Oak Hill

Industrial and Railroads

Probably the earliest industrial operations in the Oak Hill area were the clay mines in the Christy and Russell tracts. Coal was also mined in the "diggins" south of Tower Grove Park. These remained rather minor in scope until the construction of the Oak Hill and Carondelet branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1886. Three years later a spur track was completed to the Christy properties south of Chippewa Street near Kingshighway. Most subsequent industrial activity in the area was tributary to the railroad, which created a somewhat parallel industrial district along its route. In later years, such large employers as Knapp Monarch and the Brown Shoe Company were among the varied types of industries that were established there. A more recent industrial district developed in the vicinity of Gustine Avenue after the completion of a railroad spur in 1922. The extension of Gustine from gingham to Delor in 1948, led to the construction of warehouses and trucking related industries in that section.

The first public transit service to the Oak Hill area was provided by the Tower Grove branch of the Union Depot Railroad Company. This electric trolley line was built westward along Arsenal Street as far as Kingshighway in the early 1890's. By 1904, it was extended westwardly along Arsenal and Old Manchester Road to Tamm Avenue. Another branch of the Union Depot Railroad to serve the area was the Cherokee line which terminated at Grand and Gravois in 1896. After 1900, it was extended further out Gravois to a loop near the City limits. An intermediate loop was located at Gravois and Itaska Street. In 1896, the Market Street branch of the Missouri Street Railroad Company ran southwest along Old Manchester Road (now Vandeventer Avenue) to Tower Grove Avenue and thence southward to Magnolia. In the late nineties, an extension was built to Kingshighway and thence southward to Devonshire Avenue in the Southampton subdivision.

At one time, a car line was contemplated on Morganford south from Arsenal, but no transit service was operated there until a bus line of a United Railways subsidiary was established about 1925. This later became a part of the Bates Street bus line. In 1926, the St. Louis Bus Company also operated a line on Delor Street from Morganford to Kingshighway and thence southward to Gravois. Service on South Kingshighway was also provided by a People's Motorbus Company line beginning in 1925. This later became the present Kingshighway bus line. Presently, the Oak Hill area is served by several local and express bus lines of the Bi-State Transit Agency.