Stop L: Customs House

Customs House
701-703 S. Main St

This two story Federal style building with plain façade and supported chimneys was a popular style in the 1820's. Travelers in covered wagons had to stop here for inspection. Traveling on Sundays was prohibited. It is recorded that the second floor was used for lodging. In the rear of this Customs House was a very large stable that was maintained by a blacksmith who took care of the travelers’ horses and oxen.

Just south of here at 709 S. Main is the Schemmer Brothers Wagon and Blacksmith Shop built in 1890. The building reflects the skill of the German bricklayers who were adept at making arches and decorative cornices.

John and Henry Schemmer also built the look alike Victorian-styled houses at #715 and #723 S. Main, just a couple of buildings south of their shop. Nestled in between them at #719 is the oldest building on Main Street dating back to 1790. It's built of brick and beam construction covered with a 1/2" siding of native walnut. Notice the sloping roof and a large porch across the front. The building is referred to as the French Duplex because, two French families would have lived here. Two brick ovens are still attached to the back of the house. When Lewis and Clark came through this area about a hundred families lived around here and most of their homes would have looked like this. Our next stop gets us closer to the beginnings of St. Charles and the role it played as pioneers traveled to the western frontier. Proceed to the corner of South Main and Boone’s Lick Rd. then select stop "M".

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