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1 In the Beginning 11
2 Many Firsts 17
3 Life on the River 25
4 Churches and Schools 37
5 Defending Town and Country 51
6 Business as Usual 61
7 Life and Times in St. Charles 77
8 Disaster Strikes 97
9 Main Street, U.S.A. 113
10 St. Charles Today 123
About St. Charles County Historical Society 127
Posted November 9, 2014
In St. Charles: Les Petites Cotes, Dianna and Don Graveman have captured, in photos and in narrative, the history and spirit of St. Charles, Missouri, once known as Les Petites Cotes (The Little Hills). I’ve known co-author Dianna Graveman for many years and was excited when I first heard she and her husband were writing this book. And I was thrilled when my generous friend made sure I received a copy.
St. Charles is the Missouri River town where Meriwether Lewis and William Clark rendezvoused in 1804 before embarking on their journey of discovery as part of the Louisiana Purchase’s westward expansion. As a native Missourian and St. Charles County resident interested in local history, I thought I knew a lot about this area. But after reading the Gravemans’ book, I learned fascinating details about the past and present of a region that played a vital role in America’s westward expansion.
Thoughtfully organized with photos and captions, the book tells the story of St. Charles as it has changed over the centuries. Several memorable photos show a simpler time on Main Street, life on the river, and landmark churches and schools. Other powerful and striking images depict the first lawful hanging in St. Charles and train and bridge accidents and tornado damage that altered the fabric of the city.
St. Charles: Les Petites Cotes has a prominent spot on my bookshelf. Rich in detail, full of surprises, and pleasing to the eye, this book reveals an unvarnished image of one of America’s historic cities.