Saint Charles, MO

Discovering the historic Marten-Becker House: a St. Charles home to now closed Miss Aimee B's Tea Room

CJ Coombs
Historic Marten-Becker House in St. Charles, Missouri.Photo byJim Roberts, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

On October 11, 1979, the historic Marten-Becker House was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The Marten-Becker House, a historic structure located at 837 First Capitol Drive in St. Charles, Missouri, was built around 1865.

At the time the house was nominated for the NRHP, it was privately occupied by Aimee Marie Louise Becker. According to the Redfin real estate site, the house was sold in 1982 and again in 1991.

The architectural style is Italianate. The red brick structure has a cupola with arched windows. The foundation is limestone, and the main block and ell are rectangular. At the entrance is a cast iron portico.

On the first floor, the entrance leads to a hall containing stairs that lead to the second floor. On the left side of the hall are two parlors with pocket doors. On the right side are the family room and dining room. The bedrooms are on the second floor.

The Marten-Becker House has remained in the hands of the same family since it was built around 1865 for merchant Franz “Francis” Marten. The house has been maintained with a focus on preservation.

Francis Marten

Francis Marten was born on May 20, 1824, in Prussia. He learned the skills of merchandising and distilling from his father. When he was 23, he traveled to America. He worked for a couple of years in St. Louis and moved to St. Charles in 1849. Because he was established in the merchandising trade, that was the business he pursued until 1865.

For 17 years, he operated flour mills and then was involved with the grain trade. By 1885, Marten was a leading grain dealer in St. Charles. He was shipping 75k bushels a year.

After his wife died in 1851, he remarried to Adelheid Becker (1835–1920). One of their children, Mathilda C. Marten (1855–1894), married B. Franklin Becker (1851–1900). (Note: I do not know if Mathilda’s mother, Adelheid, was somehow related to Franklin, or if they were from two different families who had the same last name.) 

B. Franklin Becker

B. Franklin Becker was a merchant at the Rectern-Becker Dry Goods Store. He also served as president of the First National Bank of St. Charles for 13 years. Franklin and Mathilda’s daughter, Aimee Marie Louise Becker (1890–1984), was the owner of the house at the time it was being nominated for the NRHP.

The Beckers lived in a house that was near the Marten property. It has been demolished. The Marten and Becker families were among the first families to settle along the Missouri River, which eventually grew into St. Charles, Missouri.

After Mathilda Marten died, the Beckers moved in with the Marten family. Interestingly, Aimee Becker had lived in the Marten-Becker House since that move way back in 1894. Aimee, a well-known person in St. Charles, died on May 25, 1984, at age 94.

Miss Aimee B’s Tea Room and Gallery

The Marten-Becker House was also known as Miss Aimee B’s Tea Room and Gallery. This house remained in the family until Aimee Becker bequeathed the home to the St. Charles County Historical Society in 1982.

In 1991, Sherry Pfaender and Judy Howell purchased the home from the Historical Society for the purpose of establishing a business to sell local arts and crafts. They also wrote a cookbook — Miss Aimee B’s Tea Room & The Upstairs Market Place Cookbook of Divine Cuisine

Before the home was acquired, local arts and crafts were being sold out of the house. It was in the home that their business grew. The tea room featured a banquet and party room, catering, a daily breakfast, lunch, and a wedding event venue. In 2014, Miss Aimee B’s Tea Room was purchased by Zack and Brie Smithey

According to resources, the tea room is permanently closed and it is now a private residence. The following is an excerpt from the menu’s cover:

In 1991, we were able to purchase the house after having leased it for 3 years. During that time we have established a spirited business combining both Tea Room & Marketplace within Aimee’s gracious walls. The house reflects an era when beauty and charm prevailed and we too offer that to you in our presentations. Our shops display unique treasures and gift items to enhance many decors. The wonderfully delicious recipes we have chosen to serve you will inspire you to come back over and over again. Please spend some quality time with us and enjoy all that we have to share. Walk through the house and surrounding yard and gardens to experience a time gone-by. — Judy Howell and Sherry Pfaender (Source.)

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you ever experienced the tea room.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms, and I retired early so I could be a writer all day. You could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri because I was born into the Air Force life. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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