I live in the oldest incorporated suburb of St. Louis, a town of 27,540 called Kirkwood. It became a town in 1853, when a rail line was extended west. The project manager for the line was a surveying engineer from New York named James Pugh Kirkwood.
For the first 40 or 50 years of its life, Kirkwood was likely typical of towns in the 19th century Midwest – small town center serving both the rail line and the farms in the surrounding region. Merchants, clergymen, and others built homes near the town center, many of which survive today in good working order.
This was the town and culture where poet Marianne Moore was born in 1887. Her grandfather, the Rev. John Warner, had been a chaplain at the Battle of Gettysburg and was called to be pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood in 1867. Moore and her family lived with her grandparents until 1896, when Warner died and the family moved back to Pennsylvania. (The church still exists, although not the original church building.)
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.