By Janet Desnoyer
As you might expect, transportation in the Lindenwood Neighborhood has undergone significant changes over the years. I would like to highlight two items which were mentioned repeatedly when interviewing older residents of the neighborhood.
One referenced the role which the railroad played in the early settlement and access to downtown. The other was the role of the infamous Fyler Avenue Bridge as a main foot and car artery for access to Maplewood.
The area now known as Lindenwood originally consisted of parts of a vast Spanish land grant granted to Charles Gratiot in 1798. During the first half of the nineteenth century, this broad area was subdivided into various large tracts and turned into farms.
The St. Louis city limits did not change until 1870. In 1888, part of the Gratiot/Lindenwood area was subdivided and called the Harlem Place Subdivision. It was truly a rural suburb in those days.
The street car line ended at Kingshighway and Arsenal. However, starting in 1855, one could board the Frisco suburban train. The Frisco line ran through this area and was responsible for the development that followed. The Lindenwood Station, located at the corner of Marquette and McCausland, served as a commuter stop for trains heading into downtown St. Louis from the 1880s to the 1920s.
Pictured is an advertisement from the St. Louis “Spectator,” published in 1891 which promotes beautiful Lindenwood. Many persons who came from Kirkwood, Webster Groves and farther west, and many people of the Lindenwood area wishing to “go to town” came and went from the Lindenwood Train Station.
This station building, with a fountain, was of stone. Here passengers could buy a pass or a ticket good for 10 rides for 20 cents or pay two cents per ride, as the train conductors came through the train and punched a square in your ticket. A picture of the station is depicted here. Our thanks to Don Wirth for the picture of the Lindenwood Station.
The other transportation mention goes to the Fyler Avenue Bridge. Located at approximately Fyler and McCausland, the bridge spanned the Frisco railyards and the River Des Peres.
Built of wood in 1907, the bridge was high and narrow and featured a sharp right turn which caused many traffic accidents. It creaked when you rode on it. Because it was the only way to get from the Lindenwood neighborhood to Maplewood, a major shopping area, people were willing to take the risky road.
It was finally torn down in 1964 when the Frisco Railroad petitioned the Missouri Board of Public Service to tear down the bridge. It was too low to provide clearance for the railcars below. This meant frequent switching of cars and a back-up of rail traffic in the area.
Today, ease of transporation is a major selling point for our neighborhood. Not only do we have access to both Interstates 44 and 64, as well as major city arteries such as McCausland, Watson, Hampton, Kingshighway, Manchester, Arsenal and Chippewa, we now have access to MetroLink, through the Cross County extension.