Developments for Sappington-Concord Historical Society in its 25th year
Sappington-Concord Historical Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. As it turns 25, it can look back on many accomplishments, including its history book, “Sappington-Concord: A History” and its book on local veterans, “Hometown Heroes.” Early on, the Society started quarterly presentations and its wonderful, informative Newsletter. In 1995, the Society restored the World War II Honor Roll monument in Memorial Park in front of the former Johnny’s Market and started the annual SCHS Memorial Day ceremony, now held on the green at St Lucas. The Society also held fundraiser/social events, including its famous turtle soup fish fries for a number of years. For educating students, the Society for some years ran hands-on activities both in schools and outside, the Past and Present Partnership, and held its Tombstone Tales programs for kids. In 2016 and 2017, SCHS partnered with AIA (the Archaeological Institute of America, St Louis Society) and the Sappington House in running an archaeological dig at Sappington House for high school students. As the Society continues to serve the Sappington-Concord community, times change and with it so do the programs and other activities of the Society. Listed below are three major announcements that were made at the SCHS 25th Anniversary Celebration on April 23, 2017 and also at the 2017 annual Memorial Day ceremony on the green at St Lucas. They are;
• The gifting of a memorial plaque to the Lindbergh Schools for its new administrative offices
• The re-landscaping of Memorial Park
• The bequest to SCHS from Ross Wagner of his house and farm
• Dressel School plaque
Sappington-Concord Historical Society, was founded in conjunction with the Lindbergh Schools in 1992. A major purpose of of the Society was to help Lindbergh students learn more about their local history. The Society’s close relationship with the Lindbergh Schools has continued ever since. On its 20th anniversary, the Society restored the Concord School bell which was sealed in its cupola for many years. It now sits at the entrance to the school where students can see it every day as they enter.
For its 25th anniversary, the Society is presenting to the Lindbergh Schools an historical plaque to put in the lobby of its new administrative offices. These offices are on the site of the former Johnny’s Market at the intersection of Gravois, Sappington and Denny Roads. The plaque illustrates the history of Johnny’s Market and all of the preceding businesses at that crossroads of commerce and community. It has photos of Johnny’s and a timeline listing all business on the site. Members of the Society will be invited to the dedication of the new offices in late 2017 and they will be able to see the plaque mounted on a wall in the lobby.
The Society presented another plaque recently to the Lindbergh Schools, the original dedication plaque from Dressel School. The plaque resided in the SCHS archives for a number of years, but it has been restored and will be replaced in the newly rebuilt Dressel School along with the new dedication plaque for the 2017 school.
SCHS members are invited to attend a Dressel School ribbon cutting and open house event on Aug. 2 at 10:00 am for the new Dressel School.
When you are driving through the intersection of Gravois, Sappington and Denny Roads, you will notice the progress on the construction of the new Lindbergh Schools administrative office building. The basic structure of the building is up and the roof is on. Eventually you will also see changes in Sappington-Concord Memorial Park. In the center of the park is the SCHS World War II Honor Roll monument made of Missouri red granite erected in 1992. The Lindbergh Schools will be giving the park a new look as they re-landscape the park. This will be of mutual benefit to both Sappington-Concord Historical Society and the Lindbergh Schools and will ensure the long term care of the park and the monument. The park will continue as Sappington-Concord Memorial Park, and the SCHS World War II Honor Roll monument will remain in the park. The Society will continue its ownership of the monument and will maintain the World War II Honor Roll as needed. Lindbergh Schools will maintain the grounds of the park.
The SCHS World War II Honor Roll will probably be lifted to a higher and more prominent place in the park. This will ensure that the monument will continue to be within view of drivers passing by on all three sides of the park. The monument daily reminds us of the sacrifices of the men and women who have served our country.
Boy Scout Troop 646 of St Catherine Laboure maintained Memorial Park for a number of decades as a service to the Sappington-Concord community. Multiple generations of Scouts and their leaders showed their work ethic, team work and responsibility in taking care of the park as they cut the grass, and cared for the trees and flower beds. The Lindbergh Schools have now taken over maintenance of the park and the Scouts have retired from their community service taking care of the park.
At the SCHS annual 2017 Memorial Day ceremony, SCHS presented a certificate of recognition to Boy Scout Troop 646 for its years of hard work and dedication in maintaining the park. Sappington-Concord Historical Society looks forward to many more years of partnering with Boy Scout Troop 646 when the Scouts participate in the SCHS annual Memorial Day ceremony on the green at St Lucas.
Ross Wagner helped found Sappington-Concord Historical Society in 1992 and contributed so very much to the Society over the years when he was both archivist and chief historian. On his death in December 2016, Ross made one more huge contribution to the Society. He made a bequest to the Society of his house and farm at 9148 Sappington Road, a very generous and thoughtful act. Also included in his bequest are the extensive historical records that Ross put together over the years.
Ross was both an historian and a farmer. Farming was the Wagner family business and Ross continued farming until shortly before his death in late 2016. Some people only knew Ross as either an historian or as a farmer, but in the man and in the house and farm, the historian and the farmer came together. They were one and the same man.
The name of Ross Wagner is well known in the Sappington-Concord area and will forever be connected to Sappington-Concord Historical Society. The Society will name and operate Ross’ house and farm as the Ross A Wagner Historical Center. It will most likely be operated as a research center and library. It will probably provide storage for the Society archives and it may eventually be a place for historical displays. The new Ross A Wagner Historical Center is south of the intersection of Sappington and Eddie & Park Roads, next to the Providence Reformed Presbyterian church. The Society is extremely honored and feels so fortunate that Ross left his house and farm to strengthen the Society and give it a permanent home.
You will continue to hear of many new exciting developments with the Ross A Wagner Historical Center over the next months and years as the Society develops it into a great asset for the preservation and sharing of our local history in the Sappington-Concord area. Ross’ bequest will be breathing new life and energy into the Society for the next 25 years.
Ross’ bequest will give the Society new capabilities and allow it to provide new services. Along with that will also come new responsibilities for SCHS as it develops and maintains the new Ross A Wagner Historical Center. Please join us as we imagine ways that the Society can use the Historical Center, Ross’ house and farm, to better collect and preserve the history of our area, as well as sharing that history with others. Please continue to tell others, your family and friends, anyone in the area, about the Sappington-Concord Historical Society, it’s Newsletter, and other exciting offerings.
For 25 years, Sappington-Concord Historical Society has dedicated itself to:
• Honoring veterans
• Educating students
• Preserving our local history.
We continue to do these things for the greater good of the Sappigton-Concord community, so that we as citizens may better know who we are and where we are from. Then we can better understand ourselves and where we are going as we move into the future.
Thank you all for your support!
Stephen Hanpeter, SCHS President
June 1, 2017
Send questions to Stephen at email@example.com.