Railroads and Population

The Pacific Railroad, a forerunner of the Missouri Pacific System, was organized in St. Louis on January 31, 1850 by Thomas Allen, James H. Lucas and others. Its tracks were completed for the five miles to Cheltenham by December 9, 1852, but the line did not reach Kansas City until after the Civil War. The Frisco Railway tracks were built through the Oakland area in the 1880's. Local public transit reached the area through extensions of existing electric trolley lines in the 1890's. The Chouteau Avenue line of the Lindell Railway Company was extended west to Forest Park in 1895 and thence westward along the southern edge of Forest Park a year later. This extension was responsible for the opening of the Forest Park Highlands and West End Heights amusement parks. This line was later called the Market Street car line and is now the Forest Park bus line.

The opening of the Pacific Railroad brought many Irish immigrants to the Cheltenham area, resulting in the establishment of St. James parish in 1860. Through the years this Irish settlement acquired the nickname of "Dogtown", a title which has survived through adoption by athletic clubs. In later years, the ethnic characteristics of the Oakland area have changed through immigration of people of varied national origins. The population base remains relatively stable as the residential portions of the area have not deteriorated to any great extent and the housing inventory remains fairly constant.