Jeff-Vander-Lou Neighborhood Overview
Information concerning the neighborhood history, characteristics, institutions and organizations, planning and development.
The Jeff-Vander-Lou (JVL) neighborhood is situated between North Vandeventer Avenue on the northwest, Natural Bridge avenue on the northeast, North Jefferson Avenue on the East, Delmar Boulevard on the south, and North Compton Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive on the Southwest.
Historically, the majority of the JVL neighborhood is part of an area referred to as the Yeatman area. The area is named for a prominent Tennessee native who relocated to St. Louis in 1842. James E. Yeatman was among the founders of the Mercantile Library Association, a previous president of the Merchants bank, and director of the Western Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. He was well-known among St. Louisans as a philanthropist and civic leader. He resided on East Grand Avenue near Bellefontaine Road.
Since its inception, the area has had a mixture of residential, commercial, and recreational uses completing its character. Past commercial giants that operated facilities in the neighborhood include the Coca-Cola Company, Brown Shoe, and the American Wine Company. Many of the industries once located in the neighborhood are gone today, leaving behind empty shells or vacant sites of demolished buildings. With a majority of its housing of multifamily flat construction having been built in the early part of the 20th century, most of what remains has a serious deterioration problem.
During the days when the JVL neighborhood was on the edge of urban St. Louis, as opposed to being in the thick of it today, it was home to one of the city’s elite private streets, Vandeventer Place. After years of loss due to disinvestment and neglect, the homes on Vandeventer Place were sacrificed and replaced with public institutions. On the eastern edge is the VA Medical Center/John Cochran Division, built in 1947. The city acquired the western portion in 1947 as the site for a children’s detention home. It is also home to one of the area’s most notable historical landmarks of the past: Old Sportsman Park, former home of the St. Louis Browns and the St. Louis Cardinals (currently the site of Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club).