Original mysterius pickles. Photo by Barb Steen.

DES PERES, Mo. — In the quiet suburb of Des Peres, Missouri, an unexpected roadside attraction has captured the attention of locals and internet users alike: the Des Peres pickle jar, also known as “The Pickle Jar” on Google.

What started as a simple observation by Barb Steen, a former Des Peres resident, has evolved into a phenomenon that has garnered international attention.

The story began with Barb’s daily commute. She couldn’t help but notice a strange item near the I-270 Manchester exit: a jar filled with pickles, seemingly abandoned on the median.

“They were just always there. I would Snapchat them to friends or coworkers or share them on my Facebook,” said Steen. She then decided that these pickles needed a fan page. “I created this group called Team Pickle (Des Peres, MO) and it honestly started with like 15 of my friends, five coworkers, and people familiar with the area. And then word got out in some way somehow, and it exploded.”

As the group’s popularity soared, so did the creativity of its members. From festive holiday pickles adorned with bows to pandemic-themed pickles wearing face masks, the community embraced the whimsical spirit of the pickle jar, turning it into a beloved local landmark.

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Despite its growing fame, the true origins of the Des Peres pickle jar remain shrouded in mystery. According to Steen, the jar appeared on the median around 2012 without any clear explanation.

“We were [speculating], maybe it’s like a forbidden love, and somebody put them out there so they could think of the other person,” said Steen. “I’m not quite sure, but we were just trying to think of all these different ideas. And you know, maybe somebody just left them there.”

Over the years, it has become a symbol of community spirit, with residents and visitors alike joining in the fun by adding their own contributions to the pickle jar lore.

“[Someone had put] ‘Happy Birthday’ pickles out there for me,” said Steen. “We have had Christmas pickles. We had COVID pickles. I believe we had St. Patrick’s Day pickles a couple of years.”

Photo by Barb SteenPhoto by Barb SteenPhoto by Barb SteenPhoto by Barb SteenPhoto by Barb SteenPhoto by Barb SteenPhoto by Barb Steen

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However, the journey of the Des Peres pickle jar hasn’t been without its challenges. Steen recalled a viral TikTok video from a few years ago showing someone knocking over the pickles.

Despite occasional setbacks, the community has remained resilient, rallying together to ensure that the pickle jar continues to bring joy to passersby.

Today, the Des Peres pickle jar stands as a testament to the power of community and the unexpected ways in which simple gestures can capture the imagination of people around the world.

Steen said that there have been times when a post would be made on the page that there were no pickles at the pickle spot.

“And then mysteriously, [they appear] the next day or day after,” said Steen, “and they’re never the same pickles.”

Whether you’re a local resident or a curious traveler passing through Des Peres, the pickle jar serves as a reminder that sometimes, it’s the little things that bring us together in unexpected ways.