Sharing the Past and Present of Castlewood Missouri

Interested in learning about the history of Castlewood, I searched the web looking for photos and stories and found very little. So, I created this site. Photo: Castlewood bluffs overlooking the Meramec River Saturday after a snow storm Friday, February 16. The snow was melting fast in the warm sunny afternoon.
Jim - June 20, 2015
The quiet sounds of birds, bugs and water on the flooded River Scene Tail in Castlewood State Park Saturday, June 20, 2015.
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Beyond Castlewood

Sharing the adventure exploring parks, trails, rivers and countries Beyond Castlewood Missouri.
Photo: High Falls State Park on a cloudy day in January.

Castlewood & Beyond

Share your outdoor adventures on our Facebook Group Page.

History of Castlewood Missouri

A Spanish land grant at the turn of the 19th century made to Joseph Keiffer and used for farming by G. Gratiot included part of the area that is now the Castlewood community and that part of Castlewood State Park lying north of the Meramec River. From that time, a parcels of the property passed through many ownerships: Nicholas Dresdehan, Alexander Andre, L.E. Strothkamp, St. Paul Lime Company, Ranken Estate, Union Sand and Gravel Company, and the Meramec Realty Company. The name "Castlewood" is probably derived from "Castle Woods," an unsuccessful speculative subdivision development in 1871 along the bluffs just west of the present community.

Castlewood flourished as a resort between the First and Second World Wars. In 1915, the Meramec Realty Company developed a recreational area with 250 clubhouses, hotels, stores, boathouses, and bath houses. "Castlewood on the Meramec R... Show More

Castlewood MO and State Park

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2012-2024 Castlewood Missouri and Castlewood State Park located at 1401 Kiefer Creek Rd, Ballwin, MO 63021.

Photo: Ice Jam in the Meramec River at Kiefer Creek January 26, 2023.
Kim C - June 5, 2021
I have a picture of my grandfather and great uncle from what I believe was the 1930's or 1940's in front of a Nitehawk Club. I know they went to Castlewood from the city of St. Louis and was wondering if anyone can confirm there was indeed a Nitehawk Club, located in Castlewood along the river.
Mike Yeley - September 8, 2020
Hi. We lived in two houses on the cliff road of what's now Castlewood State Park when I was probably 4 or 5. The first was a stone and timber masterpiece with a massive (as I recall), thick black front door and a small outside concrete pool. I believe it belonged to a Mr. Reck (sp?), who owned a spread where Reis Road terminates into the valley. The second house was a brown frame house, a little further up the cliff road. We later moved to a two story house on the road that leads to the park, on the hillside on the right side of the road if leaving the park and heading toward Reis Road.

In 1973 or 74, while on leave from the Air Force, I had an urge to visit Castlewood, see if the houses were still standing and just try to relive some of the memories, which included going to Lincoln Lodge with Mom and dad and playing that "slide the metal puck" bowling game.

To... Show More
D. Smith - July 30, 2020
Hi! I was wondering if anyone remembers the teen dance club that was located just at the entrance to Castlewood Park, probably in the early to mid 1990s. I took my daughter there once when she was about 14, and it was small, but very tame, and we felt welcomed. Some time after, it burned down. My daughter and I have never been able to recall the name. We would be grateful to anyone who can remember the name for us! Thanks, D. Smith email:
Jeff Peanick - March 20, 2020
My family grew up on Clear Springs Road in the 50s and 60s. In the summer my mom would pack a picnic and take we three kids down the hill and across the Spring Branch footbridge to the pool. Freezing cold water, the clubhouse for sodas and pinball and the reluctant hike back up the hill at the end of a long summer day. Good times!
Colleen - June 10, 2016
Hello, all! I have long been fascinated by the history of Castlewood, and every time I go, the ruins spark my imagination. I write science fiction, but I think I must give in to my muse. I've been looking at the stories on this website, and the Facebook page as well, and my creative juices are flowing like mad. I'd like to make a query to see if anyone has any stories of Castlewood they'd like to share/wouldn't mind getting used in some way in a book? I was originally thinking of writing in the Prohibition era, but the more stories I read about the 40s/50s, the more interesting it's getting. Or, if anyone knows of any resources or historical societies. I'm just starting my research, so any help there would be greatly appreciated as well!
CDNinSTL - April 6, 2016
Just for fun- these are my maternal grandparents, Mel (lower left corner holding a glass) and Mary (far left in a flower dress, also holding a glass) and friends at a cabin in Castlewood when it was a resort area. "Labor Day, 1932" is the caption - the height of the depression incidentally.

I spend 2-3 days / week in Castlewood to unwind and re center myself. I love this cosmic connection to my grandparents and shared love for this place, even though their times there were far more rowdy! =)
Judy - February 13, 2016
Jim, I moved to Ballwin in 1954 and spent most of my high school summers teaching swimming at Castlewood Pool for Clayton's Learn to Swim program for underpriviliged kids. I remember the water being so frigid that you could hardly stand to put your toe in but the kids didn't mind. It was some of the best times my brother and I had at that pool. Later after I gradualted high school and went to work, my weeksneds were spent at the Trees dancing the night away. It is too bad young people today don't have the opportunity to experience the fun times that we did.

Judith Joyce Poe - February 13, 2016
David Starkweather - March 5, 2015
I grew up in Ballwin from 1956. The memories of Castlwood are some of the best of my life.i grew up in Westrige Subdivision. Over by the Barn. You know the old diary barn over on Kerhs Mill road. I remember when they have a .Save The Barn.petition in the early seventies i think. Anyway one summer in the late sixties somehow we came across Castlwood swimming pool. On Monday's they would change the water and it would be freezing cold. When I really like to relax I think back on those days Latin in the sun, eatin BBQ chips, drink a coke with CCR blasting on the loud speaker. There was a bridge down the street from the pool. All it was was two boards. It always freaked my mom out driving over it. I had a friend I'd spend the weekend with. David Hicks. Anyway I saw this site I thought I'd write some my memories. I was so cool. I doubt you could find a place like that now. I wasn't just the place, it was the Time.
Judith Nees - January 20, 2015
I grew up in Ballwin Mo in the early 50's and late 6o's. While attending Holy Infant School, one of my classmates was Michelle Gienella who lived in Castlewood Mo. I spent a lot of time at her house. The house was similar to eh one pictured below. I remember the good times we had there, yes in Castlewood was a dairy queen like ice cream place. Memory lane..thank you. Judith Nees (Canepa)
William McQuillen - September 1, 2014
I grew up in Fern Glen just east from Castlewood 1 mi. down the tracks toward Valley Park Mo. My Father and Mother owned the 50 acre Estate known as Fern Glen , my Dad was a noted St Louis Gangster in the back in the 1930's I have a lot of photos , videos, memorabilia and stories , I just recently came across this site I will try to post some soon
Jim - August 13, 2014
I lived in Castlewood in the late forties and early fifties. Jedburg was the school to which I and my friends walked to down the MoPac tracks and it was where I graduate from the eighth grade. Some of the memories about the place were how active it was on the week-ends, particularly Brights Tavern (is that the rights spelling) where they had Corkball tournaments going on constantly and that very early color television set , Russ Dickinson's bar and grocery with Veronica Dickinson as one of my friends; very much freedom to roam the hills east of Castlewood and explore. Slow times and good times
Bob Leipholtz - August 6, 2014
Grew up in south st l and spent time at Lincoln Lodge in mid to later 1940s. I was about 5-10 years old. it was owned and run by a family friend(Ed Massotti) of my parents . I am interested in any pictures of the Lodge and grounds. Currently live in PA but still get back home about once a year. My email is tks
Mike Wood - June 28, 2014
I grew up in Ballwin in the late 1950's and 1960's. Castlewood Pool was the only swimming pool around the area at that time. My mom would take us there every so often on those hot, lazy summer days of childhood freedom. I remember how cold the water was and going into the store/snack bar for sodas and BBQ potato chips. There was always juke box music playing in the building and the wooden floor was slippery from all the wet feet tromping in and out. When a little older, I remember riding my bicycle down New Ballwin Road and to the pool with several friends. I think the road off New Ballwin was gravel and dusty. These were great times and made wonderful memories. Those were the days!
Jim Shafer - April 4, 2014
Hi Jim,
My grandparents raised a family in Castlewood. I was very fortunate to as a kid in the late 1960's enjoy the purity of the area. There were trips up wooded hills to pick wild blackberries. And countless trips to a spring feed creek sometimes to just watch tadpoles swim. Listening to the woods at night provided a chorus. Imagine finding that today.
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David Pickens - April 1, 2014
HI Jim, thanks for this and hi to everyone else. My family moved to Castlewood when I was four in 1951 and we stayed until the end of 64. Great memories in the early days with my friends, family and cousins at the Castlewood Pool, trips to the bluff and to the river. As for the pool, it was one of the few salt water mineral pools in the St Louis County area.
Dan C - May 30, 2013
jim, this brings back a lot of great memories. two friends and i rented the next-to-last house on mountain ridge road beginning around 1970. it was directly above the lincoln lodge. i think rent, with water, came to about 180 a year. speaking of water, it seems to me that water was pumped up to the reservoir. we worked at a fireworks stand in st charles, so were able to put on quite a show from castle cliffs on july4. there were a lot of junk cars in the area, but they were removed at the time the homes were razed. and your recollection of the last tennant is true. it was one of my two buddies, and he was very difficult about leaving!

Eddy Pahl - Lone Wolf Club

Thomas Kempland - May 27, 2013
Photos of Castlewood, Eddy Pahl and the Lone Wolf Club.
Scott - November 28, 2012
I am super excited to find this web site. I grew up spending my summers at the Lone Wolf...You see, my grandmother was Sal Alley, Eddie Pahl's long time girlfriend (my dad's mom) and my grandfather (mom's side) owned Lincoln Lodge in the 30's...Thats how Dad met Mom...anyhow, I have tons of photos of the lone wolf all the way back to it's dude ranch days...It was by far the coolest place...From the big old barn, pond, stone walls and grandma's house up on the hill (if grandma and Eddie would of married, I'd probably own it today)...
I'll get some photos together and post the soon...In the mean time...Keep the stories coming!
Steph (Steve) James - September 11, 2012
I loved going to Castlewood. I first learned about it from my great aunt. She told stories of going there in the 20's. Later my dad took me to Lincoln Lodge. As a teenager we would ride our bicycles down there from our home near Claymont. We'd explore the area, old cabins, and the cliffs. We'd go there to watch sunsets, find the cave(s), cross the river tressle, and go down to the river. We never went swimming there as our parents had warned how dangerous the river is. I had a few friends that lived there and remember going to the Wolf. My young brother was baptised at the old Holy Infant. church. I wonder what ever happened to Kim Cole that lived near there. Had such a crush on her for years.
Alice (Young) Mertz - August 29, 2012
I grew up in Castlewood from 1949-1957, but my parents had clubhouses during the 30's & 40's, so I know a lot of history of Castlewood, I have a picture of my Dad riding a horse into Bill Breits tavern @ 1938-40,picture of the old Catholic church we attended, where Harry Hatlan was the (married ) but served the priest visiting from St. Joseph in Manchester or a visitor priest staying at a clubhouse.We had a club house down in Mt. Ridge ,where the park is now, club house on Sontag Road when I was little. Climbed all over the cliffs, went to the Lincoln Beach, swam in the cold waters of the Castlewood pool. I am willing to help with history, . My brother & sisters & me came last year to the park celebration but there was no one else came except the people I contacted, who are descedents of Russ Dickinson, who was born there. My father helpd organize the 1st Firehouse on Clear Springs Road..
Dave Brauch - August 9, 2012
When I moved to Castlewood in 1980 my next door neighbor was an elderly woman named Vie Wren. She had lived here her whole life. According to her, back during prohibition there were seven "Speak Easys" in Castlewood. The Lone Wolf being one of them and the apartment building right next to the stone pillars was another. She said that she owned one of them and that most of the other owners lived in Fern Glen, which I believe is where the West County Landfill now exists. She said they were all wired together with an alarm so if the "Revenue Agents" hit one place they could warn the others. I don't know about the others buildings but the Lone Wolf was sitting on either a natural cave or a tunnel (I'm not sure which) where they would stash their illegal booty if the alarm was sounded.
I am so glad someone is doing this and the best of luck to you! Castlewood has quite a colorful history, it would be a shame to loose it.

David Brown - July 26, 2012
Hi to everyone. I am retired Chief of Police, and have been around the Castlewood area for 66 years. When I figure out how to post photo's, I have many police badges from the St. Louis area. The one that I will post on this site is from Castlewood from about the 30's. I will look for all of the photo's from Lincoln Lodge. This is a link to my web page with reference to law enforcement in the area of St. Louis.

Earl Brown's Photos

Photos of Lone Wolf Club, Castlewood Pool and East Hill.

Photo: Late '40s photo of the Lone Wolf Club located on the South end of New Ballwin Road and owned by Eddie Pahl. Today the property is home to the Wildlife Rescue Center and stonework is all that remains of the Lone Wolf.

Philip Kaes House

The Philip Kaes House was built in the 1850s and is located west of Castlewood. The photo is from the 1920s.

Photo provided by: Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

1920s Lincoln Beach

Between 1915 and 1940, St. Louis residents traveled by train to Castlewood Missouri for water fun, dancing and clubhouse partying.
Lincoln Beach was a popular place to enjoy the river. Thousands of bathers would gather, arriving by canoes and small boats from up and down the river. This popular beach was a byproduct of earlier dredging by the Union Sand and Gravel Company, which operated a separating plant from aggregate on the east bend of the river.

Photos provided by: Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
LaraKuehling - June 30, 2012
Hi Jim - I have some pictures of the Kaes house and the Railroad station posted at the link below. Also, anyone who lived near or visited Castlewood from the 1900s - 1960's - I would love to interview you for a historical research project! Please contact me at!
Barbara - May 30, 2012
Hi not know but was this " club house" called The Bob o links ?...if it was this was a house my dad shared with some guy friends back in the 30's and my moms family owned " All Inn" just up the hill.I remember my parents laughing about the fellows getting a horse up the steps and into the house...( must have been drinking) after a night on the town in Castlewood.but I do not remember "how" they got the horse out ! Still a mystery !
Susan Barrett Price - May 30, 2012
Best wishes on your effort to develop more information about vintage Castlewood. You'll find my own research at Mad In Pursuit
Jim - May 28, 2012
I moved to Castlewood in the mid '70s renting a house with friends and then buying a house down the street in '78 that I still own.

The photo is the way it looked in 1978. The house was built in 1921 and sold to me by the original owner. He had stories to tell about weekend parties and how all the guys would sleep in the unfinished upper level while the girls slept on the first floor.