is Historic Florissant, Inc.?
is a not-for-profit corporation formed in 1969 to meet the
need for a local group with broad preservation interest
and capable of responding quickly to protect and preserve
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Florissant has a limited membership, operating under by-laws
which provide that it is not organized for profit and that
no dividends shall ever be shared by its members who are
responsible for establishing and implementing its policies
and programs. In the event of the dissolution of the corporation,
its assets must be given to a similar organization exempt
under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
its membership is limited, Historic Florissant has always
considered anyone interested in its purposes and willing
to work to achieve its goals as one of its constituents.
of Historic Florissant, through their donations, contribute
to the financial needs of the organization and participate
in planned activities.
does Historic Florissant do?
has worked with the city of Florissant and the State Preservation
Office to study and survey the cultural resources of the
city. It maintains a Resource Center to house research documents
for the area and information on technical services relating
to preservation, restoration and recycling of buildings.
provides an opportunity for the community to better understand
its heritage through tours and special events and actively
participates in preservation activities on the local, state
and national level working to preserve landmarks, neighborhoods
and historic districts.
HFI operates a new and used book shop in the Gittemeier House at 1067
Dunn Road, Florissant, MO 63031.
addition to working with other organizations, HFI has undertaken
the restoration of a number of sites which include:
House (circa 1850) - 603 rue St. Denis. Now privately
Gauge Railroad Station (1878) - relocated to Tower Court
Narrow Gauge Railroad Station
House & Barn (1867) - 180 Dunn Rd., Occupied by
deli and craft shops.
House (1912) - 990 rue St. Francois, Restored and sold
to private owners.
Building (1878) - 298 rue St. Francois, Restored and
sold for commercial use.
Cabin in Tower Court Park - owned by the City of Florissant.
House (1860) - 1067 Dunn Road, office of Historic Florissant,
Inc., resource center and archive.
Log Cabin in Tower Court Park
of these buildings were endangered but have been preserved
through the efforts of Historic Florissant, Inc. Each is
now listed on the National Register of Historic Places or
on the Florissant Landmark Register. Historic Florissant
Inc. is proud of its accomplishments which were made possible
by the support of the community and countless dedicated
volunteers. Their hours of service and financial assistance
represent a debt that can never be paid. Thier only reward
comes from knowing that they have made an important contribution
to their community.
Gittemeier House and Family
Gittemeier was born in Rebbeke, Westphalia, Germany in 1826.
He immigrated to the United States in 1850. Gertrude Gerling
was born in Prussia in April of 1833. She came to the United
States in 1857 and may have been a 'mail-order bride.' Franz
and Gertrude were married in Holy Trinity Church in St.
Louis on September 25, 1858.
hired out as a farm hand near Bridgeton, Missouri but soon
decided to go to the California gold fields. He worked in
the mines for seven years and returned to Florissant with
enough gold dust to buy fifty acres of farmland and build
the two story brick house where he and Gertrude raised ten
hard worker, Franz prospered and eventually owned 500 acres
of land. According to family legend, each of his ten children
received a farm and $10,000 on his death on September 7,
1891. Gertrude died on March 15, 1908.
descendants of Franz and Gertrude Gittemeier are many; they
have been leaders in the fields of business, religion and
politics--men and women who added strength and character
to the Florissant community.
1938, Mrs. Mae Pondrom, another prominent name in Florissant
history, purchased the property. Her descendents occupied
it until Shell Oil Company acquired it for commercial development in 1990.
The farmhouse was slated for destruction and the bulldozer
was at the front door. Because the community expressed its
desire to preserve the house, Shell asked Historic Florissant,
Inc. to assume the responsibility of restoring and maintaining
the house. The house and sufficient land to meet city requirements
were given to Historic Florissant with the provision that
the exterior restoration be completed within one year.
Philip Cotton, Jr. was selected to direct the restoration.
Albert Gettemeier, a great-grandson of Franz was the restoration
contractor (some of Franz's descendants changed the spelling).
Borrowing the money, Historic Florissant Inc. met their
deadline. The office, bookstore and Resource Center of
Historic Florissant Inc. are now located in the Gittemeier
House and the remaining space is leased in order to provide
funds to help maintain the house.
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