It’s my first day back following a back injury & a flu bug. Yay! How about some local history….
In the mid-1800s, when the Wildwood area was still just an isolated rural community of farmers and pioneers, two local businessmen teamed with Grand Duke Alexei of Russia and decided to open a winery. The duke, who was in the US as a goodwill ambassador, had 233 heirloom Russian grape vines specially imported for the project. He also pitched in to buy $15,000 worth of fruit trees, filling the hillsides of a tiny town called Melrose with a bounty of apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches and apricots.
This “Park of Fruits,” as he and his partners envisioned it, would become a country destination for St. Louisans, who were already flocking to the nearby Castlewood area for recreation. But alas, the winery was short-lived, and all that remains of Melrose’s once promising future is the original rock-walled wine cellar. That, and the former general store up the road…
Built around 1855 as a one-story log structure and later expanded with a Greek Revival facade, the Kreienkamp Store (as it came to be known) served a vital role in this far western corner of St. Louis County at the time. Beyond just a source for food and dry goods, it was also a post office, a stagecoach shop, a ballroom and a fraternal meeting hall. Truly, the heart of old Melrose.
The store continued to be operated by the Kreinenkamp family until 1978, when it became a private residence. These days, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a classic example of a 19th-century country mercantile.
The old wine cellar is still just a fourth-mile away, but Melrose is now known as Glencoe, and this unique property now boasts one totally awesome pool house. Surrounded by 4.94 lush acres (where some of those Russian grapes might still be hiding), it would make one incredible bed & breakfast. Or just soak up all this neat local history and keep it for yourself…
Listing courtesy of Monica Barrow, Route 66 Realtors, (636) 271-6600. More photos and info available here.
If you’d like a buyer’s agent to show you this one-of-a-kind historic property, I’d be happy to help!