On a clear day, they can see forever

News-DemocratDecember 8, 2013 

Chris and Angie Eckert were ready to break ground on a new home when Chris' grandmother, Ruth Eckert, died in 2002.

Family members persuaded the couple to move into Ruth's 1945 brick home, surrounded by a peach orchard and vineyard.

"I'm so glad we did," said Chris, 41, of Belleville. "We have a 200-acre yard with a great view. We have the convenience of being close to (city amenities) but the privacy of being in the middle of a farm."

Another perk is proximity. Chris and Angie need only cross Green Mount Road to get to work.

Chris serves as president of Eckert's Inc. while Angie oversees the country store and garden center. They have two children, daughter Ella, 9, and son Theo, 6.

The Eckerts added a combination kitchen and family room to the back of the house with giant windows facing three directions, as well as a patio and hot tub.

"Over here, you can see the hangar and control tower at Scott Air Force Base," Chris said, pointing northeast. "And over there, you can see the cathedral in downtown Belleville."

On a clear day, even the St. Louis skyline and Gateway Arch appear in the distance.

Beyond the view, Chris enjoys the history of the property. It's on Turkey Hill, where pioneers established a village in the late 1700s.

"They lived with the Tamaroa Indians," Chris said. "They settled here because of its vantage point and because of a spring that we have on the property. They had fresh running water and good visibility all around."

Eckert ancestors arrived in 1877, and one married into the Miller family, which farmed in the area.

Chris and Angie's 1 1/2-story home is the third home on that site. It was built by Ruth and her husband, Curt, after a lightning strike caused their first home to burn.

"The sunsets are beautiful," Chris said. "We love sitting out on the patio in the spring, summer and fall and watching the sunset. That's one of our favorite things about living out here."

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