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|Kimmswick carves out unique niche in history|
Mississippi River town is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
- Robert Kelly
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
- September 12, 2007
- Section: Metro
- Edition: Third Edition
- Page C5
idea proposed almost 20 years ago has come to fruition with the
inclusion of a historic district on the National Register of Historic
Members of the Kimmswick
Historical Society and other residents and business people are
celebrating the new listing of nearly seven blocks of the oldest part
of the quaint town in the newest edition of the National Register.
means that 44 buildings in the district have national historic
significance and also that owners of those buildings may qualify for
tax credits to renovate and maintain their property in a condition as
close as possible to what it was when the buildings were constructed.
It's also a big selling point for tourism, said Glee Naes, treasurer of the Kimmswick Historical Society.
"This is an exciting day for Kimmswick," Naes said Tuesday before a brief ceremony to recognize the listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
the Historical Society won a state grant almost 20 years ago to apply
for a listing on the National Register. But some residents and
shopkeepers were concerned at the time that being on the register could
hamper their ability to make changes to their property.
expired without being used, so the Historical Society started saving
revenue from its regular sales of apple butter to try to apply again
for the National Register, Naes said. That opportunity came in the
spring of 2006, when the society had a contract with historic
preservation consultant Becky Snider of Columbia, Mo., for $10,200 to
prepare an application for Kimmswick to be included in the National Register.
Snider's 50-page report on Kimmswick was approved this summer by the National Park Service, which maintains the National Register.
Snider says she evaluated all buildings at least 50 years old in Kimmswick
for historic significance. The historic district now included in the
National Register is bounded roughly by Front, Fourth, Mill and Oak
"It's really the commercial area of Kimmswick," Snider said Tuesday. "Hopefully, this will encourage more heritage tourism to Kimmswick."
She was in town to help celebrate the listing in the National Register.
Most of the restored old Kimmswick
homes and businesses date to the late 1800s and early 1900s. About 30
of the old buildings have been converted to gift and specialty shops,
catering to thousands of tourists annually.
The town on
the Mississippi River was founded by Theodore Kimm in the mid-19th
century. He was a successful St. Louis dry goods merchant when he moved
to Jefferson County in 1850 and bought the tract of land that became Kimmswick. He also bought some nearby land that extended west to what is now U.S. 61-67.
Years later, Kimmswick
fell into disrepair. But it was revived in the 1970s and 1980s after
Lucianna Gladney Ross bought several of the old buildings and leased
them to shopkeepers while helping them redevelop the property. Ross'
family operated the Seven-Up Co. for many years.
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