Compton Heights


Land Divisions and Parks

Occupying the northwestern corner of the vast St. Louis Commons, the Compton Hill area had received its initial partition by 1860. The eastern portion began to be developed westwardly from Jefferson Avenue in the 1880's while the portion west of Nebraska Avenue was built up between 1890 and 1910.

The large subdivision of Compton Heights dates from 1884, although most of the large houses within it, along Hawthorne, and Longfellow Boulevards were erected after 1890, some as late as the 1950's. Compton Heights subdivision operates under a restrictive, but non-racial, covenant which controls the type of occupancy permitted and is used in the event of threatening intrusions.

Compton Hill Reservoir Park, which is a facility of the City Water Division, was created primarily as the site for the reservoir completed in 1871. Its location was chosen because of its high elevation; permitting gravity distribution of water to a wide area of St. Louis east of Grand Boulevard. The reservoir was built as part of the water system that was designed for the Bissell Point waterworks, including the old Corinthian water tower on East Grand Avenue. The standpipe water tower at Compton Hill was completed in 1896. Its Romanesque design was the work of architect George Mann.

A controversial statue called "The Naked Truth" was unveiled in the park in 1914 as a memorial to Preetorius Schurz and Daenzer, who were German American newspaper men. It was a gift to St. Louis by the German-American Alliance executed by sculptor Wilhelm Wandschneider and was considered to be quite daring for its day. The statue was relocated when Interstate Highway 44 was built through the north portion of the park, considerably reducing the park's original area of 35 acres. The 56,000,000 gallon capacity reservoir is surrounded by a decorative wall and steps designed by Guy Study.

Other recreational facilities in the area are the Robert Terry Park at Compton and Eads Avenues, purchased in 1945 this was originally the James B. Eads estate) and Fox Playground at Ohio and Shenandoah Avenues, purchased by the City in 1917.