The History of Irondale

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Submitted by: Joy Scott

Irondale is one of the oldest towns in the vicinity and is about 70 miles south of St. Louis. It is situated between some of the most beautiful hills of the Ozarks, northeast of Hughes Mountain. The elevation is about one thousand feet above sea-level, assuring cool, comfortable nights throughout the summer and mild winters.

In 1806 some of the first settlers were; John Hughes, who had a grist and saw mill at the foot of what is now Hughes Mountain, the Elisha Wallen family, John Jamison, who later sold to Washington County Mining and Zinc Company, John McCormick, Hayes Hughes, Hezekiah Horton, A.R. Eaton and Moses Grenia.

Grenia Springs, Thompson Spring and Big River, along with the various creeks, made this a choice area for settlers. The log house built by Moses Grenia, at Grenia Springs, was preserved by the Boy Scouts as a museum.

In 1858 the area was laid off in blocks and lots for John G. and Eliza J. Scott by Belt and Priest, architects and real estate dealers of St. Louis and became a township known as Comcord part of the Bellevue Valley area, and comprised of four School Districts, Irondale, Rock Springs, Hazel Glen and Hickory Grove.

Many industries were started, one being The Iron Furnace. The furnace and plant was founded by John G. Scott. Pig iron was manufactured and then taken to St. Genevieve for shipping by boat until the railroad was completed to Pilot Knob in 1858. Bricks were made in the district for about twenty years, clay being taken from the Big River. Some of these bricks were used to build the Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1866, with walls four bricks thick. The old Company Store building and hotel across the tracks from our school buildings was built from these bricks, and also the Terrill Saloon across the track from the Depot.

In 1864 during the Civil War, General Price's Army came to town, raided the stores, lived off the people and burned the railroad bridge over Big River north of town.

The Spencer Academy was built in 1866 and sold to the Irondale School District in 1873. In 1917 the first high school was built. A new grade school and high school was built in 1923 and the gymnasium and auditorium were added in 1931. Students came from Belgrade, Caledonia, Hopewell, Hickory Grove, Rock Springs and Hazel Glen. Our school has now been idle since 1957.

An interesting item of history was that in 1906, the name of the town was changed to Savoy, due to the fact that mail carried on the trains was gettng mixed up with that from Ironton and Iron Mountain. The name "savoy" merely applied to anything dealing with the railroad. The people were very unhappy and so in 1907, it was changed back to Irondale. The town was incorporated in 1908.

IRONDALE BOY SCOUT RESERVATION (click) was the first camp owned by the Boy Scouts of America and opened in 1920. The camp was sold to developers in 1967 and became Camp Irondale Estates, which was later annexed by the City of Irondale.

THANK YOU CHARLIE & ROSALIE BECK for the wonderful pictures.Click here for more photos.

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