St Louis North County
St Louis North County
With a population over 1 million and a quarter of the population being African-American that is mostly located in St Louis North County, with Delmar being the dividing line between communities, North St Louis County has much history in its urban communities.
Not until the 1960s, with desegregation and the destruction of the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood did communities in St Louis North County begin to constantly gain black residents, even though most did not want to allow blacks to live in certain neighborhoods.^
Before the 60s, there were only a few isolated communities like the historic Kinloch, the first African-American community west of the Mississippi, Robertson, Meachem Park, and even certain areas of Pagedale and Webster Groves.^
Robertson was an old community around the cities of Hazelwood and Bridgeton. The neighborhood dates back to the 1800s, with former slaves. By the early 1900s, many black families moved into the area. An area that had lack certain services and was mostly a rural farm community has since been demolished with the airport expansion buying out most of Robertson, leaving the streets vacant.^
One of the first all-black cities that were west of the Mississippi River is Kinloch, 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 as all of the businesses in the small city of St Louis North County, leaving only a few housing project complexes.
A city that has since been known for having corruption with their mayor and other public officials originally started out as a segregated black and white community, but when problems among the two groups with the school district, the white families decided to separate their area, which would later become Berkeley.
Meachem Park became annexed into Kirkwood in the early 90s, which changed the area into what it is today. Many people felt misused by the city of Kirkwood, with much of the community becoming strip malls and shopping centers, while the main purpose of originally joining the community was hoping they would receive help from Kirkwood.^
Beginning in the 1980s and 1990s and even 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 by 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.
Currently, nearby St. Louis city gentrifying its downtown and business areas, while the older black communities of North St. Louis are becoming less and less with the lack of upkeep and the vacant housing crisis in the city is leading many people are relocating into the county.
What started out with blacks only living in the segregated traditional communities of the Kinloch’s and Robertson’s, then in the 60s with the destruction of Mill Creek Valley relocating people into places like Pine Lawn, Pagedale, or Wellston, the movement into the county is continuing today.
Neighborhoods like Dellwood, Black Jack, Riverview, and Spanish Lake that were mostly predominantly white before the 1980s, have been taken over by black families making most of North St. Louis County, that is not in the cities of Florissant or Hazelwood, to be majority African-American.
The move further into St. Louis 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, especially the ones that were the first to move into St. Louis County during the 80s and 90s.
With the city of St. Louis changing, North St. Louis County is slowly declining. Most of the shopping malls, department stores, restaurants, strip malls, and other businesses have either gone elsewhere or went out of business.
Towns in St. Louis County, especially ones that are next to the city-county line, are becoming dilapidated, apartment complexes along West Florissant and in Spanish Lake are the modern day housing projects since the city demolished most of theirs, and the lack of businesses outside of liquor and convenient stores is 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