Mini-Flood 41: Carondelet Historical Society


photograph by Ann Aurbach

Founded in 1967, to research and preserve the rich history of the neighborhood (and former city) of Carondelet, the Carondelet Historical Society is located in the Des Peres School building. This School is famous for being the first continuous Kindergarten in the country. For two hours, PFSTL was lucky to receive a behind the scenes look into how this organization operates and their collection.


photograph by Jason Gray


photograph by Diane Cannon Piwowarczyk


photograph by Jackie Johnson


photograph by Joe Rakers


photograph by Sue Rakers


photograph by Susan Price

A few short years after the city of Carondelet was annexed by the city of St. Louis, construction began on the Des Peres School, which would become the site of the first publicly funded, continuous kindergarten in the United States. The program was founded by Susan Blow, and her presence is still prominent in the building where she taught, more than 140 years later. However, Ms. Blow is merely one of the best known stories of those whose histories are waiting to be uncovered by any typical visitor to the Carondelet Historical Society. The CHS came about in 1967, as the resolution of a dedicated group of citizens interested in preserving the legacy of the former village known as “Vide Poche”. Since then, the organization has grown to possess several important historical book collections and genealogical records bequeathed to the excellent Frederick W. Bouchein Library (worthy of visiting all on its own), a mini-museum on riverboat history, a full-size tableau of Susan Blow’s classroom, a “Wall of Honor” (gallery of more than 1,200 photographs of military veterans from the area), installations ranging from a general store to the history of Cleveland High School, a meeting space for multimedia presentations, and much more. In 1981-82, they even spearheaded a campaign to purchase and to place their building on the National Register of Historic Places. It is certainly unmistakable that history reigns supreme here, and there is a lot of it to absorb!


photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St.Louis


photograph by Sue Rakers


photograph by Jason Gray

No matter your interest or involvement with history, you will enjoy a trip here. There is so much to experience at CHS that the twenty images in this post only begin to scratch the surface on the treasure trove that exists. Interested in the local art scene? They have something for you. Like trains? There is a display for you. Budding photographer? Aside from the myriad subjects to depict (photography is permitted), they have cameras, film and other photographic ephemera for to you investigate. Grow up in St. Louis? This is your resource for a stroll down memory lane. On our visit, both Board members and volunteers were onsite to answer any questions, which is something you don’t see many places. In St. Louis, we have many excellent no cost options for individuals or families to enjoy, and CHS is a new favorite for those members of PFSTL that visited.


photograph by Diane Cannon Piwowarczyk


photograph by Michelle Bates


photograph by Allen Casey


photograph by Jackie Johnson


photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

The Carondelet Historical Society is a registered non-profit that receives most of its funding through private membership, though donations from visitors are much appreciated. The Museum has no full-time employees and operates fully on the work of dedicated volunteers. Membership is affordable to all and easy to obtain. For joining, you will receive the periodically distributed, CHS Bulletin, as well as advanced noticed of events and activities. Most important however, is that you will know the satisfaction of helping to sustain the important preservation mission of the Carondelet Historical Society, a rich cultural resource for the city of St. Louis.


photograph by Isaac Richardson


photograph by Sue Rakers


photograph by Michelle Bates


photograph by Diane Cannon Piwowarczyk


photograph by Donna Burch


1 Comment
  1. Diane Cannon Piwowarczyk 8 years ago

    What a wonderful place to explore, makes me want to visit more neighborhood historical museums.

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