Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Century of Growth Family Recognized for 100 Years of Farming Heritage

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Century of Growth Family Recognized for 100 Years of Farming Heritage

Article excerpt

DESCENDANTS OF Heinrich Prestien will celebrate this weekend 100 years of farming on what has become the western edge of Creve Coeur.

On Wednesday - 100 years to the day after Prestien bought 45 acres - his great-grandson, Donald Prestien, sat in the living room of the farmhouse and reflected on his farm's past and contemplated its future.

Prestien and his mother, Margaret Prestien, have invited area farm families and friends to a Prestien family reunion Sunday. The event celebrates their farm being designated a 1996 Missouri Century Farm - the only one in St. Louis County this year and only the second here in the past 10 years. Tall and tanned, Prestien, 36, looks the part of the working farmer, comfortable in his plaid shirt and work pants. But he shakes his head sadly, as he discusses the future of the family farm in St. Louis County. The farm is probably the last in Creve Coeur, officials say. It is one of about 295 in St. Louis County. The number has dropped from 357 in 1987. Most of those remaining are just a few acres. Heinrich Prestien's farm grew to 80 acres when his son John married Elizabeth Bopp. The added land was part of his wife's dowry. From the front porch of his mother's home, Prestien points to a terraced soybean field. His father, Clarence, sculpted the terrace and several others to control erosion on the rolling land that is part of the bluffs of nearby Creve Coeur Creek. Prestien smiles as he recalls his father's terraces. "Lots of neighbors made fun of him," he said. But the terrace idea proved so successful that Donald Prestien has added another, immediately below the first on that north-facing soybean field. Prestien and his two brothers grew up on the farm and attended Parkway Central High School. His brothers are Charles Prestien, 40, of Ballwin, an airport mechanic, and Harold Prestien, 44, who is in the landscaping business in Columbia, Ill. "We had the best of both worlds, growing up," Donald Prestien said. …

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