Historic Florissant
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About Historic Florissant

What is Historic Florissant, Inc.?

HFI 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 landmark structures.

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About Historic Florissant
Historic Florissant, Missouri

Membership

Historic 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.

While 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.

Friends of Historic Florissant, through their donations, contribute to the financial needs of the organization and participate in planned activities.

What does Historic Florissant do?

Historic Florissant, MissouriHFI 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.

HFI 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.

In addition to working with other organizations, HFI has undertaken the restoration of a number of sites which include:

Archambault House (circa 1850) - 603 rue St. Denis. Now privately owned.

Narrow Gauge Railroad Station (1878) - relocated to Tower Court Park.


Narrow Gauge Railroad Station

Myers House

Myers House & Barn (1867) - 180 Dunn Rd., Occupied by deli and craft shops.

Peters House (1912) - 990 rue St. Francois, Restored and sold to private owners.

DeLisle Building (1878) - 298 rue St. Francois, Restored and sold for commercial use.

Log Cabin in Tower Court Park - owned by the City of Florissant.

Gittemeier House (1860) - 1067 Dunn Road, office of Historic Florissant, Inc., resource center and archive.


Log Cabin in Tower Court Park

All 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.

The Gittemeier House and Family

Franz 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.

Franz 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 children.

A 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.

The 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.

In 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.

Architect 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.

CLICK HERE FOR HFI EVENTS

 

 

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Historic Florissant
Gittemeier House ~ 1067 Dunn Road ~ Florissant, MO 63031
phone: 314-921-7055 ~ email: historicflo@aol.com

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