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 1830s. “This two story building was built in the 1830s 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many fond memories for the early patrons of the store, and still tends to confuse those looking for the store with an outdated map.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, Main Street Books 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 to a shell in early 1955 and was later rebuilt.
Around the time Main Street Books moved to this building, 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. Emily is a graduate of Truman State University in Kirksville, MO and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Before she took on the role of bookseller, she worked with and trained birds of prey at World Bird Sanctuary and was a personal assistant in the insurance industry (though not at the same time). Ellen is a teacher in St. Charles, and Andy is a professor in St. Louis. They both moonlight as booksellers on occasion.
Today, Main Street Books occupies that same building 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 over 20 years. In addition to books, patrons can purchase a multitude of gift items, including greeting cards, bookmarks, journals, card games and children’s toys.
Main Street Books also coordinates several author events per month, both at the store and with the St. Charles City-County Library District. They have hosted local favorites Heather Brewer, Ridley Pearson and Ann Hazelwood as well as national bestsellers Lisa Scottoline, Sarah Dessen, Peter Brown, Brandon Mull and Sharon Draper.
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.