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.
Image- Site of River Des Peres looking southwest from Eichelberger and Donovan in 1915.
Image- View south on Watson Road from Southwest Avenue in 1918.
Image- Watson Road after widening south of Southwest Avenue in 1926.