The Hill


Railroads and Transit

The only railroad traversing the area is the Oak Hill and Carondelet branch of the Missouri Pacific Lines. It was built in the late 1880's to connect the railroad's mainline with the Iron Mountain tracks in Carondelet.

For many years the only transit service to the area was provided by two streetcar lines. One was the Tower Grove line on Arsenal Street and Southwest Avenue. It began as a horse car line of the Gravois Railway Company running out Arsenal as far as Grand. In the early 1890's it became a branch of the Union Depot Railway and was electrified and extended on Arsenal to Kingshighway, serving Koerner's Garden and amusement park, which was located on the present site of Southwest High School. By the time of the 1904 World's Fair, the line reached westward to its loop at Tamm and Columbia Avenues. The other route serving the area was the Southhampton car line on Kingshighway, south from vandeventer. It was originally a branch of the Missouri Street Railroad Company and was extended out Vandeventer from Tower Grove Avenue and thence south on Kingshighway about 1897. In 1924, the Peoples Motor Bus Company began operating its Lindenwood bus line on Vandeventer and Southwest Avenues, to provide direct service downtown. This company, which was later absorbed by the Public Service Street Railways, also established a bus line terminating on the "Hill" at Shaw and Edwards, and running eastward on Shaw and Lafayette, began operations.

With an original ethnic mix in this area of Germans, Italians, minor numbers of other nationalities and blacks, the major national groups became diluted through inter-marriages and changed because of decentralization of the population. The Italian-American character of the "Hill" has retained its entity despite these changes, largely through its close religious affiliation with St. Ambrose Church. A neighborhood improvement association was begun as a part of the City's bicentenial activity. A civic organization known as Hill 2000 was incorporated in 1970, and has drawn considerable attention to the area through their "Hill Days", proceeds from which are used to promote housing for new residents and for neighborhood improvements.


Image- The Hill Day Crowd in 1979.