Fredericksburg, Missouri

 

The Gasconade River passes by this tiny village on its final brush with Osage County. According to the 1879 Missouri State Gazetteer: "Fredericksburg was a sparsely populated settlement at the south west corner of Gasconade County, with a population of 40."

Fredericksburg was chartered as a town in Gasconade County in 1878 by William Geiser. He built the first house and was the town's first postmaster. Geiser probably worked to stimulate the commerce of the little town, seeing potential for increasing the river trade.

In 1879, these were businesses included: General Store, Saloon, Physician, Wagon Maker, and Flour and Sawmill Operator. There was also a justice of the peace and two teachers.

C.H. Bracht was an enterprising man who made a good living as proprietor of the Bracht General Store in Fredericksburg. The first mail was delivered on horseback. The post office was discontinued in October 1922.

The Gasconade River was the lifeblood of any commercial dealing in the Fredericksburg area. John Plattner owned the mill at Fredericksburg and he began a ferry service to encourage more trade. Plattner used oars to ferry goods and people across the river. In 1891, a cable system was installed to pull the barge across the river. Later an outboard motor was used, and today the ferry is run by an electric motor. The Fredericksburg Ferry is one of two operating inland river ferries in the State of Missouri and is regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard. It is still in operation by Dennis and Mary Lynn Satre.

In the 1800s when the river was the main route for transportation, a mill that could process the farmers' wheat into flour and function as a shipping point was a tremendous asset. It no longer operated after 1918, but it was used as a warehouse for ice storage; its 24-inch limestone walls kept ice frozen well into the summer. It has been converted into a popular restaurant called the River's Edge, featuring seafood and Cajun entrees.

During the 50 years of the existence of the Fredericksburg Military Band, they played at church picnics, mission fests and other events throughout the community. They practiced for the first time in May 1902, and continued for 50 years with several generations of families participating throughout the years.

As in many small villages, the church became the center of the community. The German Evangelical St. Petri Congregation signed incorporation papers in 1870. The land was bought for $40.00. A one-room log structure was built. The tower and belfry were added later, and siding put on the outside of the church. Services were discontinued in 1958, but ecumenical services are held twice yearly: Memorial Day weekend and Christmas Eve.