Joseph W. Clapp founded St. Louis in 1853, when he followed an Indian trail that led to the five-year-old Bethany Lutheran Indian Mission. It was in 1853 that he built the first home in what was to be the City of St. Louis. Over 150 years later, the Mission still stands near Main Street Bridge across the Pine River.

Mineral Springs
Park Hotel
Holcomb Opera House

In the fall of 1868, two St. Louis residents drilled for salt in hopes of becoming wealthy. Instead of finding salt they found mineral water which was claimed to have healing powers. Word of the healing water spread so rapidly that St. Louis was soon flooded with wealthy and famous people from all over the nation. As a result, luxurious hotels, renowned opera houses, and a variety of businesses were established to accommodate the travelers visiting the springs.

There are still many recognizable historical sites in the city, and the people of St. Louis help make it a pleasant place to live and work.

Welcome to St. Louis Sign Board
St. Louis Downtown
St. Louis Cooperative Creamery
Bottum Bros. Oil Co.
St. Louis Cooperative Creamery
Smith Carriage Shop
Pine River Dam
Pine River Dam

War Memorial Monument


The Iron Soldier on the War Memorial Monument project was discussed in 1913 and nearly everyone in town helped finance the project, which was dedicated May 30, 1914. It was dedicated to commemorate the Civil and Spanish American wars and to honor the dead of all wars.

Among several other inscriptions, the monument reads:

For God and Country, dedicated in grateful tribute to the living and dead who through their valiant efforts and bitter sacrifice have made and kept America great.

The monument is located right in the heart of Downtown St. Louis at the intersection of North Mill Street, Michigan Avenue and M-46 in a beautiful landscaped area.

History by Decades

The following excerpts were taken from St. Louis at 150 - The Story of the Middle of the Mitten, written by local historian, David McMacken.

Historic Painting Project

More evidence of St. Louis honoring its history is the Patterson Paintings Project that was completed in 2001. Local artist Michael O. Patterson was commissioned to paint pictures of St. Louis historic sites and scenes and all 18 of these paintings are now framed and displayed in City Hall, most of them available for public view in Council Chambers along with tri-fold brochures describing each painting.

The paintings were paid for with donations from local citizens who gave money in memory of a loved one, and each painting bears a small brass plaque with this information. Mike Patterson has continued to paint after his retirement, and resides in St. Louis right near the downtown.

Park Hotel
Donated by Gary and Lou Irvin
Gilmore Grocery
Donated by Steven K. Near, O.D.
St. Louis Downtown
Donated by City of St. Louis
Harrington House Block
Donated by Gratiot County Community Foundation
Hoxie Law Office
Donated in Memory of T. Jefferson Hoxie
Gratiot County State Bank of St. Louis
Holcomb Opera House
Donated in Memory of Dr. Louis O. Ludlum, DDS
The Church Castle
Donated in Memory of Mr. & Mrs. Orville Church
Michigan Chemical Corporation
Donated in Memory of John L. Giles
Magnetic Mineral Springs
Donated in Honor of Grant and Vesta Hess
The Coney
Donated in Memory of Mable and Early "Bun" Brown
Lake Shore Sugar Company
Donated in Memory of The Clyde Richter Family
Old Train Depot
Donated by Gratiot County Community Foundation
Yerington's College
Donated in Honor of Clare and Frances Irvin
The Charles House
Donated in Honor of Bud and Elaine Roslund
War Memorial Monument
Donated by St. Louis VFW Post #3055
St. Louis High School
Donated by Loraine and Bill Mayes
Martins Opera House
Colonial Theatre Block
Donated by Doug and Nancy McKim