St Louis North County
St Louis North County
With a population over 1 million and a quarter of the population living in the African-American communities that are divided by Olive Blvd, St Louis North County has much history in its urban communities.
North County St Louis: The Beginning
The original black communities of St Louis County were Kinloch, Robertson, Meachem Park, and even certain areas of Pagedale and Webster Groves.^
Robertson dates back to the 1800s while being the home to former slaves and by the early 1900s many black families moved into an area that had lack certain services and was mostly a rural farm community.^
The community of Robertson, which was once near the cities of Hazelwood and Bridgeton, has since been demolished with the airport expansion buying out most of Robertson, leaving the entire neighborhood vacant.^
The first all-black city west of the Mississippi River, Kinloch was a once thriving black community until the 1980s when the airport bought most of the land for an airport expansion that was never built.
The buyouts took mostly all of the houses and their foundations as well the businesses, leaving only a few housing complexes.
Kinloch originally started out as a segregated black and white community, but changed after problems began to occur among the two groups due to decisions with the school district.^
White families decided to create their own separate community, the city of Berkeley which became a black community during the 1970s.^
Meachem Park became annexed into Kirkwood during the early 1990s, which changed the area into what it is today.^
Many people felt misused by the city of Kirkwood as much of the community became strip malls and shopping centers, while the main purpose of originally joining Kirkwood was the hope to receive help and benefits.^
What started out with blacks only living in their segregated traditional communities of areas like Kinloch and Robertson changed after the destruction of the large and historic black community of Mill Creek Valley.
During the 1960s, black families slowly began relocating into St Louis County in communities like Pine Lawn, Pagedale, or Wellston, in a movement that has continued into today.
St Louis North County: 1980s-1990s
Beginning in the 1980s and 1990s and into the 2000s, apartment complexes helped changed the racial makeup of North St. Louis County.
With the majority of North County’s apartment complexes being located in areas between Parker Road and Lucas-Hunt, these areas slowly became predominantly black from the late 1980s to the early 2000s.
The apartment complexes led many people to move to different parts of the county, due to a number of reasons, whether it was a fear of crime, property values decreasing, or not wanting to be around black residents.
Neighborhoods like Dellwood, Black Jack, Riverview, and Spanish Lake, which were predominantly white before the 1980s, have been taken over by black families.
This has made most communities of North County St Louis that are not in the cities of Florissant or Hazelwood to be predominantly African-American.
St Louis North County St Louis: 2000s
Currently, nearby St Louis city is gentrifying its downtown and business areas, while the older black communities of North St. Louis are declining with a lack of upkeep and the vacant housing crisis in the city that is leading many people are relocating into the county.
The move further into St Louis North County is having some middle-class black families to relocate into St. Charles County or parts of West St. Louis County like in Maryland Heights.
With the city of St. Louis changing, North St. Louis County is slowly declining as most of the shopping areas, restaurants, and other businesses have either gone elsewhere or went out of business.
Many communities in St. Louis County, especially ones that are next to the city-county line, are becoming dilapidated and rundown like Wellston and parts of Jennings.
Apartment complexes along West Florissant and in Spanish Lake are becoming the modern day housing projects, while the lack of businesses outside of liquor and convenient stores is widely needed.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.
^St Louis North County History Source: Wright, John. “St. Louis: Disappearing Black Communities”. Arcadia Publishing. 2004