Log House on Rott Road at Lindbergh Boulevard Brian Kolde's Preliminary Report
At present, knowledge of this house first shows up on a plat dated 1909, showing "Quinn" property.
The present real estate record of this house, 12420 Rott Road shows owner Joseph Franz and Lizzie. This was acquired for right of way in 1980, then sold to Mr. Reilly for the lumber involved. Joseph Franz bought the house from Quinn in 1911-1912.
The county's record shows this house as having been "built" in 1912. Since Mrs. William J. Schmaltz recalls moving into this house as a little girl around 1911, when her father, Mr. Franz, purchased it from the Quinns, and since it had already been framed over, all of the additions were on it, and they considered it an old house at the time. The record date, of course, is incorrect. Also, the 1909 plat and 1891 newspaper dates bear this out.
Real Estate Records
The County Drafting Department claims county real estate records were not begun until about 1909-1912. They feel the record of previous periods should be in the St. Louis City Hall, but efforts to find county real estate records between 1877 and 1909 in the St. Louis City Hall have failed. This problem occurred when the city and county separated in 1877.
On the 1878 plat, when the property was still owned by the Sutton Family, no structure is shown. However, on this same map, no structure is shown on the Jonah (Jonas) Sappington property, when we know a log cabin was built there in the early 1800's. (This structure shows up on the 1909 map. It burned to the grou8nd in 1951.)
In a recent conversation with Mr. John Dressel, who has lived for years in the old Zephania Sappington house on Gravois Road, he stated, "Log cabins built in this area as late as 1890 would have been quite rare. Although enough wood was probably available in the Rott Road area."
History of the Land on which the Log House Stands
The log house stands on a tract of land that had been originally acquired by James C. Sutton on September 2, 1935 from the government, U.S. Patent Certificate #1933. This 140 acre tract remained in his name until at least July 19,1899, the date of his death.
For several reasons, the key period between 1877 to 1909 has proven difficult to research. However, in 1909, Quinn's farm shows up on the plat at the log house site. Sutton's large tract had been divided by this time. Quinn's lot was 7.9 acres. The Franz family purchased the tract with the house and outbuildings in 1911-1912. In 1980, the tract is shown as 1.99 acres, purchased by the State Highway Department for rerouting of Rott Road.
The house was originally plastered and white washed on the inside and outside (over logs).
Most of the nails used are square, but a mixture of both square and round were used to put up the siding, most likely added later. This would seem to indicate the siding was put on during a time of transition from square nail to round. Gerhardt Kramer, architect, said most square nails were out of use by 1880, although Mr. Hoel, builder, has seen that type of square nail used as late as 1910.
The logs are of the V-notch type and are pegged together with wooden pegs, approximately 2 inches in diameter. Mr. Hoel stated that the logs were sawed and/or planed as opposed to hand-hewn. All joints, rafters, and flooring were of milled lumber. But, James Hibbert, according to History of St. Louis City and County by J. Thomas Scharf, published in 1883, Volume 2 constructed a sawmill in Fenton in 1838. This same volume records that John and Jonah Sappington built the first mill in Carondelet Township, the neighbor to this Bonhomme Township. This was a large and profitable treadmill for grinding grain and sawing lumber. Since Jonah died in 1835, this sawmill would have been in operation earlier than 1835.
The windows have no counter balances and are of a type generally used before 1930, according to Gerhardt Kramer. This is the same type of window used in the Thomas Sappington House in Crestwood, built in 1809. However, this type of window could have been used later in barns and other inexpensive buildings.
The window frames were at one time painted red and another time green, before the present color of white. Some of the white washed interior walls were of a bluish color. All of these colors are considered to be "early" by Gerhardt Kramer, but possibly could have been used in the late 1800's, he says.
The interior plastered walls of one of the downstairs rooms had been "wall papered" with both German and English language newspapers. Two articles refer to "current" real estate business in the month of January 1891. These "wallpaper" shards have been removed from the building and preserved.
The walls were subsequently covered with several layers of decorative wallpaper; later covered with tongue and groove paneling, which was also covered with wallpaper.
Stoves heated the house when bought by the Franz Family, circa 1911. They later put in a modern furnace with a modern brick chimney. However, several bricks of a much older type were found mixed in with the newer bricks in the chimney. These older bricks have remnants of blue plaster in them. This would seem to indicate that bricks were used from a previously existing chimney. The chimney must have always run through the center of the house, because there is no area on any exterior wall indicating a former fireplace.