Rockwoods Reservation is an 1,880 acre conservation area in south-west St. Louis County. When you walk the peaceful trails at Rockwoods it is hard to believe the these beautiful hills were logged bare in the 1800's. This peaceful valley has been in use since the early 1700's. It was first used as a fur trading road. In the early 1800's the Hamilton Family farmed the valley. The creek that runs through the valley bears the name, Hamilton Creek. After the Hamilton's, the hills above the valley were logged bare to help build buildings in the growing St. Louis. Soon the valley's rich mineral resources were discovered. In the 1850's, Limestone mining was started by the large Glencoe Mining Company. A small town started up where the Visitor Center now stands. The company town was the center of the mining operation, and it contained a school, general store, post office, orchard, and housing for the miners. Narrow gage steam railroads carried the limestone quarried from the hills to the large kilns in the lower valley. The first and main kiln was built in 1856 and still stands today. The massive kilns were 40 ft. high and 20 ft. square at the base. They were built at the base of a steep hill so limestone could be loaded into the top of the kiln. Limestone was burned at 800 degrees F. to be reduced into Lime for use as cement and fertilizer. The kilns were operated all the time. They burned seven cords of wood a day. The hot lime was scraped out of the kiln and allowed to cool. The cool lime was packed into barrels and loaded on a train. The trains went to Glencoe and was shipped to St. Louis. During the Great Depression, Glencoe Mining Company failed; the mines and the city were abandoned. In 1938, the newly created Conservation Department acquired the barren moonscape. Under 70 years of conservation minded stewardship, Rockwoods has returned to its old beauty. As you hike you can notice the old scars of the mining landscape, such as the quarries, foundation, and old railroad tracks.