For the inaugural edition of 'Looking Back on Ballwin,' Ballwin-Ellisville Patch takes a brief look at the road that gave birth to the city.
"The photograph was taken around 1910 from the present-day intersection of Manchester and Holloway roads, near the location of Schrader Funeral Home. Schrader's casket carriage is shown to the right with the words "Undertaker and Embalmer" on its side." –David Fiedler, "Images of America: Ballwin"Credit Ballwin Historical Commission, City of Ballwin
Welcome to 'Looking Back on Ballwin,' an original feature of Ballwin-Ellisville Patch that will examine the tidbits of local history that help define our city. Through a combination of information provided by the Ballwin Historical Commission, David Fiedler's city-commissioned book "Images of America: Ballwin," and other historical resources, Ballwin-Ellisville Patch aims to provide unique insights into where our roots began.
Born in 1779, city namesake John Ball emigrated from Ireland to the United States shortly before the Revolutionary War under his father, James Ball, who fought in Washington's army, historian David Fiedler wrote. Because of his military service, the senior Ball was granted a tract of land in Kentucky, and later moved his family near the Missouri River.
When he was about 47, John Ball observed a growth in traffic along Manchester Road, in no small part because of its use as a route to Jefferson City, which was designated the state capital in 1826. For Ball, an opportunity was afoot, and the town of Ballwin was established 11 years later.
Nearly two centuries later, Manchester Road still is an integral accessway for Ballwinites into and out of St. Louis. Although renovation of the road is a modern goal of the Great Streets Initiative, even in the town's infancy, travelers said the road could be difficult to use:
"One account in 1847 described portions of the route as 'one continuous, almost unfathomable morass, so the horses sank into their bellies at every step." —David Fiedler, "Images of America: Ballwin"