Oak Hill

Schools and Institutions

The first Oak Hill School was erected in 1870 on what is now Morganford Road, south of Arsenal Street. It was a two-story structure on an acre of ground and contained four rooms seating 240 students. A few years later, the first Gardenville School was opened in a two-story, three-room building on Gravois Road near Kingshighway. It could accommodate 80 pupils, was located on a 3/4 acre site and was valued at $3,750 in 1881. Oldest of the present brick school buildings in the Oak Hill area is the Horace Mann School at 4047 Juniata Street, which was completed in 1901 from plans by architect William B. Ittner. In 1913, an addition was made to the school, which was named for a prominent American educator. The year of 1907 saw the opening of three new Ittner-designed public schools in the area, including the Rose Fanning building at 3417 Grace Avenue. It was the namesake of a teacher who taught in the school system for nearly fifty years. The other buildings that were opened in 1907 were the new Oak Hill School at 4318 Morganford Road and the Gardenville School at 6651 Gravois. An addition made to the latter in 1917 was designed by R. M. Milligan. The Richard M. Scruggs School at 4611 South Grand Boulevard, which was completed in 1917, was named for the well-known St. Louis merchant. It was the work of architect R. M. Milligan and had an addition erected in 1927.

The Edward H. Long School at 5028 Morganford Road, also designed by Milligan, was built in 1922, with an addition in 1927. Long was a St. Louis educator for many years.

In 1937, the Dunnica Avenue School was established in some wooden portable buildings at Dunnica and Gustine Avenues. These buildings were damaged by fire in 1961, and were razed in the following year. The school site and playground became Richard H. Amberg Park in 1963.

A Catholic secondary school in the area is St. Mary's High School at 4701 South Grand Boulevard. It was founded as the South Side Catholic High School in September, 1931, in some small wooden buildings on the grounds of St. Joseph's Home for Boys. Upon completion of a new home for the orphanage in 1935, the school moved into that institution's old building. In 1947, the present name was adopted and in 1964, the existing building was completed at a cost of $1,500,000, with a new wing added in 1967. The school, which has an enrollment of 975, has been administered by the Marianist Brothers since 1933.

St. Joseph's Home for Boys, which has been located at 4753 South Grand Boulevard since 1935, previously occupied another building at 4701 South Grand since 1895. At that time, the institution was known as the St. Joseph's Male Orphan Asylum and it had moved out from the downtown area where it was founded in 1846. A neighborhood landmark since 1895, was razed in 1969, to make way for the present Zayre Plaza shopping center. This was the House of the Good Shepherd, a vast red brick structure at Gravois, Gustine and Bamberger Avenues. Its eleven acre site was donated by Adolphus Busch, and proceeds from the sale of the old buildings at 17th and Chestnut Streets, together with a $75,000 legacy from Mrs. Winifred Patterson, enabled the erection of the massive building on Gravois. It was operated as a home and school for penitent females by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

Another institution in the area was the Lutheran Convalescent Home at 4359 Taft Avenue, which occupied the former Christy mansion there from 1921 to 1974. An addition was built in 1938. At present, the facility is operated privately as the Avalon Nursing Home. At the southwest corner of South Grand Boulevard and Utah Place is the George C. Carpenter branch of the St. Louis Public Library. It was designed by the architectural firm of Trueblood and Graf and was completed in 1926. Among other semi-public facilities in the Oak Hill area is the Magnolia Masonic Temple at the southeast corner of Grace Avenue and Potomac Street and the Carondelet branch of the Y.W.C.A. at 4510 South Kingshighway. The Concordia Lutheran Cemetery at 4209 Bates Streets was originally founded on the present site of Holy Cross Lutheran Church at Miami Street and Texas Avenue in 1845. It was removed to its present location in 1856.