St. Louis County
Charbonier Bluff was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995 as Missouri’s first natural feature of historic significance. In 1804, Lewis and Clark wrote of passing a remarkable Coal Hill called by the French “Carbonare.” Charbonier Bluff is soon to be named an official Lewis and Clark Trail site by the National Park Service.
The Jesuits of St. Stanislaus Seminary eventually acquired the south third of the Bluff, using it for recreation and spiritual retreat. After the seminary closed in 1972, part of its land was acquired by the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation, and more recently management of that tract has passed to the Missouri Department of Conservation. The southern portion of the 240 acre bluff is now in public ownership, and the norther portion has been owned and maintained in natural state for many years by the Love family. The central 86 acres, however, were proposed in 1993 for the development of 228 houses, a move which would divide the bluff landscape in two and destroy its natural and historical integrity. Christy Love launched a campaign to save the Bluff, which resulted in nearly 8,000 letters of protest and put development plans on hold.
Now the development proposal has been revived. In the meantime, this part of the bluff has been annexed by the City of Hazelwood, which will have jurisdiction over the development request. To meet this threat, a group called Citizens to Save Charbonier Bluff is being organized, and a major letter writing campaign is again being planned. Ultimately the fate of Charbonier Bluff is in the hands of public officials.