Main Street Books was founded in May of 1993 by Mary Fran Rash, during the Great Flood. Fortunately, the flood waters did not reach the store’s original location on the west side of Main Street: Collier Cottage, a building dating back to the late 1860s. “This two story building was built in the 1830’s and derived its name, Collier Cottage, from Catherine Collier. As a devout Methodist who was interested in education, she financed the building of this brick school next to the Methodist Church,” says the marker out front. This adorable little red building at 621 South Main Street holds many fond memories for the early patrons of the store, and still tends to confuse those looking for the store with an outdated map.
In 2006, it moved to the present location near the Visitor’s Center. This building was originally built in 1821 by William G. Pettus, Missouri’s first Secretary of State; Missouri’s first state constitution is in his handwriting. The building burned down to a shell in early 1955 and was later rebuilt. Around the time Main Street Books moved to its current location, the store changed hands; Vicki and Jim Erwin of Kirkwood, MO assumed ownership of the store that Vicki had often visited as a sales rep for Scholastic. For nearly 8 years, Vicki managed the day-to-day operations of the store, coordinated author events, and even managed to write a book on the history of St. Charles.
In late 2013, Vicki decided it was time to retire. The store changed hands yet again, this time passing to a family from Weldon Spring, MO- the Halls. Emily, Ellen and Andy took over in February of 2014, with Emily stepping into Vicki’s role as co-owner and proprietress. The Hall Family hopes to continue the legacy that began with Mary Fran in 1993 and that was perpetuated by Vicki in 2006 honorably.
Today, Main Street Books occupies two floors in the Main Street Historic District near Missouri’s First State Capitol (approx. 1800 sq.feet).
Main Street Books has been an independent book provider for 21 years. In addition, patrons can purchase a multitude of gift items, including bookmarks, journals, card games and children’s toys.
We are committed to providing the best book-buying experience in the St. Charles area, and are ever appreciative of our patrons, whether they have been around since 1993 or decide to visit our store tomorrow.
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