St. Charles, Missouri: Les Petites Cotes
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St. Charles, Missouri: Les Petites Cotes

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by Dianna Graveman, Don Graveman
     
 


In 1769, French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette built a cabin on the Missouri River in what is today St. Charles. He called the settlement Les Petites Cotes, or the little hills. Other now famous explorers soon passed this way, including Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who began their expedition here in 1804 to explore the Louisiana Purchase territory.…  See more details below

Overview


In 1769, French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette built a cabin on the Missouri River in what is today St. Charles. He called the settlement Les Petites Cotes, or the little hills. Other now famous explorers soon passed this way, including Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who began their expedition here in 1804 to explore the Louisiana Purchase territory. Daniel Boone forged a path through St. Charles along the Boone's Lick Trail, which later joined the Santa Fe Trail and then the Oregon Trail. Today St. Charles hosts many annual events to celebrate its rich history and transport visitors to the past. However, the site of Missouri's first state capitol has not survived without tragedy and an occasional natural disaster, including a cholera epidemic, tornadoes, floods, and a couple of disastrous railroad bridge accidents.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: Book brings couple closer together

Author: Kalen Ponche

Publisher: Suburban Journals

Date: 3/17/09

Dianna and Don Gravemen spent the evening of their 25th wedding anniversary on separate floors of their house, working furiously to edit the book they were putting together.

The couple, who reside in St. Charles, meant to celebrate their anniversary later with a picnic by the river. Six months later, with the book coming out for release, they still haven't had the time.

The Gravemans spent last summer working on a new book about St. Charles that will be released March 23. "St. Charles: Les Petites Cotes," now part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series, chronicles through photographs the growth of the city from the 1850s to today.

The project was a natural fit for the couple. Dianna works in the publishing industry; Don has long been interested in history.

They spent a busy summer juggling the book project with Don's business trips and a family vacation to Florida. But at the end of it all, they say working on it brought them closer together.

When Dianna came across the "Images of America" series she was surprised to learn it didn't include a book about St. Charles. She sent a query to the publishing company and soon was working on a proposal for the project with her husband.

"I was interested in having a book credit, but the more I got to think about it, I thought what a knowledgeable resource I have in my spouse," she said.

The pair gathered most of the photos with help from Bill Popp, archivist for the St. Charles County Historical Society. Popp pulled out photos on file in the society's archives, and they sorted and selected the best. The Gravemans did much of the photo scanning themselves, logging long hours on Saturdays at the historical society.

Included in the book are photos from the Gravemans' collection and pictures from both of their families. Dianna's grandmother, Virginia Musterman Tschudin, was among the first antique dealers on Main Street. Dianna said that in compiling some information for the book she was able to meet some of her grandmother's friends that she didn't know existed.

Photos of Don's family, which has been in the area for four generations, are also in the book.

Dianna said that by writing the book with Don, she realized that after 25 years of marriage you can still learn new things about your spouse.

"It was interesting to discover we don't think the same when it comes to organization and laying things out," she said. "We developed an insight to how the other thinks."

They realized Dianna was a little better at the editing and organization, while Don should take the lead on the historical information. Above all, they said, they learned the importance of flexibility.

"Mutual interest helps strengthen the bond," Don said.

Dianna said she thought writing the book made them look at their city a little differently.

"When we take walks by the river we think about it in terms of the people who have come in the past and come before us," she said.

The pair are already working on their next book for the "Images of America" series. The focus is still under development, but Dianna said it probably would be about Missouri's wine country. In this process, they probably will work with five or six groups to collect information and photographs.

"Images of America: St. Charles Les Petites Cotes."

Meet authors Dianna and Don Graveman

1-3 p.m. March 28, Main Street Books, 307 S. Main St., St. Charles

1-3 p.m. April 4, Barnes & Noble, 320 Mid Rivers Center Drive, St. Peters

The book retails for $21.99 and will available for purchase beginning March 23.

Title: St. Charles: Les Petites Cotes

Author: Rebecca French Smith

Publisher: Missouri Life

The history of the St. Charles area, originally named Les Petites COtes, or the little hills, comes to life in this rich collection of historical images from the area. An installment in the Images of America series, celebrating neighborhoods, towns, and cities, the book puts faces and locations with well known people and events that shaped the heritage of St. Charles. Readers are introduced to Doc Carr, one of the city's early colorful characters, and Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne, who founded the first school of the Society of the Sacred Heart, as well as early sports teams and everyone in between who made the City what it is today. It's a great walk back in time down the historic streets of St. Charles.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738561059
Publisher:
Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
03/28/2009
Series:
Images of America Series
Pages:
127
Sales rank:
733,980
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author


Don Graveman, a fourth-generation St. Charlesan, holds a degree in economics from the University of Missouri and is an avid historian and photographer. Dianna Graveman, an editor and award-winning writer, holds degrees from both the University of Missouri and Lindenwood University. Together they gathered their favorite images from the St. Charles County Historical Society's archives and other sources to illustrate the colorful history of their hometown.

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