The name of the area is derived from the fact that most of it embraces the southern portion of the Grande Prairie Commonfield of St. Louis, which reached westward from what is now Grand Boulevard to Taylor Avenue. West of that, the area included Survey 2620 and the eastern ends of Surveys 3033 and 2976.
Commonfields for cultivation were laid out on the broad prairies surrounding the original settlement of St. Louis, by its French founders. They were platted in long narrow strips in the customary French manner, using the arpent as a unit of measure. An arpent was about 190 feet in length and the fields were generally one or two arpents in width and forty arpents long. The whole tracts were fenced with a common enclosure, with maintenance by the individual owners under the supervision of syndics, elected at special assemblies. This system was maintained here until about 1800, after which pacification of warlike Indians enabled the farmers to spread out. Then the fences were abandoned in favor of the Anglo-American practice of individual farming.