Photo Courtey of the Madison County Historical Society (IL)
In the 1870's Judge Michael G. Dale and wife Margaret built one of the first homes in the West End of Edwardsville at present day 1020 Saint Louis Street. It was originally a small brick structure and rebuilt as shown in about 1878. The large tract of land owned by Judge Dale encompassed present day Saint Louis Street frontage homes numbered 1012 through 1110 and all of Steinmeyer Subdivision.
The elegant two-story brick home of Judge Dale sat back from what was known as Fairgrounds Road and was reached by a long brick driveway. It was a fine house, set some two hundred feet back from the road, with a broad lawn and many trees, including hemlock, hackberry, pine and various other plantings. The home at present day 1020 Saint Louis Street is located front- center of the lawn of the Dale home.
In 1890, the Dales sold their property to Henry Steinmeyer, a German farmer who had settled in Marine in 1869. The Steinmeyers retired to Edwardsville but the family continued to raise berries, vegetables and milk cows on the large tract. Henry died in 1897, survived by his wife, Mary Sophie and six children, Frederick, Henry, William, Sophia Mary, Ernestine Wilhelmina and Christina Wilhelmina. The daughter Sophia Mary had remained in Hanover, Germany.
After the death of the mother, Mary Sophia, the family property changed hands. (Christina) Wilhelmina took possession of the house and furnishings and Ernestine eventually owned the large tract of land. In 1929, Ernestine plotted Steinmeyer Place and approximately 100 lots were sold at auction. Oscar Schmidt and Dick Mindrup were among those who purchased lots for development at the auction. In 1946, Lester Brockmeier received the last parcels of property upon the death of the sisters for the kindnesses he had shown them during their last years. This property included St. Louis Street and north side of Minnesota Street bordered by Banner Street on the west, and the Tunnell property on the east. The development of thie property completed the Steinmeyer Subdivision.
The Steinmeyer sisters died with a year of each other, Wilhelmina in 1945 and Ernestine in 1946. In a grove of pine trees at Woodlawn Cemetery a magnificent angel watches over the graves of the Steinmeyer family.
The following story of early 1020 Saint Louis Street is found at the Madison County Archival Library. Local historian Rachel \"Louise\" Travous wrote the following - a final tribute to an elegant home.
THE STEINMEYER PLACE
A fine old house set some two hundred feet back from the road. A broad lawn with old, broken pines, and occasionally a stump showing above grass allowed to grow too high. A driveway poorly defined, with weeds growing down the center.
It is a red brick house, standing broad and tall. Broad stone steps leading to a recessed entrance with carved walnut outer doors. Windows reaching to the floor. It is very still around the house. And very still inside, where the rooms are as large as small houses. There are marble fireplaces, but no fires in them. There seems to be no way to light the rooms at night. There are not even coal-oil lamps. The air is cold but not fresh. The rooms, solidly carpeted, give out no sound. They are empy rooms, their few furnishings lost in the bigness. Although the air is not fresh, it is not heavy with odors of a house that is lived in but not aired. It is ordorless air that cuts chillingly into the nostrils.
The extensive grounds, the giant trees, the windows reaching to the floor, the great rooms, each with its fireplace, mark the house as one that was built for hospitality. When I see the lifelessness of the house, see it through the broken pines, when I see the weedy drive with no ruts worn with usage, I feel sadness for the house. Seventy five years ago when it was built and the boundaries of the grounds defined with hemlock hedges, the house was beautiful. It has not mellowed with age; it has grown cold. There is a sort of mute acceptance of the changed conditions that have come to it, for more than fifty years ago Judge Dale, who built it, sold it to a German family who have lived only to save, and the big rooms that had so often been filled with gay young people were not opened afterward except for funerals.