The Historic Community of Monarch
Monarch Station was a whistle-stop railway depot on the Rock Island Railroad (originally known as the Saint Louis, Kansas City and Colorado Railroad when established in 1886-87). The settlement of Monarch (earlier called Atherton, then Eatherton) straddled what is now present-day Wildwood and Chesterfield near Wild Horse Creek, Eatherton, and Centaur Roads. The application to become a postal town stated that it would serve about twenty families in the surrounding area. A post office was opened in Monarch in 1895 and was active until 1907. William Sutton served as Monarch’s only postmaster. The Sutton family lived on the top floor of the grocery store and remained there after the store closed.
For several years, there was a restaurant/tavern at the bottom of the hill to the east of the current railroad crossing. It was called LaBreese (or similar). It was known for its chicken and steak dinners. People came from St. Louis by train on the weekends, and there were some guest cabins on the property.
The Picker and Beardsley Grain Elevator also operated from within the town. Erich Picker, of St. Louis, purchased just over eight acres of wooded land atop a bluff which overlooked the Gumbo Bottoms in 1915 from Caroline Bayer. She and John Bayer had purchased 42 acres along the bluff around 1900, in addition to 150 acres of bottomland below.
Picker died in 1918. His wife, Louise, sold the house and property at 133 Eatherton Road South, today known as “The Shadows”, in 1921 to Virginia Hall Harsh. A single woman from St. Louis, Harsh may have used the house as a Catholic Girls retreat. It could be reached from St. Louis by train which stopped at Monarch Station located at the foot of the bluff. The Shadows House still exists and the driveway is just north of the entrance into Lions Head Subdivision.
The original Antioch Baptist Church was located atop Monarch Hill about ¾ miles west of Eatherton Road along Wild Horse Creek Road. When the newer Antioch Baptist Church was completed about 1¼ miles to the east along Wild Horse Creek Road, the old church was deeded to recently freed slaves in the 1870s and Mt. Pleasant Colored Baptist Church was established. An African American settlement existed in the area of the church until the early 1900s. An area known as “Taylor Estates” existed nearby the African American church. Remnants of the church and adjacent cemetery exist as a historical site to this day.
Longtime residents say it is not clearly defined when the community of Monarch died out. However, it was 1941 before some area residents had electricity.
The Chesterfield-Monarch levee, originally called the Monarch Levee, is a major levee protecting the Chesterfield Valley. The origin of the name is not known. The levee was originally constructed by farmers to protect their bottom land from frequent Missouri River flooding. Over time, the levee was expanded and heightened, and much of the farmland was absorbed by development. During the Great Flood of 1993, the Chesterfield Monarch Levee failed about one mile north of the site of the old Monarch Station, and the entire valley was inundated by the Missouri River.
Portrait of an American Town (page 49)
The Chesterfield Historical Commission Book Committee
Chesterfield, Missouri from “Untamed Wilderness to Thriving Municipality” (page 168)
Ruth Welty "
Place Names of St. Louis and Jefferson County", M.A. Thesis, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1939