cottages that are now the shopping district and some private homes, renovated them, and then rented them out to business owners and residents. Later, she sold the buildings to those same residents and business owners. The Blue Owl restaurant and bakery is one of those renovated buildings.

Mrs Ross was also given some log buildings during this time, and they were moved to Kimmswick and renovated, too. She did many amazing things in her lifetime and was an important figure in St Louis as well, and I was sad to learn that she died just two years ago at the age of 96. I was glad that this chance visit to a tiny town gave me the opportunity to learn about her work. You can read more about her in the St Louis Beacon's very touching obituary.

I stopped by the Visitor's Center and also learned about some other museums in the area, so look for more posts about Kimmswick in the future! If you are in the St Louis area, please think of Kimmswick when you are looking for great gifts, art, and home decor. It's only about 20 minutes from South St Louis on 1-55. Follow Craves, Caves, and Graves on Facebook to be alerted to special events in and around the area!


  1. I love going to Kimmswick -- and the Dough Depot has some of the best pretzel buns you'll ever have! The Blue Owl may win out on desserts, but the Dough Depots food is delish!

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