Census and History
Help support the Old Meeting House by purchasing the book "The History of St. Louis County". This soft cover book chronicles the first 100 years of St. Louis County's history and includes a picture and history of the Old Meeting. You can find an order form here. Please mark on the top of your order form "FDP" in order to support the Old Meeting House. For every order form marked "FDP", the Old Meeting House receives $7.00. Thank you!
The original Des Peres Presbyterian Church, nicknamed the "Old Meeting House", was built in 1834 by a group of settlers who came by buckboard and wagon from the East and South. The little rock church was constructed on three acres of land donated by the Hartshorn, Maddox and Small families, each family having donated one acre. Elijah P. Lovejoy was among the early ministers of the church before he left the area for Alton, Illinois.
The original land donors stipulated that the congregation set aside part of the land for a cemetery. The cemetery was to have a designated section where slaves would be buried. Grave markers bear the names of the Geyer and Mcknight families, whose descendants still live in the area (see the cemetery census links to the right). Slaves were buried in unmarked graves. In their honor, a stone memorial has been placed in the southeast corner of the cemetery as testimony to the grievous reality of their lives (see the Des Peres Presbyterian Churchyard link on the right for a further description of the cemetery).
Folklore tells that Yankee soldiers nicknamed the church the "Old Stone Meeting House" during the Civil War. Considering that slave owners originally contributed land for the church, it is also interesting that the church was rumored to be a well-known stop along the Underground Railroad.
As the automobile restructured the surrounding neighborhoods and roads, the congregation struggled to keep the little church and its grounds intact. In the 1970s, during the ministry of Rev. Robert Tabscott, the church undertook the task of restoring the old stone building. Those efforts were rewarded in 1978 when the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places, insuring its future as a permanent part of the community. Major repairs completed in 1993, including the addition of heating and air conditioning, have allowed for increased use of the building. And a columbarium installed on the grounds now provides a final resting place for church members and other interested persons. If you wish more information on the columbarium, please contact the church office at 314-432-8029.
The Old Meeting House is located at 2250 North Geyer Road in Frontenac. Meetings and programs held at the Old Meeting House are open to everyone.
The following documents are available for people wanting to know more about the original Des Peres Presbyterian Church.