College Hill Neighborhood Overview

Information concerning the neighborhood history, characteristics, institutions and organizations, planning and development.


This Northside neighborhood is bounded by Adelaide Avenue to the East, Warne to the Northwest, Interstate 70 to the Northeast, Ferry Road to the Southeast, and West Florissant to the Southwest.


Before residential development in College Hill began, the area was rural in character and consisted of several large farm estates. The prominent landowners were John O’Fallon, Dr. John Gano Gryan, Edward Hempstead, and Lewis Bissell. The largest landowner in the area was O’Fallon. Much of his 600-acre estate became what are today O’Fallon Park and College Hill. The land was eventually subdivided and platted for residential development in the early 1870s. Construction began in 1880 and lasted until approximately 1920.

In the early 1860s, the city began to outgrow its water facilities and plans were developed to build a new pumping station. The Old Water Tower at East Grand and 20th Street was completed in 1869 and was considered the largest perfect Corinthian column in existence, with a height of 154 feet. The tower was designed by architect George Gingham Barnett.

The Red Water Tower at Bissell Street and Blair Avenue was built in 1887 to augment the Old Water Tower. It was designed by architect W. S. Eames, the assistant city water commissioner. The Red Water Tower stands at 206 feet. Both the Old Water Tower and the Red Water Tower have been designated local and national landmarks, and represent approximately half of such surviving structures in the nation.

Another famous landmark that can be found in the College Hill neighborhood is the old Bissell Mansion at 4426 Randall Place. It was built between 1823 and 1828, situated atop a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. This area is referred to as Bissell’s Point.

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