A Travellerspoint blog

Up To the Gateway

Preparing an Assault on Family Records in St. Louis


View 2008 Winter Road Trip on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Sunday 20 January 2008

large_100_3493.jpg
It was really cold and windy. I didn't want to go out. We stayed in the condo and watched the playoff games on TV. Bob wanted to find where we were during daylight, so he drove in to Farmington by himself and went to WalMart and bought some things for lunch and dinner for a couple of days including a pizza.

Monday 21 January 2008 - Martin Luther King Day

Since it was MLK day and I was not sure what would be open. I started doing computer research on the family, and we did not go out that day either. It was still really cold and windy.

I was looking for the family of Johann Heinrich Franz Koke -my paternal grandfather. His father (my great grandfather) Friedrich Wilhelm Koke was born in 1831 in Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany, the son of Anna and Johann. He married Sophia Elizabeth Uelzen on November 28, 1857, in St Louis, Missouri. They had six children (including twin boys) in 11 years.
Copy that my mother made of the birth records in 1935

Copy that my mother made of the birth records in 1935


My mother went to St. Louis back in 1935 and found my grandfather's baptismal certificate with the names of his parents. The building that is now at Fair and Margaretta is now a Baptist Church. I was going to try to see whether their records had been transferred to another church. Family lore says that Fred and Sophia Koke were killed in a statecoach accident. I wanted to see if I could find a record of the accident, or their graves or any other information. In any case, my orphaned grandfather was adopted by the Figge family.

I called St. Peter and Paul cemetery and got a person to answer. He looked up to see if there were any Kokes buried there and said there were not although he said there were lots of Kochs. I was not sure if they were Catholic anyway, although there were German Catholics.
Picture of First Trinity

Picture of First Trinity


I found that the oldest Lutheran Church in St. Louis was Trinity and it was only a few blocks from where the census said that the Koke's lived.

It snowed a little bit during the night.

Tuesday 22 January 2008

In spite of the snow, we left the condo to go in to St. Louis. When we got to the 7th street area, we detoured off I-55. The old area of South 7th street where they lived has been torn down and is now a big expressway type street.
Seventh street area - the road where gggrandparents used to live

Seventh street area - the road where gggrandparents used to live

100_2972.jpgHistoric district and houses that weren't destroyed by freeway

Historic district and houses that weren't destroyed by freeway

100_2973.jpgAnheuser Busch St. Louis Brewery - Visitor Entrance

Anheuser Busch St. Louis Brewery - Visitor Entrance


Although the streets were icy, we found Trinity church without incident.
3868845-Trinity_Lutheran_Saint_Louis.jpgTrinity Lutheran Church door

Trinity Lutheran Church door


There was a parking place on the street, and the church was open, so we went in.
Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church 1864 - rebuilt 1896

Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church 1864 - rebuilt 1896


There was a man there who was very jovial and showed us around the church
100_2984.jpgBaptismal Font

Baptismal Font

Rose window

Rose window

Altar

Altar


and looked to see if there were baptismal records there for the Kokes. But there were not. By coincidence, he knew Westcliffe and Silver Cliff where my father's family lived quite well.

We left there about 11:30, and went to the St. Louis Arch, which Bob said he had been to, but I had not. And it was a Historical site where I could get my National Park passport stamped.
Bridge by the river

Bridge by the river

100_2996.jpgGoing around the Arch trying to find a place to park

Going around the Arch trying to find a place to park


After we drove around the whole park, we parked in the garage and walked to the arch.
719457283869749-St_Louis_Arc..aint_Louis.jpgArch from the street

Arch from the street

Arch against the sky

Arch against the sky

Canada geese

Canada geese

Arch to the West

Arch to the West

Entrance sign

Entrance sign


Unfortunately, while I had my cane, I left my Golden Age card and the NPS passport in the car. So I had to get a stamp on a piece of paper, and we also had to pay full price for going up in the arch. The arch is NOT handicapped accessible as there are steps to get down to the visitor's center, and also up to the cars.
Model at the Gateway Arch

Model at the Gateway Arch


We missed the 12:10 car and went in the 12:20 one. Going up takes 4 minutes. Bob did not remember that the cars in the arch were so small.
11f10410-b033-11ea-a25b-a3e683a96757.jpgDoor of arch car and Stairs beside the train

Door of arch car and Stairs beside the train


I did have my cane, so they put us in the first car.
Room at the top

Room at the top


The views from the top were amazing,
3875541-View_of_the_city_Saint_Louis.jpgOld Capitol from the arch

Old Capitol from the arch


Zoomed picture of the capitol from the Arch

Zoomed picture of the capitol from the Arch

100_3026.jpgIced over ponds and Leg of the arch from the top

Iced over ponds and Leg of the arch from the top


Looking down on Canada geese in half frozen ponds

Looking down on Canada geese in half frozen ponds

Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (Old Cathedral)

Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (Old Cathedral)


and while we were there some workmen came and opened up the floor.
633160373875582-Workman_cons..toric_Site.jpgWorkmen consulting a blueprint in the floor of the observation room

Workmen consulting a blueprint in the floor of the observation room


Riverside from the Arch

Riverside from the Arch

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Looking directly down

Looking directly down

Bridges

Bridges


We went down in the 12:46 car
Bob going down from the arch

Bob going down from the arch

100_3043.jpgStairs in the arch and inside the tram as we go down

Stairs in the arch and inside the tram as we go down


(takes 3 minutes going down), and then we walked over to the Westward expansion museum. It was done in concentric arches by date starting with Thomas Jefferson who made the Louisiana Purchase. The Museum of Westward Expansion houses a permanent exhibit of 33 large format photo murals depicting the campsites and significant places visited by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their exploration of the interior of North America. This epic journey became better known as the Corps of Discovery. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial displays these magnificent 15 foot high photo murals extending 500 feet along the back wall of the Museum of Westward Expansion.
The Bear  "The grizzly ...

The Bear "The grizzly ...


"The grizzly is the one wild animal of our wilderness who knows no natural overlord. With the exception of man, he deigns to recognize no enemy."
-- William W. Wright, Naturalist
Indian Leaders from various tribes

Indian Leaders from various tribes


Part of the Cowboy exhibit

Part of the Cowboy exhibit


Pilot's wheel from a riverboat - St. Louis was a busy port

Pilot's wheel from a riverboat - St. Louis was a busy port

Soldier Statue (1870-1890)

Soldier Statue (1870-1890)


Industry

Industry


We did not do the two films which you had to pay to see.

I got to talking to a NPS guard and he recommended that we go to one of the historical societies which was on Skinker, and gave me directions to get to it. But of course I didn't have anything to write on. Bob walked around the museum while I was talking to him.
Gift shop

Gift shop


The Museum Store under the Gateway Arch offers a large selection of western history materials. Like most NPS associated stores it gifts are related to the site - namely the history of the United States’ westward expansion, St. Louis and the design and construction of the Gateway Arch.
It is run by the Jefferson National Parks Association. Education discounts for schools are available by calling.

The Museum Store offers books for adults and children, music and DVD’s, toys and other collectible gifts about pioneers, Lewis and Clark, Native Americans, Eero Saarinen, the Gateway Arch and America’s national parks. Old-Fashioned Bread Puddings and Other Old-Fashioned Desserts $3.95
Geese on the lawn

Geese on the lawn


By the time we walked back to the car it was about 1330.

We passed the old Capitol which is a museum which has FREE admission daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. I was assured that this museum is worth it (or - since it is free, I guess I mean that it is worth visiting). Unfortunately I didn't. It has courtrooms, information on the Dred Scott case, and film charting the history of the city of St. Louis. I was only able to observe from the outside.
Old Capitol from the car

Old Capitol from the car


The original classic revival style dome was replaced with a new copper clad dome of wrought and cast iron in an Italian Renaissance style a la the dome of St. Peter's in Rome. In 1861, the Federal government was constructing a similarly styled dome for the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Naysayers assumed the dome in St. Louis would be too heavy to be supported. The architect of the dome, William Rumbold, constructed a test model dome to proved it was sound.

The Old Courthouse was abandoned by the City of St. Louis in 1930 for the new larger courthouse a few blocks to the west. Descendants of the Chouteau and Lucas families filed a lawsuit with the Missouri Supreme Court based upon the original agreement between their ancestors and St. Louis County claiming that the Old Courthouse and should revert back to them because it was no longer used for its original purpose. The court ruled against the families (surprise).

According to the NPS website:
The National Park Service began preservation of the Old Courthouse following its incorporation into Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. A new roof was installed in 1941 and the interior restoration began the same year. Offices were established in the structure by 1943 and museum exhibits displayed. ... The roof was rehabilitated, the murals restored and a new museum exhibit planned in 1979. The exterior of the Old Courthouse was renovated in 1985. The four St. Louis history galleries were completed in 1986. The National Park Service continues to preserve and maintain the Old Courthouse, a fine example of nineteenth-century architecture.

I attempted to direct Bob to the expressway going west. but we missed the turn off Market Street and ended up taking a tour of the less beautiful sections of St. Louis. We finally stopped at Burger King for lunch - by this time it was almost 1400. There were two signs inside that this was a mini-police station for St. Louis.
Inside Burger King

Inside Burger King


We got to the St. Louis Historical Society Research Library, and they wouldn't let us bring in any bags (although they let me take in my camera), so Bob sat out in the lobby while I looked up microfilm.

I first tried to find if there was any mention in the St. Louis papers of the stagecoach accident, but the microfilm reader was so high that I got a crick in my neck trying to read it through my bifocals.

It was interesting, but not informative. One of the ladies brought me a book which showed a man named Koke who was a jeweler, but he was not in the proper time frame, although I wish I had written down his name.

The NPS guy had suggested I look in the city directory, so I did that and found "Koke Wm., saloon, cor. 9th and Howard" in one of them, and Koke William, painter, ws Third opposite the theatre".
Microfiche - William Koke - painter

Microfiche - William Koke - painter


I do not think either of these are our Kokes. The directories were from c 1843 and 1861. I was unsuccessful at getting them copied, so I photographed the screen. They kicked me out at closing time which was after 1600.

We drove back to Farmington and stopped on the way to eat at Don Rosener's Homestead Restaurant in Bonne Terre,
Restaurant at night

Restaurant at night


THe Lions Club meets there and the first and third Tuesday. But this was the fourth Tuesday.
681298283873305-Decor_in_Hom..onne_Terre.jpgDecor and Specials board behind the cash register

Decor and Specials board behind the cash register


which was a buffet.
Part of the buffet line

Part of the buffet line


Dinner was $7.45. They had meatloaf, fried chicken, fried fish, fried chicken livers and gizzards, salad, mashed potatoes and gravy,
My dinner plate

My dinner plate


bread pudding, brownies, cobbler and soft ice cream.
Dessert - bread pudding, soft ice cream and cobbler

Dessert - bread pudding, soft ice cream and cobbler


The sky was clear and we could see the full moon when we got home at 1900.
Full moon

Full moon

Posted by greatgrandmaR 18:39 Archived in USA

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Now I am intrigued, who was (or is) Eero Saarinen you mentioned?

by hennaonthetrek

He was the architect who designed the Arch (and also Dulles airport in D.C.) He was an American of Finnish descent.

by greatgrandmaR

He has very finnish name! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Yes I realized that might be why you picked up on him in particular.

Also his father Eliel designed the
Helsinki Central railway station
National Museum of Finland
Vyborg railway station
Hvitträsk
Kleinhans Music Hall

Eero's son Eric is a cinematographer

by greatgrandmaR

So is Eliel to thank of the statues at the Helsinki Central Railway statio too or just the building?

by hennaonthetrek

I think just the building - he was an architect - not a sculptor.

by greatgrandmaR

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Login