ST. CHARLES, Mo.– St. Charles County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and while many people have moved there in the last 10 years, those who have been there longer are likely familiar with some of the things on the list below. There are others that are likely to recognize Noah’s Ark and have probably stopped at a few stoplights along Highway 40 on the way west.
The vacant water treatment plant was a legendary hangout for those brave enough to enter the grounds off Hwy 94. The Water Treatment Plant No. 2 was built in 1941 to purify water used to make TNT for the Weldon Springs Ordinance Works during World War II. It shut down after the war and is now a firing range for the St. Charles County Sheriff’s department. According to the site stateofhorror.com, rumors spread that Satanic cults met there. Over the years it was called “Echo Dome” and “Aqua Dome.” Those names ultimately became Equadome.
Highway 40/61 & Highway K were two lanes; no Rte. 364
It wasn’t until December 2009 that Highway 40/61 became I-64 in St. Charles County. Previously, it was a divided highway with stoplights and intersections. For a long time, it was mostly farm fields between Chesterfield and I-70. Today the stretch of road has many residential and commercial buildings.
Highway K used to be only two lanes. There were farm fields on both sides for most of the stretch. Some people also remember it being very hilly and said driving on it was like being on a roller coaster. The O’Fallon, Missouri Historical Society posted a picture from June of 1971 on its Facebook page.
Route 364 or the Page Extension began work in 2003 and the last phase opened in 2014. It now connects from Page Avenue in St. Louis County to I-64 and Highway N in Lake St. Louis.
Noah’s Ark Family Restaurant
The restaurant that could be spotted from I-70 was a unique roadside side for families. It was located at Fifth Street and Interstate 70 and you may know now it as the Streets of St. Charles. Many children remember the large animals greeting them outside the restaurant. It was also known for its clam chowder. It opened in 1967 and closed in 2000. It was built by David Flavan, an airline pilot looking to start a side business for his family.
The Wharf was part of the original development at Lake St. Louis in the 1970s. There was an IGA grocery store, a pharmacy, and a restaurant called Cutters, and others. It was demolished in 2007 and is now home to SSM St. Joseph Hospital West.
Porch collapse after Grateful Dead concert
The Grateful Dead with Jerry Garcia played their final two shows in St. Louis in 1995. Thousands of Deadheads stayed at the Pinewoods Campgrounds near Wentzville. Two fans died and on another night a porch collapsed injuring 108 people. The collapse happened after the concert as people were trying to seek shelter from a thunderstorm. Here is an AP article from when it happened.
Harris Automotive’s Rod Run
The annual evening filled with hot rods and fun is back with two dates this summer after being canceled in 2020 due to COVID. June 4 and August 6 will feature hot rods cruising the streets of downtown Wentzville for charity.
The Plaza Drive-In was a movie theater that was located where the Scheidegger Center at Lindenwood University now sits. You can view photos on the Cinematreasurers.org. There was also the I-70 Drive-In in St. Peters. You can also view photos of that theater on Cinematreasures.org. They were both owned by Mid-America Theaters.
Mid America Raceway
Mid-America Raceway was a dragstrip near Wentzville. It was built in 1965. There was also motorcycle racing at the track. There was a 2.89-mile course that closed in 1984. The dragstrip shut down in 2005. You can learn more about the raceway here.