A September 2003 trip
to Kimmswick by Taylor252
Quote: Kimmswick is an old rivertTown that has discovered a second life as a tourist destination. In the entries below I'll talk about some of the wonderful things you can find in this mid-1800s village.
Restaurant | "The Blue Owl Restaurant"
A staff of 75 prepares and serves some of the best home cooked meals available anywhere and lest we forget, there is the pastry counter!. The Blue Owl is famous for it’s desserts among other things. Imagine a piece of Chocolate Malted Milk Ball Cheesecake or the "Levee High-Apple Pie!" This dessert is dedicated to the 1000’s of volunteers and National Guardsmen who build a 50 ft. flood levee during the great ‘93 flood to protect the Blue Owl and the entire town of Kimmswick. It was just enough. The highest point of the flood was 49 feet 9 inches!
The owner of the Blue Owl is long time resident of Kimmswick, Mary Hostetter. This blond headed center of calm spends many of her days at the restaurant overseeing the proper care of her guest as well as greeting everyone with a heartfelt smile of welcome. In spite of her success she always comes across as the new best friend your glad you’ve met. This is part of the charm of the Blue Owl.
For main courses, there is Cheddar Potato Topped Meatloaf, Spinach and Bacon Quiche or Creamy Turkey Vegetable Soup.. The restaurant specialized in soups and quiches of many varieties. The portions are large, the service impeccable, and the food so good and varied, it’s hard to decide exactly which wonderful item you’d like to select!
The Blue Owl serves breakfast and lunch. Tuesday-Friday, 10am-3pm and
Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm. The entire town, including the Blue Owl, is closed on Monday. You can purchase many of their desserts at the pastry bar as well as other items such as apple butter, or cookbooks that contain many of the great recipes used in the restaurant. This is a thoroughly delightful place to eat and popular. As a result, you are recommended to call ahead for a reservation. I’ll also mention that Mary has turned her baking talent to creating some wonderful sugar-free desserts as well!
The prices of entrees range from $8 to $11 making the restaurant family friendly. When you come to St. Louis, try this and go home with a great memory! For more information call 636-464-3128 or their website: www.theblueowl.com.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 15, 2003
Blue Owl Restaurant & Bakery
Kimmswick, Missouri 63053
I spoke with a Kathy for a while as I browsed through her products. She has several wonderful seamstresses that make tablecloths and place mats. There is also a wide selection of hand stitched quilts. Another gal makes the Raggedy Ann dolls and other country primitive toys. Then there is the gentleman that does wood craft both for sale in the shop and on a custom work basis. His craft was stunning and the prices being charged for such work could entice anyone to buy! There was also a nice selection of kitchen ceramic bowls and plates with a daisy motif. Then I walked into the next room . . . the wonderful aroma of eucalyptus filled the space and allowed my mind to drift on happy memories. All around this room were floral displays -- wreaths, potted plants, free standing arrangements, baskets of flowers, wall sprays etc. (see picture below). Beautiful, colorful, and, again, all with great prices.
Kathy herself is one of the hand making crafters. Among other things she has a line of small plaques with interesting sayings on them. One of them read "Tell me what you need and I’ll show you how to get along without it!" or "It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you work with turkeys!" or one last one, "Don’t let your mind wander . . . it’s much too small to be out alone!" At $3.19 a piece they’re a cute gift. She also sells these wholesale for others to sell retail.
The shops hours are: Closed Monday; Tuesday-Friday 10am to 4pm; Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 11am-5pm. For more information call 636-464-0646.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 17, 2003
214 Elm Street
Kimmswick, Missouri 63053
In addition to Dept. 56 , this store carries Seraphim Angels ($20-$175), Snowbabies ($15-$125), the wonderful Nativities by Fontanini in many sizes (including a good variety of stables), Millennium Collections, Porcelain Hinge Boxes and Jan Hagara Sculptures. This last set of items will soon be no more as the sculptor died this year. As you can see, the store specializes in collectibles.
The store is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Kimmswick, the Arnold House. It was built in 1865. The hours for the store are Tues-Fri. 10-4, Sat. 10-5 and Sun 11-5. The shop is closed on Monday along with the rest of Kimmswick. The contact phone number for this store is 636-464-0091.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 16, 2003
Traditions and Treasures
309 Elm St.
Kimmswick, Missouri 63053
The Curiosity Cove subtitles their advertisement by calling themselves "The Everything Shop." That is an apt saying! From the front, the store looks tiny, but once you step inside, the store stretches back quite far and there truly is "everything" inside. Thirty-two dealers sell everything from antiques and collectables to modern fiber optics and touch lamps. I took several pictures to give you the idea. It's the kind of store where your chances of finding a hidden gem at a great price is a possibility. Among the items I saw were old mason jars, Coca-Cola memorabilia, depression glass and other glassware, holiday decorations, dolls, Disney and Loony Toon collectibles, vintage jewelry, household items, Hummels, lighthouse merchandise, vintage toys, fiber optic angels and ballerinas, hand stitched tablecloths and other fabric items. This is by no means a complete list of what's available and the items changes every day as dealers add products to their spaces. While I was in the shop a gentleman came in looking for a specific magnet. What he wanted wasn't there in right then, so the shop keeper gave him a couple of ideas of other stores to look at and then how to find those stores! This is a great store to find a unique one-of-a-kind gift and the chances are real good you'll pay a fraction of its value!
The store’s address is 322 Market St. and is two stores up the hill from the Visitor's Center. Their phone number is 636-464-4707 if you’d like to call and ask about any particular item you're looking for. They are open Tues.-Sun. I liked this shop and the clerk who assisted me so I can heartily recommend this store to any visitor!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 25, 2003
322 Market St.
Kimmswick, Missouri 63052
Attraction | "It's A Small World Christmas Haus"
As you step through the front door, cares of the everyday world slip away. Look to your left and there are several lighted Christmas trees full of ornaments. On the right is a cozy fireplace scene. Through a large central opening you can see even more charming merchandise in the next room. The cashiers dress in shopkeeper outfits from the mid-1800s and stand ready to be of service.
While the store’s ambience is mid 1800’s, there is a balance of primitive, traditional and modern Christmas items. I saw some of the latest lighting strands technology as well as handmade primitive ornaments. There are many different types of Santas and including several different styles of St. Nickolaus. Snowmen abound in many many different types, sizes and styles. The shop also maintains a large stock of nutcrackers and Christmas incense smokers. Among the named collections they carry you might recognize are Byers Carolers, Inge Glass, Possible Dream Santas and Mill City Music CD’s. A word about music -- soft instrumental music, not necessarily Christmas oriented except during the holiday season, plays in the back ground year round. This music is for sale and when Christmas is upon us, they carry a wonderful selection of Christmas CD’s. If you’re looking for "Babies first Christmas", or "First Christmas Together," or "Brides Ornaments," or frankly just about any kind of ornament, the shop will personalize it for you.
I’ve been to this shop many times and I definitely recommend off season if possible. During the Candlelight Walk in Kimmswick you can barely wiggle through the aisles -- and of course you want to be careful because there are ornaments hanging everywhere! However, not to worry. Most people who visit the shop seem to be in a friendlier mood than normal. "Excuse me," and "can I help you," are heard frequently. That’s probably not an accident. After all, we’re just a little more caring towards others when Christmas is on our mind. So, when you visit Kimmswick, be sure and stop in for a dose of brotherly kindness and a bit of nostalgia as well at The Christmas Store.
Store hours: Closed Mon; Tues-Fri 10am-4pm; Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 11am-5pm. Phone # 636-464-0779.
311 Elm St
Kimmswick, Missouri 63053
It’s easy to forget what Missouri must have been like in this time. Rumors of succession and war abounded. Missouri was caught up in the battle of how many states would be "free" states and how many would be "slave" states. One little known fact that created a lot of conflict in Missouri is that the interior regions especially in the north tended to be "free" areas. While along the rivers (Mississippi and Missouri particularly) it was solid "slave holding" area. That means in all likelihood Kimmswick was a "slave state" sympathizing area. At any rate, it was during the 1860’s that several of the buildings you see today in Kimmswick where built. The Arnold House (Traditions and Treasures shop) in 1865 and the Maul House in 1869 (The Kimmswick Visitor’s Center) are two examples of the building that went on at this time.
In the time period between the 1860’s and 1900, Kimmswick prospered. It was on a major Railroad line, the Iron Mountain Railroad and close to the river. At one point there was brewery, grist mill, greenhouses for a thriving floral business in St. Louis and a resort industry to support the lively Mississippi Riverboats that stopped here. Lastly, a recreational park went in just north of town where amusement rides were offered. Kimmswick was the place to be!
Then automobiles were invented. The riverboat trade went away. Commercial ventures didn’t need either river or rail transportation so they moved on and gradually, Kimmswick was passed by . . . Then in the 1970’s a single patron stepped up and began buying up the old properties. Her name was Mrs. Lucianna Ross and she almost single handedly restored the village of Kimmswick. Slowly things began to change. Old historic buildings were brought in from other places so they might be saved. Quaint shops and restaurants were opened. Everything was redone in period style and given a renaissance of purpose. From a personal note, I can tell you this was amazing. I graduated from high school in the St. Louis area in 1970. At that point there wasn’t a destination called Kimmswick. By the time my profession brought me back to St. Louis in 1986, everyone was talking about a trip to wonderful Kimmswick, and I didn’t even know where it was! Such was the determination of Mrs. Ross and the other residents of Kimmswick. The preserved, persevered and made it happen!
One last note on the history of this town. In 1993, as many people know, there was an historic flood in the Mississippi River Valley. Kimmswick was one of the towns endangered. The town sits probably 30 feet or so higher than the normal river level. Well, the river just kept rising . . . Then the volunteers started to arrive! 1000’s of people and National Guardsmen . . . people to fill sand bags and make a dike. They built it to withstand a 50 foot crest . . . and on Aug. 4th about 10am the river crested at 49 feet 9 inches. Kimmswick would survive to continue it’s growth and preservation of life as it was in the mid 1800’s -- and we are all the better for it!
All this information and more is documented in the Kimmswick Historical Society Museum open weekends 1-4pm.
St. Louis, Missouri