A Jesuit missionary named Father Jacques made the first known reference to the South County area centuries ago. In later years, Europeans trading and traveling westward began to claim land along the Meramec River, and built ferries across it to access frontier settlements and trade centers. In 1764, Pierre LaClede, a French fur trapper, established St. Louis as a trading post on the west banks of the Mississippi River. The purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 secured the land along the Mississippi River for further expansion. The St. Louis area became a vital center for trade up and down the Mississippi River, and many people from the east began to establish permanent settlements. The area was especially popular with German and other middle European immigrants.
As the Midwest grew during the industrial age, St. Louis and its neighboring communities continued to expand. With the construction of Interstates 270, 55, 44 and the Jefferson Barracks Bridge over the Mississippi River, the South County area began to experience steady growth as well, especially during the 1950s post-war baby boom. By the 1970s, the growth in population had become a flood, as people began to take advantage of the great quality in the area.
Today, the South County region represents the interests of nearly 100,000 residents who live in a 44-square mile area in southern St. Louis County (just south of the St. Louis metropolitan region). Among the top 20 metropolitan areas in the United States.