Embracing a broad section in the southwestern portion of St. Louis is the Southwest Area, which is bounded by Fyler Avenue on the north, Kingshighway on the east, Gravois Avenue on the south and by Highway 44 and the City limits on the west. Its outer edge is rather closely paralleled by the River des Peres drainage works, whose valley creates a general downward slope to the west over much of the area. In earlier years it was drained by two small creeks which flowed into the River des Peres near the present location of Loughborough Avenue. Elsewhere the topography is quite rolling in character, with a high ridge crossing through the eastern portion of Lindenwood. Another high section lies to the south of Fyler Avenue behind the Missouri State Hospital.
The Southwest Area originally consisted of parts of two vast Spanish land grants. Its northern section, from Fyler Avenue south to Bancroft Avenue, was in the Gratiot League Square, while the portion south of what is now Bancroft Avenue was a grant in the name of Madame Camp and Antoine Reilhe in 1797. It was later known as U.S. Survey 1839, which covered 2471 acres. Gratiot League Square was split by two U.S. Surveys, one being U.S. Survey 2035, which extended west from Kingshighway to a point beyond the present City limits, between Pernod and Bancroft Avenues. The section of the Southwest Area between Pernod and Fyler Avenues was the southern end of U.S. Survey 2037, which extended north to what is now Forest Park. It was originally granted to Charles Gratiot in 1798. During the first half of the nineteenth century, these broad areas were subdivided into various large tracts. By 1856, land in Survey 1839 was principally owned by Joseph J. Clark, John D. B. Clark, John Wilson, W. N. Switzer, Louis Finkman, Rudolph Moellenhoff and Frederick W. Heidorn. Smaller tracts west of the present Hampton Avenue and south of the present Bancroft Avenue were held by Ferdinand Overstolz, Benjamin C. Clements and M. D. Cotheld. Earliest of all subdivisions in the Southwest Area as the Hazelwood Addition, which was platted in 1856 along the south side of present day Eichelberger Street west of Kingshighway. A little farther south, Louis Finkman subdivided his garden lots in 1860. At that time, the sections north of Bancroft were largely in the names of John and Matron Lewis, Phineas Block, Sarpy, Sire and Chouteau, Trusten Polk and Peter Lindell. What later became Lindenwood was under the names of Ridgway, Polk and Archibald Gamble. The western part of this area came into the ownership of Frederick Mittelberg about 1862. Mittelberg's estate sold the land to Sam T. Rathell, who subdivided it as Lindenwood in 1888. In that same year Harlem Place was platted in the area south of Fyler and west of Ivanhoe in the old Lake farm. The year of 1889 saw the platting of the land between Marquette and Pernod Avenues from Watson Road to McCausland Avenue as a subdivision by the Joseph Gartside estate. West of McCausland in this same strip, was the Lindenwood Addition, also opened in 1889. In 1890, Joseph Hume subdivided his Addition to Harlem Heights, to the southeast of Hancock and Ivanhoe Avenues. The southern part of the present Tilles Park was platted by the Gartside estate in 1889 and the northern section was recorded as the Crawford Place Addition in 1890. A large tract bounded by Kingshighway on the east, Nottingham Avenue on the south, Bancroft Avenue on the north and a line west of the present Hampton Avenue on the west, was subdivided as Southampton in 1896. The section of it east of Macklind was revised by an amended plat in 1905. Soon after that there was considerable subdivision activity to the south of Southampton beginning with Muth's Morningside Park in 1910, and continuing with Travilla's Addition to Southampton in 1914, Hayden's Boulevard Heights in 1915 and Twabrig's large addition in 1917. Further south was Hadley Park at Kingshighway and Gravois in 1910, Lynna Park in 1912 and Von Drehle's Subdivision in 1913. An earlier subdivision on Gravois between Nagel and Quincy was McDermott and Hayden Is Hildesheim in 1906 and on the west side of Kingsighway between Eichelberger and Geothe, Jameston Place was opened in 1911. The large area south of Eichelberger and east of Hampton was fully subdivided by the mid-twenties by large additions such as Kingshighway Park, Gardenville Terrace and Princeton Place in 1922. These were followed by Gravois Homesites in 1923, Gravois Loughborough Place in 1924 and Woodland Park in 1925-26. Along the south side of Eichelberger, west of Kingshighway were West Jameston in 1921, Manter Park in 1925 and January Park in 1928-30. During the 1920's and 1930's there was a rapid build-up north of Chippewa and west of Kingshighway. Largest subdivisions here were Northampton in 1925, Willmore's Kingshighway Hills in 1926 and Northampton Park in 1930. Further west, near Hampton Avenue, were the Westhampton and Chippewa Hills subdivisions of 1929 and Chippewa-Hampton Park in 1939. Between Hampton and Watson, north of Pernod to Marquette, Southwest Park was opened in 1925, while west of Watson Road, Watson Terrace was platted in 1924, followed by Rohndale on Bancroft Avenue in 1926 and J. J. Hauer's Ivanhoe Park in 1927. East of Watson, between Pernod and Chippewa was Somerset Park in 1926, Watson-Chippewa Subdivision in 1928, Wenzlick Park in 1929 and Milton Terrace in 1937. South Lindenwood was opened in 1924 in a large tract bounded by Prather, Bancroft, Wabash and Lansdowne Avenues. In 1940, the Hampton Hills Subdivision was platted in portions of the former Clements and Cotheld tracts, on both sides of Hampton, south of Bancroft. On either side of Chippewa Street, west of Macklind, were Chatsworth on the south in 1942 and Overcrest on the north in 1945. These were not built upon immediately due to wartime restrictions and the need to allow for settlement of the ground because of the presence of old clay mine tunnels under the properties. Chatsworth, which was fully built up by 1953, covered 47 acres and represented an investment of more than $9,000,000. Some of the most recent subdivisions in the area have been Joan of Arc Hills in the vicinity of Pernod and January Avenues in 1954 and the multiple dwelling subdivisions of Lindenwood Heights and Southampton Heights in 1963. The latter is near Hampton and Gravois.
The largest multiple dwelling project in the vicinity is the Hampton Gardens Apartments, a 510 unit development on a 25 acre site bounded by Hampton, Scanlan and Fyler Avenues. Its site was at one time the "Potter's Field" charity burial ground of the City of St. Louis. This tract was leased from the City for seventy-five years in May, 1950, and the multi-million dollar project was completed in 1952. South of Chippewa Street along the City limits is a group of four subdivisions, two of which extend into St. Louis County. These are Mackenzie Place, platted in 1943 and Villa Nova developed by Walter A. Livengood in 1946. South of these, fronting upon River des Peres Parkway, is the Parkway Gardens Subdivision of 1950, with an addition on its northern edge called Joanne Terrace, which was opened in 1963.
During the 1920's a large tract of more than 700 acres in southwest St. Louis awaited the efforts of a large scale real estate developer. Originally it was a part of Survey 1839, which had been an eighteenth century Spanish land grant to Madame Anne Camp and her son-in-law, Antoine Reilhe. It was later sold to George C. Clark and was about equally divided between his two sons in 1843. Its division was marked by a lane called Clark Road, which later became Eichelberger Street. Extending south and west from Clark Road toward the River des Peres, was the tract of Joseph J. Clark, covering about 379 acres. John DeBurren Clark was the owner of the other portion of the tract, whose 371 acres reached northward to a property line south of present day Lansdowne Avenue.
In 1884, the two sections of the tract were acquired by David R. Francis, who became Mayor of St. Louis in the next year and Governor of Missouri in 1889. He later became Secretary of the Interior in the cabinet of President Cleveland and Ambassador to Russia during World War I. As president of the 1904 World's Fair, Francis had considered his farm as a site for the Fair, but rejected the idea because of lack of access by public transportation. In 1916, he donated a 60 acre section of his tract for a future City park. However, the area, known as the Francis Farm, remained unimproved except for a few dairy farms. Unofficially, it became a rural rendezvous for picnickers, hunters and other adventurous spirits.
As the growth of the City progressed into its southwestern reaches, this largely vacant piece of land attracted the attention of real estate entrepreneur Cyrus Crane Willmore. Willmore came to St. Louis in the early twenties after graduating from the University of Illinois law school. After starting a real estate business here, he began subdivision developments in University City, Webster Groves and Normandy. In the City, he created Kingshighway Hills along that thoroughfare between Fyler and Pernod Avenues in 1926. Soon thereafter, Willmore organized the St. Louis Hills Realty Company for the acquisition of the Francis Farm property. Surveyor Frederick Pitzman was engaged to make a layout for the St. Louis Hills subdivision, the first part of a development which was finally completely platted in 1950. The first section was bounded by the eastern line of the former Clark tract, which was about 125 feet west of Hampton Avenue, on the south by Eichelberger Street, on the west by Jamieson Avenue and on the north by Watson Road, Bancroft and Prague Avenues and a line one-half block south of Lansdowne Avenue. Excepted from this plat were the previously established streets of Watson Road and Donovan and Nottingham Avenues, Francis Park and a tract owned by the Board of Education since 1926. The plat for this subdivision, known as St. Louis Hills No. 1, was recorded in March, 1929. In December, 1930, Pitzman made a survey of St. Louis Hills No. 2, which included land west of Jamieson Avenue to the River des Peres drainage works and which reached northward to a line south of Lansdowne Avenue. This completed the platting of the area north of Eichelberger Street, with the exception of the Hampton Hills Subdivision of 1940.
In accord with the high standards of his previous subdivisions, Willmore made quality of construction and artistic landscaping hallmarks of his subdivisions in St. Louis Hills. All homes and multiple dwelling structures were designed in fine architectural styles and were to be built of brick with tile or slate roofs and with generous use of stained glass and other luxury materials. Two distinguishing features in St. Louis Hills were the red concrete sidewalks and the profusion of rose bushes that were planted along its streets. Despite the troublous economic conditions that were prevalent in the early 1930's, Willmore responded with a spectacular display of advertising and events to attract the attention of the public to the new subdivision. In addition to the completion of several model homes, entertainment and refreshments were provided on various important occasions. During the decade, homes in St. Louis Hills were featured in the pages of national magazines. Willmore believed in enhancing the homes in his subdivisions with plentiful quantities of trees and shrubs. A bouquet of roses was presented to newcomers on the day that they moved into their new homes. From the beginning, a proud sense of ownership was evident among the residents of St. Louis Hills, in the aesthetic manner in which they landscaped their yards and maintained their houses. As the centerpiece of this beautiful environment was Francis Park, whose development paralleled that of the subdivision. A measure of Willmore's sense of civic consciousness was his permission for various new churches in the subdivision to hold services in his real estate office building until they could complete their own structures.
Although housing construction was temporarily suspended by World War II, the Cyrus Crane Willmore Organization proceeded to survey and plat subdivisions in the area south of Eichelberger Street. First of these was St. Louis Hills No. 3 in 1942. It included frontages on both sides of Rhodes Avenue from Hampton to Childress. Two years later the first St. Louis Hills Estates was platted in an area west of Jamieson and south of Eichelberger, and in 1945 St. Louis Hills Estates No. 2 was planned, being bounded by Jamieson, Donovan, Eichelberger, Childress, Clifton and Loughborough Avenues. The Estates consisted of generously sized lots on curving streets with large ranch style homes, in its postwar development.
A Willmore sales brochure of 1944 quoted the Estates as providing "country living in the City" at an altitude where it was "swept by cool breezes."
While home construction in the St. Louis Hills subdivisions proceeded somewhat slowly during the 1930's, after World War II its pace increased appreciably, and by 1950 the original St. Louis Hills was about completely occupied by quality-built homes.
In 1946, a multiple dwelling subdivision known as St. Louis Hills No. 4 was laid out in the triangle formed by Loughborough, Hampton and Jamieson Avenues. Three years later, St. Louis Hills Estates No. 3 was opened in an area southeast of Eichelberger and Childress. St. Louis Hills Estates No. 4 completed the subdivision of the Willmore properties in 1950. It extends from a line east of Southland Avenue westward to Clifton and Childress Avenues and from Loughborough northward to St. Louis Hills No. 3.
In 1945, Willmore was appointed to the City Plan Commission and in 1946 he donated 70 acres to the City for park use. Combined with adjacent City-owned property, this became Willmore Park in 1947. Cyrus Crane Willmore died on April 11, 1949, thus ending a colorful career in urban development. Over the years, St. Louis Hills and its Estates have been exceptionally well maintained and continue to improve their beautiful environment. An important factor in this has been the Lawn and Garden Awards which were initiated in 1971 by the St. Louis Hills Home Owners Association. From this friendly competition has resulted in an improved appearance which benefits the entire area. As an expression of this proud heritage, the residents of St. Louis Hills will observe the fiftieth anniversary of their subdivision by planting 50 Hawthorn trees in Francis Park.
An interesting historical record of a neighborhood's past can be found in the names of its streets, which memorialize prominent citizens and landowners. Among the landholders who are commemorated by street names in the Southwest Area are James McCausland, James V. Prather, Joseph Weil, Louis Finkman, Adele Tholozan, Wesley Watson, William L. and Solomon P. Sublette and James D. Fyler. Surveyors and engineers are represented by John M. Loughborough, who was Surveyor-General of Missouri and Illinois in the 1850's; James Macklind, Mackay Wherry, H. C. Hilgard and Edmond Kinsey. Subdivider's names include Bradley, Smiley, Scanlan, Rudolph Moellenhoff, Wenzlick, Donovan and Cyrus Crane Willmore. Sam T. Rathell, the developer of Lindenwood, is said to have asked his wife, Oleatha, to suggest street names for his subdivision. She complied by naming one for herself; another for Lindenwood College, her Alma Mater, Marquette for the public school her children attended and Mardel for Delmar, the street on which she resided. Another story concerns Everard Horton, who owned a farm in what later became Southampton, and named one of his lanes after his home in the English county of Devonshire. Apparently this is also the derivation for Nottingham, Lansdowne and Sutherland. Bancroft Avenue is thought to be named for George Bancroft, the noted American historian and statesman who died in 1891. Two prominent Americans of the 1880's who are commemorated are General Winfield Scott Hancock, a Union general in the Civil War and Democratic presidential nominee in 1880, and Chester Alan Arthur, the Republican vice-president, who succeeded to the presidency after the assassination of James A. Garfield in 1881. Both Hancock and Arthur died in 1886, shortly before the opening of the Harlem Place subdivision. Another politician whose name survives on a street is John B. Walsh, the first mayor of Carondelet, whose founder Delor, is also commemorated. Among the farmers remembered are John J. Murdoch and Jacob Tamm. In a patriotic gesture during World War I, Kaiser Street was renamed Gresham, in honor of one of the first local soldiers to be killed in France. Additional street name changes involved Wiesehahn to Bonita, Clark Road to Eichelberger, Des Peres to Arthur and Lake to Ivanhoe, both of the latter two occurring in the early 1880's. Two important streets in the area are Hampton and Jamieson Avenues. The former was so named as the western most street in the Southampton subdivision and the latter is named for Will and James Jamieson, who were early residents of Harlem Place. Reber Place was named for Samuel Reber, a St. Louis lawyer and landowner and Frisco Avenue was obviously named for the nearby railroad. Sulphur Avenue takes its name because it was the road to David W. Graham's sulphur spring, near Manchester Road. Clifton Avenue is a southern extension of a street of the same name in the Clifton Heights subdivision. Itaska Street gets its title from a lake in Minnesota and Neosho is named for a river in Kansas. Vienna and Prague Avenues were apparently named by someone in the Willmore Organization who had an affection for European cities. An important north-south thoroughfare through the area is named for Derrick A. January, who developed an addition in the Sulphur Spring tract about 1856. Another early landholder whose name survives on a street is John Dalton, who owned property on Arsenal Street Road during the 1860's. A beneficial by-product of the construction of Highway 44 was the elimination of the dangerous Fyler Street Bridge, which had been the scene of numerous fatal automobile accidents.
The Southwest Area is well endowed with public recreation facilities befitting a primarily residential neighborhood. First of the public parks in this area to be acquired by the City was Francis Park. This 60.39 acre tract was donated to the City as a Christmas gift in 1916 by David Rowland Francis, former mayor, governor and president of the World's Fair in 1904. As the park and its surroundings then consisted of vacant rural land, it was not developed until St. Louis Hills was built up around it in the 1930's. Much of the work was done with the aid of Federal Relief Administration Funds. They constructed the long lily pool, football and softball fields, a wading pool, tennis courts, a shelter house, picnic grounds and walkways, as well as gardening and landscaping. Francis Park is bounded by Nottingham Avenue on the north, Tamm Avenue on the east, Eichelberger Street on the south and Donovan Avenue on the west. One of the largest parks in the Southwest Area is Willmore Park, which extends along the eastern edge of the River des Peres drainage works from a point near Gravois to Eichelberger Street, it then follows a rambling line to the west of St. Louis Hills Estates to Loughborough and Jamieson Avenues and thence southward along Jamieson and Hampton Avenues. Seventy acres of its 105 acre area were donated to the City by the Cyrus Crane Willmore Organization in 1946, the balance being land previously acquired by the City. It was named in honor of Willmore in 1947 and has since been improved with lakes, picnic grounds and recreational facilities.
Along the City limits on the western edge of the area is the River des Peres Park and parkway extending from Morganford Road to Lansdowne Avenue. This 145 acre park area was acquired by the City by purchase in 1934.
Lindenwood Park and playground, which is bounded by Jamieson, Pernod and Prather Avenues and Lindenwood Place, covers 14.08 acres and was purchased by the City in 1947 for $81,000.
Rosalie Tilles Memorial Park, on Hampton Avenue between Fyler and Marquette Avenues, is 29 acres in area and was purchased by the City in 1957 for $380,000. It is bounded on the east by the Campau subdivision which was platted in 1952. The park was purchased with money from the Rosalie Tilles Children's Playground and Park Fund, which was established from proceeds of the sale of a former City park of the same name in St. Louis County.
The oldest Roman Catholic parish in the Southwest Area is that of Our Lady of Sorrows. Its name is particularly appropriate for its origin, which took place in the Cemetery of Saints Peter and Paul. The parish was founded by Rev. S. A. Stolte on October 20, 1907, and its first services were held in the cemetery chapel. A small parochial school building was built for the parish by a real estate agent in 1908. On October 20, 1911, a combination church, school and hall was dedicated by Archbishop Glennon. At that time, only 70 families comprised the parish, which covered a broad area. In later years, the parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. George, and St. Mary Magdalen were created out of the large parish of Our Lady of Sorrows. The present Romanesque church at 5831 South Kingshighway was dedicated on February 12, 1927. In style, it is a replica of a typical Italian basilica, with narthex, clerestory and campanile. It is built of buff brick with red terra cotta trim. The colonnaded front portico was an innovation among St. Louis churches at the time of its erection. In the interior the church is notable for its flat coffered ceiling and its mosaic altar and dome. Built at an original cost of $250,000, the church was designed by architect Adolph F. Stauder. The present parochial school at 5841 South Kingshighway was opened in 1952 and in 1963 a new rectory was built at 5020 Rhodes Avenue. In September, 1919, the parish of St. Mary Magdalen was created from a portion of Our Lady of Sorrows parish. It was formed by Father John J. Thompson to serve the Southampton area. Father Thompson purchased a residence in the district in 1920 for use as a parochial school. The present school at 4323 South Kingshighway was erected in 1925 and enlarged in 1956. The Gothic church edifice at Kingshighway and Bancroft was completed in 1940.
The parish of St. Joan of Arc was created in 1941 and in the same year its parochial school was opened. The school was rebuilt in 1948 and considerably enlarged in 1966. The present church at 5801 Pernod Avenue was dedicated in 1959. The school is located at 5821 Pernod and the convent at Sulphur and Pernod, was completed in 1956. The parish of St. Gabriel the Archangel was organized in May, 1934, with about 150 families. Rev. Francis H. Skaer was installed as its first pastor. Initial services were held in the Willmore real estate office at Nottingham and Donovan, until the completion of a one-story school building on Tamm Avenue near Nottingham in June, 1935. A basement auditorium in the school was used for worship at that time. The parish school opened in September, 1935, and in 1939 a second floor was added to the structure. The school was again enlarged by the addition of a new wing in 1946. Ground was broken for the present church at Nottingham and Tamm Avenues on March 5, 1950, and it was dedicated by Archbishop Ritter on October 28, 1951. The white stone contemporary Gothic edifice was designed by architects A. F. and Arthur Stauder. While traditional ecclesiastical design features have been retained, the structure's plan is unique in that trusses have replaced the usual columns in the nave. This provides for a fan-shaped seating arrangement with unobstructed visibility from all parts of the sanctuary. In 1955, a new convent was completed at Tamm and Murdoch Avenues and in 1962, the new parish hall and gymnasium was erected.
In 1950, the parish of St. Raphael the Archangel was created from a portion of St. Gabriel's and Our Lady of Sorrows parishes. Ground was broken on January 21, 1951, for a combination school and church building at Jamieson Avenue and Highfield Road in St. Louis Hills. This building was used for church services until the present church building was dedicated in 1966. At that time, the old church space in the school was converted into a gymnasium. Architects for the Georgian Revival style church edifice were A. F. and Arthur Stauder.
About 1914, Lutheran families in the Southampton subdivision began a move to organize a church. After a canvass of the neighborhood by students from Concordia Seminary in 1916, a mission was opened there by the Synodical Mission Board. A lot was purchased at Macklind Avenue and Itaska Street, but it was later traded for the present site at the southwest corner of Neosho Street and Brannon Avenue. The congregation's first home was a portable chapel, its dedication on October 8, 1916, marking the inception of Hope Lutheran Church. After being served by students from Concordia, the church's first pastor. Rev. Martin Engel, took charge in January, 1917. In 1921, a parsonage was built and the chapel was moved to the rear of the lot to make room for the future church. A basement chapel was dedicated on April 27, 1922, and a Christian day school was opened in 1923. After razing the basement chapel, ground was broken for the present church on April 27, 1930. The combined church and school building was dedicated on January 18, 1931. It was designed by Theodore Steinmeyer in the Lombard Romanesque style, in a departure from the prevalent Gothic style of Lutheran churches in St. Louis. It is built of brick with limestone trim, embellished with tile. An open belfry, surmounted by a cross, dominates the structure.
Ascension Lutheran Church at 6501 Eichelberger Street, at Donovan Avenue, was established in 1936. The congregation held its services in the Willmore Organization's real estate office building at Nottingham and Donovan Avenues until the construction of the present church edifice in 1940. The existing school building was erected in 1951, with additions in 1956 and 1958.
Timothy Lutheran Church was founded in 1927 and its first building was a frame chapel that was completed at the southwest corner of Ivanhoe and Fyler Avenues in August of that year. Between 1948 and 1960, services were held in a ground level parish hall at 6718 Fyler. The present church was completed in 1960 and a new organ and air conditioning were installed in 1962. Additional frontage on Fyler has been acquired for parking and future expansion.
Gethsemane Lutheran Church at 3600 Hampton Avenue at Pernod, began as a Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church at 1311 California Avenue in 1894. A move to the present location was made in the late 1940's when the first section of the present church building was completed in 1947. The church, which is a member of the Lutheran Church in America, erected a new section to its edifice in 1962.
The formation of a Baptist church in Lindenwood was the result of a meeting of interested members in a house at 6939 Sutherland Avenue in May, 1932. Lindenwood Baptist Church was organized on July 7, 1932, and built a basement church in the area, which was used for five years. In 1937, the congregation purchased the former Lindenwood Turner Hall at 6932 Lansdowne Avenue and converted it to religious use. It is now used as the church gymnasium. Lindenwood Baptists' present sanctuary was dedicated on June 26, 1955, and in 1962 it dedicated an adjacent three story educational building.
The Watson Terrace Christian Church at 4205 Watson Road was formed in September, 1952, as the result of a merger between the Clifton Heights and Winona Christian churches. Clifton Heights Christian Church was the older of the two predecessor churches. It was organized in 1907 by several potential members who resided in the sparsely settled vicinity of Tamm and Marmaduke Avenues. A small meeting house was donated by members and in 1908, the first pastor, Rev. Elihu Harris, was installed. He served as pastor for 37 years until his death in 1945 at the age of 93. In 1909, an addition was built with material that was salvaged from the World's Fair. Three years later a kitchen, baptistry and basement were added. After World War II, it was decided that the facility was inadequate, and upon learning that the Winona Christian Church was in similar straits, an invitation to discuss their mutual problems was extended. This eventually resulted in the merger of the two churches. Winona Christian Church was organized in May, 1932, and held its first services in the Harmony Masonic Temple at 4621 South Kingshighway. The new church was named Southampton Christian Church. In October, 1932, a store building at 4618 Macklind Avenue was rented to house the church, but the congregation was forced to vacate the premises in October, 1935. Later, it met at 4619 Macklind until a building at Winona and Hereford was purchased and repaired. Dedication services were held there on November 1, 1936, at which time the name of Winona was adopted. By 1950, the building proved to be too small and the congregation joined with the Clifton Heights Church in 1952. Until a new church could be built, the combined groups met at the Alhambra Grotto for the next two years. A site at Watson Road and Winnebago Street was purchased and the present name was adopted because of its location in the Watson Terrace subdivision. A new educational building was dedicated there in March, 1955, and served as the church's home for the next ten years. In November, 1961, the architectural firm of Frederick Dunn and Associates was hired to prepare plans for a new church sanctuary. Dedication ceremonies were held on May 24, 1964, and in 1969, the Prayer Chapel, designed by Nolan L. Stinson, was completed.
Immanuel Congregational Church, on the northeast corner of Jamieson and Marquette Avenues, was founded in 1891. Its first meeting place was in a residence at 6739 Hancock Avenue which was later remodeled for religious purposes and had a bell tower added to strengthen its church-like appearance. The present church building at 3960 Jamieson Avenue was completed in 1925. It was remodeled and a new facade was built about 1962.
Holy Ghost United Church of Christ is one of the oldest German churches in St. Louis, dating back to 1833, when it held its first services in a church at Fourth Street and Washington Avenue. Several moves were made during the church's early years; first to Seventh and Clark in 1840, then to Eighth and Walnut in 1860, and to Grand and Page in 1895. It remained at the latter location until 1923 when changes in the neighborhood made another move necessary. For the next few years, services were held at Kleekamp's Hall at Grand and Arsenal and at the B'nai El Temple in the Shaw area. The first unit of the present church at 4916 Mardel Avenue was completed in 1927, at which time it was a congregation of the Evangelical Synod. The present sanctuary was erected in front of the older unit in 1950. Holy Ghost Church formerly operated the Picker Cemetery, on the present site of Roosevelt High School, from 1846 until 1917. Hope United Church of Christ started in a frame building of the Nottingham School in 1943. In 1948, a chapel was built at the present site at Tamm Avenue and Eichelberger Street. The present sanctuary at that location was dedicated in 1958.
A congregation with a long and varied history is the Union United Methodist Church at Watson Road and Pernod Avenue. It traces its origin back to 1845 when Methodism became divided over the issue of slavery. A few adherents of the northern branch formed Ebenezer Chapel, which fought a losing battle for survival and finally disbanded in 1861.
In January, 1862, a group of prominent Methodists purchased the former Union Presbyterian Church at Eleventh and Locust Streets and organized the appropriately named Union Methodist Church at that location. During the Civil War, an American flag that was flown from the church required an armed guard to prevent Southern sympathizers from hauling it down. In 1882, the church moved to a new building on "Piety Hill" at Garrison and Lucas Avenues. Despite a bad fire in 1911, the church remained there until 1915 when another move was made to a former Congregational church at 3610 Delmar Boulevard. A changing neighborhood and dwindling attendance brought about another move in 1952, when Union Church merged with Christ Methodist Church at the present location. Christ Methodist was formed by members of the Harlem Place Church after that church was forced to move because of the widening of Jamieson Avenue. Harlem Place was a subdivision developer in 1888 by a former Methodist minister, Leander Hallock, who retired in 1875, came to St. Louis and opened a real estate company. Harlem Place, which fronted on the south side of Fyler Avenue from Ivanhoe to the Frisco Railway, extended southward beyond Hancock Avenue. As in all of Hallock's additions, a lot was reserved for a church, in this case at the southwest corner of Jamieson and Fyler. The church was named for the subdivision, which in turn received its name from Hallock's early association with the Dutch district of Harlem in his home state of New York. The first religious services were held in a house at 6927 Fyler Avenue, but by May, 1890, a frame church was consecrated. While damaged by the tornado of May 27, 1896, the church was rebuilt and continued to grow and ten years later a parsonage was added. Further growth required enlargement of the building in 1923. Upon learning of the City's plans to widen Jamieson Avenue, the church purchased its present site and in 1945 the architectural firm of Froese, Maack and Becker was engaged to draw plans for the new building. Ground was broken for the first unit on June 26, 1949, and the church was incorporated as Christ Methodist in the following October. After the merger with Union Church in June, 1952, it was announced that the name Union would be adopted for the combined congregation. On February 21, 1954, the cornerstone for the new sanctuary unit was laid with Bishop Ivan Lee Holt officiating. In 1959, the former parsonage was converted into an educational unit and in 1967 another unit consisting of a gymnasium and classrooms was added.
Southampton Presbyterian Church was organized on July 13, 1913. At first it worshiped in a plumbing shop at Devonshire and Macklind Avenues. In 1916, a brick chapel was built at the present site at Nottingham and Macklind. Between 1925 and 1942, the basement of the present church was used for religious purposes. The present church sanctuary was dedicated in 1942 and an educational unit was added in 1959.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church at 5905 Loughborough Avenue was organized at a meeting in a frame building at the Busch School on June 16, 1949. Its members were originally from the Southampton Presbyterian Church. From 1950 until 1959 services were held in a building at 6933 Hampton Avenue. St. Andrew's present modern church edifice was completed in 1960.
The beginning of St. Mark's Protestant Episcopal Church can be traced to St. Andrew's Mission, which began holding services in Willmore's real estate office in 1936. On September 27, 1936, the Mount Calvary Episcopal Church at 3661 DeTonty Street, combined with the mission and services were then held in a portable building at the Nottingham School. In 1938, St. Andrew's Mission and Holy Innocents Church, then at Morganford Road and Tholozan Avenue, joined to form St. Mark's Memorial Mission. In 1939, the present St. Mark's Church at 4712 Clifton Avenue was completed from plans by the architectural firm of Nagel and Dunn. It was one of the first modern style churches in the United States and its facade has sculptures by Sheila Burlingame. St. Mark's became an official parish of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Missouri in 1947.
The Second Church of Christ Scientist at 5807 Murdoch Avenue, was originally located at 4234 Washington Boulevard, where it remained until 1935. Between 1935 and 1941, services were held at the Harmony Masonic Temple at Kingshighway and Murdoch. In March, 1941, Second Church occupied its present home at Murdoch and Sulphur Avenues.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 4720 Jamieson Avenue, is the first church building erected by Mormons in St. Louis. This colonial style edifice was completed in 1949 at a cost of $165,000. Before occupying their new home, the Mormons here had a rather uncertain existence dating back to 1831. During the period of their great westward migration to Utah in the mid-nineteenth century, many of them stayed here for sometime, numbering as many as 4,000 about 1850. The modern revival of the Mormons in St. Louis occurred in 1896 when they began holding meetings. Their first church was in a store at 4265 Easton Avenue in 1907. In 1916, they purchased an old church at 5195 Maple Avenue, where they remained until the erection of their new home in St. Louis Hills.
St. Thomas Romanian Orthodox Church at 6501 Nottingha Avenue was completed in 1959 at the former location of Cyrus Crane Willmore's real estate office building. The congregation was located at 5624 South Compton Avenue from 1947 to 1959 and prior to that, it had been at 1427 Missou Avenue since 1941.
Because of the relatively undeveloped character of Southwest Area, public schools were not established then until well into the twentieth century. The nearest school in the earlier years was the Grandview School on Watson Road south of Arsenal Street, which was opened in 1881. It was a typical one-room rural school house of that period. Ten years later, the Longfellow School was opened at Smiley and Ivanhoe Avenues and for some years it was the elementary school that was attended by children from Lindenwood and Harlem Place. By 1912, the Lindenwood area was sufficiently built up to warrant the establishment of a school, and three portable buildings were erected on the present site at 3815 McCausland Avenue. The present brick Lindenwood School was designed by architect R. M. Milligan and was completed in 1929. In 1920, the present Susan R. Buder School at 5319 Lansdowne Avenue superseded portables in the Southampton area. It was also designed by Milligan and had an addition erected in 1927. It was named for a well-known advocate of children's playgrounds.
The Samuel M. Kennard School at 5031 Potomac Street was opened in 1930. It was designed by George W. Sanger and is named for a well-known St. Louis merchant.
In 1938, the Edward Mallinckrodt School was completed at 6012 Pernod Avenue as a P.W.A. project. It was also designed by Sanger and is named after the noted philanthropist and founder of the Mallinckrodt Chemical Company.
Two schools, identical in plan, opened in 1952 and replaced former portable buildings on their sites. These were the Nottingham School at 4915 Donovan Avenue and the Adolphus Busch School at 5910 Clifton Avenue, which is named for the famous brewer. Both of these buildings were designed by architect F. Ray Leimkuehler.
Although it is located slightly north of the boundary of this district, Southwest High School is so well identified with the southwestern part of the City, that it should be mentioned here. The original portion of the high school was completed in 1936 from plans by architect George W. Sanger. In 1957, an addition was made on its northern side and in 1964 the three-sided section on Kingshighway, enclosing an outdoor court, was constructed. Originally, the site of Southwest High School was part of the campus of Kemper College, an Episcopalian institution, which was opened in 1838. It was closed in 1845 due to financial difficulties and later some of its buildings were used as the County Poor House. Around the turn of the century, the present high school site was occupied by Koerner's Summer Garden.
Bishop Louis DuBourg High School was originally located in several buildings at Jefferson Barracks beginning about 1950. It remained there until 1954, when the present building at 5850 Eichelberger Street was completed from plans by architects Murphy and Mackey. At the time of its erection, DuBourg High School was said to be the largest structure to be built in the Archdiocese of St. Louis since the completion of the New Cathedral in 1914. The school's seventeen acre site had been purchased earlier by the late Cardinal Glennon. The completed school building was dedicated by Archbishop Ritter on September 12, 1954. At that time it had a capacity of 1600 students and in 1956 it was enlarged by a twentyroom annex at its western end, increasing the capacity to 2,200.
The present Methodist Children's Home at 3715 Jamieson Avenue, was founded in Warrenton, Missouri, in 1864 as a refuge for orphans who were displaced by the Civil War. It later moved to St. Louis and occupied the former Cupples Mansion on Maryland Avenue near Newstead. It was also located on Waterman near DeBaliviere Avenue before occupying its present quarters in 1951.
The Susan R. Buder branch of the St. Louis Public Library has been located in their own building at 5320 Hampton Avenue since 1961. Prior to that, it was housed in the Buder School on Lansdowne Avenue for many years.
The Harmony Masonic Temple has been located at 4621 South Kingshighway since about 1918. Meridian Masonic Hall at Donovan and Lansdowne Avenues was erected in the late 1950's.
This broad area reaching southward from Fyler Avenue to the City limits was practically all rural in character at the time of the World's Fair in 1904. It was sparsely settled with a few scattered farm houses and only in Lindenwood was there any degree of urbanization. After 1910, it began to develop west of Kingshighway and during the 1920's, subdivision activity became quite widespread throughout the area. By 1950, the area was completely subdivided with the final platting of St. Louis Hills Estates.
Residentially, the area consists of about eighty percent single family dwellings with a scattering of two and four family flats near the main thoroughfares. A concentration of flats and apartments was constructed in Willmore's St. Louis Hills No. 4, bounded by Hampton, Loughborough and Jamieson Avenues. Another such area is in Chippewa-Hampton Park, east of Hampton from Lindenwood to Pernod. Chippewa Street is lined with flats from Kingshighway to Brannon, from Macklind to Sulphur and west of Jamieson Avenue. About 1952, an extensive apartment development was constructed west of the River des Peres Park, north of Weil Avenue. Willmore also reserved the Nottingham Avenue frontage from Hampton to Donovan for multiple dwelling construction.
Probably the earliest commercial activity in this area was generated by the presence of the Southampton and Cherokee streetcar lines. A small commercial area grew up around the Southampton loop at Macklind and Devonshire Avenues and along Kingshighway south of Chippewa about 1910. Similarly, business uses developed near Gravois and Kingshighway about the same time. Further development along Kingshighway southward from Fyler materialized in the 1930's when the "automobile row" relocated there from its former location on Locust Street west of downtown. A survey in 1974 disclosed that most of the area's residents do their own shopping there and that they appreciated the convenience of the neighborhood shopping facilities.
Another early shopping district was in Lindenwood along Ivanhoe Avenue near Fyler. Since World War II, intensive commercial strip development has occurred along Hampton Avenue, Chippewa Street and Watson Road, largely as a result of nearby residential buildup. A considerable part of this involves drive-in business which has been created by the phenomenal increase in automotive use since the war. Hampton Village is the largest shopping center in the area and probably the oldest one in Missouri. At the time of its development in 1939 by Harold Brinkop, it was unique because it consisted of a single building with off-street parking around the store. Even before Hampton or Chippewa were paved, Brinkop purchased land around the intersection and organized the Boulevard Frontage Company to promote the enterprise. The original Hampton Village Market contained twenty stalls which were leased to farmers and merchants. In 1940, the building was sold to Bettendorf's for use as one of the City's first supermarkets and was expanded in 1942. In 1946, Brinkop built colonial styled store and office buildings on the north side of Chippewa and the west side of Hampton. His one-stop auto age shopping center was an instant success and in 1950, the store and medical center structure on the east side of the large parking area was completed, as was the J. C. Penney store building. A "connecting link" between these buildings was added in 1952. A major change in the center occurred in 1962, when the large discount store building was erected, necessitating the razing of the colonial style structure on the west side of Hampton. In recent years another new store was added, the supermarket was extensively remodeled and the parking area was given a face lift and new lighting. Hampton Village, which has changed ownership twice since 1950, now has 27 stores, 65 offices with 220,000 square feet of floor space and parking for 2,000 cars.
Another sphere of commercial importance surrounds Famous Barr's Southtown store, which was opened in 1951.
The principal industrial activity in the Southwest Area in the years before its residential development was the mining of clay for the making of fire brick and related products. A large plant for this purpose was that of Laclede Christy, east of Kingshighway near Delor Street. Operations were begun there as early as 1857, but were not on a major scale until completion of a railroad spur to the plant in 1889. By 1900, five miles of subterranean clay mine passage ways honeycombed the area west of Kingshighway near the present Chippewa Street. One of the last vestiges of this mine was a narrow-gauge railway that ran from the mine head, northwest of Chippewa and Macklind, to the plant on Kingshighway. The right-of-way of this railway traversed an alley between Chippewa and Winona for several blocks east of Macklind. It is now evident in the form of a parkway in the center of this double alley. The development of some subdivisions west of Macklind was delayed to allow for the subsidence of these underground passages years after the mining had ceased.
During the period between 1915 and 1925, the City had plans to create an industrial district along a railroad which was to parallel the east side of the River des Peres Drainage Works. This district would have included the area south of Eichelberger Street from January Avenue west and south to the River des Peres and a large part of the present St. Louis Hills west of Donovan Avenue. After the completion of the drainage works, the railroad plan was abandoned and the area was later subdivided for residential use. At present, the only industrial uses in the area are located on its fringes along major streets.
About 1900, a streetcar line was constructed on Kingshighway, running southward from Vandeventer Avenue to Devonshire Avenue and thence westward to a loop at Macklind Avenue in Southampton. About that same time, the Cherokee line was extended out Gravois to a loop at the present location of Hampton Avenue. Another electric car line, the St. Louis, Lakewood and Grant Park Railway, departed from that same location and ran west into St. Louis County on a private right-of-way. It operated from about 1905 to 1915.
In the early 1920's, the Peoples Motorbus Company began operating a bus line on Kingshighway with a southern terminus at Gravois. This firm was absorbed by the St. Louis Public Service Company, which began a bus line on Chippewa Street in the early 1930's. Bus service on Hampton Avenue began in April, 1940, when a line was operated from the Southampton streetcar loop to Hampton and thence northward to Oakland Avenue. It began running to Hampton and Gravois in July, 1940. A St. Louis Hills bus line also began at the Southampton loop and ran out Nottingham Avenue to Jamieson. It later became a part of the Delor bus line, which was combined with the McCausland line in 1947. When the Southampton car line was abandoned in the 1950's, a substitute bus line was rerouted over Macklind, January and Loughborough Avenues. Bus service to the St. Louis Hills area is now provided by the McCausland-Delor, Loughborough and Lindenwood lines. Express bus service through parts of the area is furnished by the Shrewsbury and Yorkshire lines.
The only railroad near the area is the Frisco Railway, whose main line runs through Lindenwood. Around the turn of the century it operated commuter trains to downtown St. Louis and had a Lindenwood station at Marquette Avenue and a Gratiot station at Scanlan Avenue. That service ceased about 1920. It was the construction of the Frisco line through the area in the late 1880's that brought about the development of Lindenwood and Harlem Place.
Physically, this area is of recent enough origin so as to remain relatively stable in character. The population generally maintains its level, with the possibility of a slight increase if more multiple dwellings are built. There is a predominance of persons of German or Slavic descent in the eastern and southern portions of the district. Properties are generally well-maintained and the percentage of home ownership is quite high. Some of the residential areas are rather suburban in character and are obviously inhabited by families of some affluence, making this one of the City's most desirable living areas
City Plan Commission - "St. Louis After World War II
St. Louis, 1942
City Plan Commission - "Comprehensive City Plan" - St. Louis, 1947
City Plan Commission - "Development Program" - St. Louis, 1973
Community Development Agency - "Staff Analysis" - St. Louis, 1976 Hanses, Joseph J. - "Saint Louis Hills 50th Anniversary" - Saint Louis Home/Garden Magazine - December 1979 Hyde and Conard - "Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis" St. Louis, 1899 Scharf, J. Thomas - "History of St. Louis City and County" St. Louis, 1883 Stevens, Walter B. - "St. Louis, the Fourth City" - St. Louis, 1909 St. Gabriel's Parish - "Silver Jubilee Booklet" - 1959 Union United Methodist Church - "Historical Booklet" - 1975 Watson Terrace Christian Church - "20th Anniversary Booklet 1973