I always like to revisit the past. This could be my past, my family’s past, or history in general. I attended school in East Peoria and Morton, I chose Eureka as my college, and I came out of the womb playing in Peoria. That scratches the surface, because another part of my story is in the old village of broken hearts. No, this isn’t a Country and Western cliché—this is a reference to Creve Coeur. Creve Coeur is another place where my own life story was set in for a time. Furthermore, it’s a place where my love of history began. History was in my back yard.
My grandparents lived in Creve Coeur from 1954 to 2002. Until I was school age, I spent most of the daytime hours there, before my parents would get off work. My grandparents were not only my child care, but they were also my educators during that period. Fast-forward to about 1998, and not only could I read and write, but I was developing a curious nature. I didn’t just stop at asking questions though—I looked for answers in my grandparents’ 1978 edition of World Book Encyclopedia. Those books helped me discover a love of learning, and a love of history. My grandparents noticed this, and they thought they would give me a real treat by showing me a piece of world history right in Creve Coeur.
Here we are, the park hasn’t changed in a long time. This is the Fort Creve Coeur Monument, where my grandma had taken me to show me the history in her own backyard.
In case if you didn’t get the important details from the photo—French Explorers, Robert, Sieur du LaSalle and Henri Tonti established this vital way station as a Forward Operating Base, to continue on their missions of exploration in and around the Mississippi, in the 17th century.
The fort was built in 1680, and it wasn’t just for the purposes of fortification, exploitation, and colonialization. LaSalle made a deal with the local tribes to protect them from the Iroquois tribal league. LaSalle fostered good relationships with the tribes—Fort Creve Coeur wasn’t around too long though—this original site quickly became abandoned as Tonti left to fortify Starved Rock. Tonti’s mission to Starved Rock was to only end in failure though. However, the fort’s seven man garrison quit their fort, destroyed the fortifications, and made a trek to Canada. The Fort’s location today is represented by a monument. I wanted also to show you the reconstruction of the fort at a different Creve Coeur park. But, if you keep reading, you will see some brilliant images of nature around the fort’s old site.
Again, Fort Creve Coeur is not just a talisman of the 17th century it is the namesake of Creve Coeur. LaSalle’s expedition to North America was fraught with trials and tribulations. He had to deal with desertion, deaths, and disease, hence the name Creve Coeur for the fort, in English that means “broken heart.”
Now in 1836 Creve Coeur was originally platted as Wesley City according to a Pekin Daily Times article published on April 19, 2013. But, the municipality eventually remembered it’s history, and changed the name Crevecoeur in 1921. Yet, in 1960, Creve Coeur’s mayor petitioned to have the village’s name changed to Creve Coeur as he believed it was a misspelling.
I love history, but I’m also getting thirsty, I’m back at home now, and I need something special for this thirst.
I’m in the mood for a wheat beer. I found a great example of one. I’m a big fan of Erdinger, it’s one of my top tier beers. It also is a perfect springtime beer. When I was in my local liquor store, I picked up a single bottle of Erdinger Schneeweisse, in English that’s Erdinger Snow White. There aren’t any seven dwarves around, so let’s pour this beer.
To be frank, I’ve been looking for Erdinger Snow White for several years, and I’m glad I found it. It has a pleasant earthy aroma with raisins in the nose too, coupled by a bready, warming, and toasty taste. Also, there is a crisp, citrus bite at the end. Ironically, we are in spring, not winter, but this seasonal brew is truly delicious any time of year. Cheers!
Brandon is the author of the book, “Thuringer: The Officer” and you can read about it and order the print edition here or if you prefer reading your books on Kindle, you can click here for that edition.