South County Life

History of the South County Area

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.

Arts and Culture

 

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, housed in Powell Symphony Hall, is recognized as an ensemble of the highest caliber. Dance St. Louis, located in the Premier Arts and Entertainment district, brings national and international professional dance companies, from American Ballet Theater to STOMP. The Fabulous Fox Theater (magnificently restored with its original jeweled house curtain and original chandelier) is located in Grand Center, and has seen performers such as Nat “King” Cole, Bob Hope and the Big Bands of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. Today, it hosts popular musicians and Broadway musicals.

For Broadway and opera lovers, The Muny Opera in Forest Park is a 12,000-seat outdoor amphitheater set in beautiful surroundings, featuring summertime Broadway musicals at the country’s oldest and largest musical theater. In addition, The Opera Theater of St. Louis, one of the country’s premiere opera companies, has been offering innovative performances for over 27 years. All productions are sung in English by some of the country’s most exciting young singers.

The Repertory Theater of St. Louis has developed a reputation for producing live theater of uncompromising quality. The St. Louis Black Repertory Company, housed in the renovated Grandel Theater, produces six productions each season by both established and emerging playwrights.

Thousands of visitors also attend many of the region’s great museums. The Missouri History Museum, on the site of the main entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair, was built in memory of Thomas Jefferson. It houses a variety of exhibits and educational resources that focus on the history of the St. Louis region, the state of Missouri and the American West. The Old Courthouse was the scene of many rallies, speeches and several important trials, including the suit by Dred Scott for freedom from slavery and Suffragist Virginia Louisa Minor for the right to vote. The restored courthouse (originally built in 1839) has a beautifully decorated dome, fascinating dioramas and an informational film gallery.

The Palace of Fine Arts Building houses The St. Louis Art Museum. The Beaux Arts-style building is one of only two permanent structures remaining from the 1904 World’s Fair. Located in scenic Forest Park, the museum’s collection features over 30,000 works, including a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, recreated Period Rooms, Pre-Columbian figures, suits of armor, Renaissance masterpieces and Impressionist paintings.

The St. Louis Science Center serves as a bridge between scientist and layperson, encouraging an understanding of ecology and the environment, humanity, technology and how each interrelates. Located in Forest Park, the Science Center offers many exhibits and attractions. Some of the most popular attractions include a Planetarium Theater, an Aviation Gallery, an Info Machines Gallery, a Structures Galley (where visitors can rebuild the Gateway Arch) and a 700-foot, glass-enclosed bridge over Interstate 64 with inset glass floor panels and guns to clock oncoming traffic.

The newly expanded Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum has more than 100 exhibits. The Magic House features a summer camp for six- to 11-year olds in week long sessions beginning early July and continuing through mid-August.

Commerce

 The business environment in the South County region is as progressive as it is diverse. Many national and international firms are proud to make their home here. They realize the advantages of doing business here; strong civic leadership, highly educated and motivated workforce, and a diverse customer base, all lead to long-term success! Employers know that the local labor force here is as skilled as anywhere in the nation. The South County area manufactures a wide variety of products and provides an equally varied amount of professional services. Within St. Louis County alone, there are nearly 4,000 branches or subsidiaries of Fortune 1000 companies 

Education & Worship

Education

There are five public school systems within the South County area: Affton School District, Bayless School District, Hancock Place School District, Lindbergh School District and Mehlville School District. The Mehlville School District encompasses the communities of Mehlville, Oakville, Concord and Lemay, and serves the educational needs of about 12,000 children.


The quality of the educational programs administered by all districts is second to none. From pre-school to college, classes are focused on life-long learning and targeted towards ensuring the educational success of each student.


Oakville Senior High School serves students from the Oakville and Washington Junior High schools. The Arthur Voerg Commons area is a spectacular three-story gathering place and focal point for the school. The lighted athletic stadium hosts football, track, baseball and soccer. OHS also features state-of-the-art science and technology facilities.


Mehlville Senior High School is the most used campus in the district. Its students have access to its swimming pool and a new science wing. The school provides Internet access, a computer lab and coordinated technology throughout the building. Mehlville Senior provides an IEP diploma for students with special educational needs. Gifted students enroll in the Challenge Program, and take advanced placement courses through St. Louis University, University of Missouri at St. Louis, Missouri Baptist College and St. Louis Community College.


Lindbergh Schools focus is on providing world-class education and consistently ranks as the top school district in the state for student achievement.  We offer a complete curriculum in honors and advanced placement classes as well as the rigorous International Baccalaureate Program.  Other information includes a graduation rate of 94.8%, college enrollment rate of 91.7%, and an enrollment of 6000 students. We are also known for our strong and dynamic fine arts and gifted education programs.  Our LiNC program has equipped all classrooms with digital equipment and all teachers have been   trained to Elite II or III technology standards. All buildings have Wi-Fi available for student use.


The school districts also provide technical and vocational education for high school students, including COE, Industrial Technology and programs in conjunction with the Applied Technology School of St. Louis County. The Special School District serves South County students with special needs.


For students interested in alternative educational options, South County has many private schools, including Lutheran High School, Vianney High School for boys, Notre Dame for girls, and Thomas Jefferson School, which provides college preparatory programs for grades seven through 12.


Continuing education is offered at The South County Education Center (SCEC), an off-campus site of St. Louis Community College. It is a full-service facility for the more than 3,000 students each semester. SCEC has a computer lab available for student use and a Study Skills Center staffed with professional tutors. It also offers The Ruth Moellenhoff Memorial Book Scholarship to assist in the purchase of textbooks.


Worship

 South St. Louis County is dotted with buildings of worship that represent many faith communities. Its residents have the opportunity to worship with any of more than 20 different denominations. Protestant churches in the area provide active ministries to adults and youth, and operate several schools. Likewise, Catholic churches in South County supplement their worship activities with parochial schools for parishioners. The spires that reach to the heavens above South County represent a strong and vibrant worship community. 

Fire & Police

 

FIRE

Mehlville Fire Protection District provides fire protection and emergency medical services to a population of 110,000 residents in fifty-two square miles of South St. Louis County. The District consists of seven fire stations with seven engine companies including two 75’ aerial ladders. The District also supports five advanced life support ambulances, an all-terrain pumper, a heavy rescue squad and a 100’ aerial platform. The District consists of 131 Firefighters, Fire/Medics, Paramedics and Administrative Personnel and responds to approximately 13,000 calls annually. The Fire Prevention Bureau currently performs approximately 4,200 inspections annually and works under the regulations of the 2009 editions of the International Building Code and International Fire Code. The District currently holds an Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating of Protection Class Three.

The Mehlville Fire Protection District is one of the finest fire and emergency medical services in St. Louis County due to the dedication and devotion of the men and women who serve District residents. MFPD is committed to protecting life and property by delivering quality fire, rescue, safety and emergency medical services to the citizens who live and work in Mehlville Fire Protection District.


POLICE

“The mission of the St. Louis County Police Department is to work cooperatively with the public, and within the framework of the Constitution, to enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear and provide a safe environment in our neighborhoods.” 

We of the St. Louis County Police are unique in both our origin and mission. We remain to this date the only County Police Department within the State of Missouri.

Our Department began with 95 police officers and 18 civilian employees. We have since grown to become the third largest provider of local law enforcement in the State and now have an authorized strength of over 835 commissioned officers as well as over 250 civilian members.

The Department continues to embrace technological advances to improve the quality of police work. The Department is now operating on its third-generation of Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD). Patrol cars are equipped with computers, and the Department’s MOBILENET system provides officers with access to criminal records, digitized mug shots and police report files. The Crime Lab has also been a beneficiary of new technology, ranging from state-of-the-art DNA examination to DRUGFIRE, which is a firearms identification program.

One thing that has not changed over all these years is our commitment expressed in our motto: To Serve and Protect

Healthcare

 

The state’s emphasis on quality health care and healthy lifestyle choices combined with outdoor activities year-round, means that Missouri has one of the highest life expectancy rates and lowest infant mortality rates nationwide. State and local government are committed to providing the most comprehensive health care for all inhabitants. In South County, residents have convenient access to nearby community hospitals, a variety of clinics and HMOs, and a coordinated network of emergency services that provide state-of-the-art medical services.

St. Anthony’s Medical Center is a full-service hospital that offers diagnostic and therapeutic services with a broad range of specialties; including cardiology, oncology, maternity, orthopedics, emergency, chemical dependency and psychiatry. As a member of Unity Health (a network of hospitals, doctors and health care professionals), St. Anthony’s serves individuals and organizations in the greater St. Louis area.

More about South County

Industry

South County boasts a well-balanced economy and progressive business atmosphere. In addition to a broad-based retail establishment, the community is the source of a wide range of manufactured products. A large part of South County’s economic success is due to the commerce generated by an industrial sector that includes dozens of diverse manufacturers that produce a broad spectrum of products for export around the world.


The dozens of large, well-known manufacturing companies located throughout the region are divided into several different manufacturing fields not dominated by one industry, allowing for balanced expansion in the future.

Tourism & Recreation

Tourism 

There are hundreds of things to see and do in and around the South County area. Millions of visitors come here every year to attend local professional sporting events, participate in tours and visit national monuments.

The Gateway Arch, one of the most recognized monuments in the world, stands on the banks of the Mississippi River just east of downtown St. Louis in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. The 630-foot-high stainless steel structure was built in 1966 to commemorate the westward expansion of the United States. The Underground Visitor’s Center in the Museum of Westward Expansion lies at the Arch’s foundation, and a passenger tram carries visitors to the observation room at the top.

Baseball fans flock to the new Busch Stadium and enjoy watching the 2011 World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Class A River City Rascals also have a loyal following of baseball enthusiasts. On the gridiron, the St. Louis Rams battle for NFL dominance in front of nearly 70,000 fans at the Edward Jones Dome. The Savvis Center is home to the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues. For race fans, Gateway International Raceway features a 1.25-mile oval track as well as a NHRA drag strip.

Tours of the Anheuser-Busch headquarters take visitors through part of America’s brewing heritage. Visitors can tour the historic Brew House, the Bevo Packaging Plant and the century-old stables of the Budweiser Clydesdales.

The remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico are preserved within the 2,200-acre tract of the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, located a few miles east of South County in Illinois. Here lie the archaeological remnants of the ancient city of Cahokia, which was inhabited about 700 AD to 1400 AD and covered nearly six-square miles.

The Great River Road has been designated part of a 50-mile National Scenic Byway. The official name of the road will be the “Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway” for the Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi River confluences. Only 20 other roadways in America have received the scenic byway designation.

One of the top sculpture parks in the nation, Laumeier Sculpture Park is a 116-acre venue for contemporary artists’ sculptures. It presents sculptures created from and interacting with the environment and the exhibit extends from the museum onto lawns and woodland trails.

Other area attractions:

Raging Rivers Water Park: The park offers rides, tubes, a gigantic wave pool, water slides, a kid’s play area and food at one of eastern Illinois’ top attractions.

St. Louis Forest Park: The 7th largest municipally operated park in the nation encompasses over 1,300 acres. It has over six miles of biking trails, 20 lakes and ponds, 30 athletic fields and two golf courses. Forest Park is home to the St. Louis Science Center, The Art Museum of St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo, the Jewel Box Conservatory, The Muny Opera and the Steinberg Skating Rink.

Laclede’s Landing: Features some of the most unique restaurants and sidewalk cafés in St. Louis. Visitors experience the charm of cobblestone streets and century-old brick and cast iron facade buildings as they browse through specialty gift shops. At night, horse drawn carriages and live music add to the atmosphere of one of the premier entertainment areas in St. Louis.

Missouri Botanical Garden: A major cultural institution, a designated historic landmark and a world-renowned scientific research center. Within its 79-acres lie a formal English garden, a traditional Japanese garden, the Margaret Blanke Grigg Chinese Garden, the Flower Trail Garden, greenhouses and extensive landscaping, as well as architecturally and historically significant buildings. The Garden also features the Climatron (the first geodesic- domed greenhouse in North America), water lily reflection ponds and the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening.

Missouri Wineries: Immigrants from the Rhine River Valley brought culture to the Missouri River Valley in the 1830s, and created America’s first Wine District. Today, Missouri wineries just west of St. Louis have won national and international wine competitions. Visitors can enjoy tours, fine wines, specialty shops, bakeries, bed and breakfasts, fine restaurants and live entertainment.

Six Flags St. Louis: One of the largest tourist attractions in St. Louis with over one and a half million visitors annually, Six Flags St. Louis has eight theme lands that feature adventure rides, thrilling roller coasters and spectacular shows.

St. Charles National Historic District: The 10-block Nationally Registered Historic District has brick streets, gas lights, lovingly restored buildings and Missouri’s First State Capital. The Frenchtown has antique shops, fine dining, tearooms, wineries and a brewery.

St. Louis Zoo: The St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park showcases 655 animal species, and draws more than three million visitors yearly. The state-of-the-art biopark features Jungle of the Apes, Big Cat Country, Children’s Zoo, and the Living World educational center. General admission to the zoo is free.

St. Louis Union Station: The St. Louis Union Station was once the busiest passenger terminal in the world. It is now a restored National Historic Landmark with an 11.5-acre marketplace that includes assorted shops, restaurants, live entertainment and a hotel.


Outdoor Recreation

Opportunities abound in South County for relaxation and fun. Public parks, walking trails, a YMCA, golf courses and fitness centers are easily available. The area is a great place to play indoors or out, any day of the year. Nearly 30 major parks and 62,000 acres of water are available in South County. Nearby, the world famous, 63,000-acre Lake of the Ozarks is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with campgrounds, hiking, biking and swimming.

Golfers can enjoy many courses throughout the region, many constructed by top designers. Golf legends such as Hale Irwin, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have all put their signatures on the local golf scene in recent years. The area is home to several legendary private clubs and is a national leader in public golf. Nearby St. Louis is one of the few cities that hosts three of the four major tours.


Lodging & Dining

  

Visitors and tourists in the area will find accommodations to suit every need and budget. Hotels, motels, executive facilities and bed and breakfasts are all located in South County and the neighboring communities in St. Louis County. Several summer resorts and campgrounds are located within a short drive, and offer outdoor camping and rental cabins. Dozens of the finest hotels and motels in the country are located within the City of St. Louis.

Culinary delights of every kind wait in the South County region. Ethnic delights from around the world are a specialty here. Whether it’s Old World European, Asian or Mexican cooking you crave, you’re sure to be pleased with the variety, value and quality of cooking here in South County.

Recreation

 

Opportunities abound in South County for relaxation and fun. Public parks, walking trails, a YMCA, golf courses and fitness centers are easily available. The area is a great place to play indoors or out, any day of the year. Nearly 30 major parks and 62,000 acres of water are available in South County. Nearby, the world famous, 63,000-acre Lake of the Ozarks is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with campgrounds, hiking, biking and swimming.

Golfers can enjoy many courses throughout the region, many constructed by top designers. Golf legends such as Hale Irwin, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have all put their signatures on the local golf scene in recent years. The area is home to several legendary private clubs and is a national leader in public golf. Nearby St. Louis is one of the few cities that hosts three of the four major tours.

Living

Residential

In South County, everyone from young, growing families to singles and baby boomers, are certain to find their little piece of heaven. Quiet residential neighborhoods with homes of all sizes and styles are plentiful. Hundreds of affordable, single-family homes are being developed, and more are in the planning stages in growing neighborhoods.

In addition to single-family housing, there is a vast array of apartment/condominium complexes. From modest to luxury living with all the amenities, there is something for everyone!


Senior

 

The area encompassed by the Chamber is fortunate to have several exceptional senior care and retirement living communities, some of which are Chamber members. As the senior population in the area grows, services unique to this population are essential. Retirement Living Communities in the South County Area provide various levels of senior living and senior care. For those whose home has outgrown them there are independent living units. This frees them from yard work and household chores, as well as the worry and expense of home repairs and maintenance. Those who need short-term rehabilitation and therapy due to injury, illness or joint repair will find several retirement living communities in the South County Area for such rehabilitation service. Respite care for caregivers who need temporary relief from the care of a loved one also is available in the Chamber area.

As the needs of the senior population change, retirement living communities provide the level of care that is needed. Several facilities provide assisted living and 24/7 skilled nursing care.

Individuals with age-related health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, are cared for in innovative memory care environments at many of the facilities in South County. Several facilities provide a continuum of care. They have independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care units through which individuals may progress as their health needs change. South County does reach out with a helping hand to those in their senior years.

Healthcare

 

The state’s emphasis on quality health care and healthy lifestyle choices combined with outdoor activities year-round, means that Missouri has one of the highest life expectancy rates and lowest infant mortality rates nationwide. State and local government are committed to providing the most comprehensive health care for all inhabitants. In South County, residents have convenient access to nearby community hospitals, a variety of clinics and HMOs, and a coordinated network of emergency services that provide state-of-the-art medical services.

St. Anthony’s Medical Center is a full-service hospital that offers diagnostic and therapeutic services with a broad range of specialties; including cardiology, oncology, maternity, orthopedics, emergency, chemical dependency and psychiatry. As a member of Unity Health (a network of hospitals, doctors and health care professionals), St. Anthony’s serves individuals and organizations in the greater St. Louis area.