Sutter-Meyer House

History of the Sutter-Meyer Farmhouse


The Sutter-Meyer Farmhouse, the little white-painted brick house at 6826 Chamberlain Court, is thought to be the oldest building in University City.  The year the Sutter-Meyer House was built is not known for certain, but it was probably about 1873.


The only possible rival for the title of oldest surviving house in University City is the small building at 8200 Olive.  It may be the house sold to William Englert in 1873, but it has been so altered that only the overall shape remains to suggest its age.  By contrast, the Sutter-Meyer House has been very little changed over the years and still looks much as it did when built by William Sutter.


The Sutter Family


The farmhouse is built on land once owned by John Sutter, who was born in Germany in 1815 and came to St. Louis with his family in 1831.  About 1850 he built a large house called "The Homestead" on his farm, which was about 120 acres bounded by the present city streets of Sutter, Etzel, Pennsylvania, and Olive Street Road.  Here Sutter operated a dairy farm in partnership with Lucien Cabanne (1814-1875), whose own dairy farm occupied much of the present Central West End of St. Louis, west of Union Boulevard.  From their depot in downtown St. Louis, they supplied some of the city's major hotels.


John Sutter had sixteen children (of whom only ten survived to maturity) and two stepchildren by two wives.  When John Sutter died in 1867, only two of these children had reached maturity.  In 1871, his executors divided his farm into smaller parcels, giving one to each child and the widow.


William Sutter, the second eldest, received 8.33 acres bounded on the east by Ferguson Avenue, on the north by Bartmer, on the south by Olive, and on the west by a line that would be an extension of Purcell.  William Sutter had been born in 1846 and had married Julia Broking in 1869.  He and Julia mortgaged their small farm in 1873, and they may have used that money to build the farmhouse.  Only two years later, however, in 1875, they sold the farm to Roman Meyer for $7,500.


The Meyer Family


Roman Meyer, only a year younger than William Sutter, had migrated from Germany.  Two weeks after he bought Sutter's Land, Meyer married Maria Jocks and lived at the farmhouse at 6805 Olive Street Road. She already had one son of her own, and the couple had three more children together.  After her death, Roman Meyer married Barbara Ebner, and they had another four children.  


Roman Meyer did not continue in the Sutter business of dairy farming.  His livestock consisted only of a plow horse named Nellie, and chickens housed in a coop behind the farmhouse.  Meyer worked as a truck farmer, growing fruits and vegetables on his farm and taking them into St. Louis over Olive Street Road, a plank road that was a major early thoroughfare connecting the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Those trips were made easier in part by John Sutter, on whose original farmland Meyer lived.  Sutter had been an early investor in that plank road. 


Roman Meyer died in 1913 and his wife Barbara died in 1936.  Their son, Edward E. Meyer, who had been born in the house in 1883, continued to reside there with his wife, Bertha, until his death in 1969.