Orrville

The Historic Community of Orrville



One of the many rural hamlets that make up the current City of Wildwood, Orrville is located in a wooded valley at the intersection of Bonhomme Creek, Eatherton Road, and Orrville Road.

Orrville was named for brothers, John and James Orr, who emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland in the mid -1850s. Their children married into the Bacon and Caulks families.  

John’s son Robert was postmaster of Orrville from 1858 to 1871, and was also part owner of a grist mill. He donated part of his land for the Antioch Baptist Church on Wild Horse Creek Road. John’s son, John and his wife sold land to Gustav Hoppenberg in 1866 and he began a general store and post office on the site. Gustav sold the store to Phillip Fick in 1883. The Fick family had emigrated from Bavaria in 1851. The Hoppenberg-Fick Store served the community for more than 70 years, until 1940, when it closed. 

Gerald Carson writes in his book, “The Old Country Store,” of the importance of the general store in a rural community. “In the days when men lived separate and solitary lives, it was the country store that tied the scattered farms into a community.”

The Hoppenberg-Fick Store at 526 Old Eatherton Road is one of Wildwood’s best preserved structures. Its exterior maintains its historic lines, while the interior has been repurposed as a residential dwelling. The other principal building from the earliest era of Orrville is the Kesselring-Werther House at 538 Eatherton Road. It dates from 1867. Both these properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1867, Robert Eatherton built a “splendid mill with all the modern appurtenances and improvements, at a cost of $32,000.” The mill, located on the west side of Eatherton Road, burned after one year, but was quickly rebuilt.

By the mid-1890s, Orrville’s population had reached 50, including three carpenters, two shoemakers, a meat market, a barber, a blacksmith, and a basket manufacturer. Nearby, Erich Essen established a nursery which specialized in peaches and grapes.

Sources:

1883 History of St. Louis County
United State Department of the Interior
2003 National Register of Historic Places


Images of the Historic Community of Orrville

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