April 27, 2022

Our Very Incomplete Guide to South County [PHOTOS]

South county has got several vibes. There are the I-44 folks who live in Eureka, Webster Groves, Kirkwood, and then there are the I-55 folks in Lemay, Mehlville and Arnold. Some people might say that the commonality among all of these people is white flight. We won’t confirm or deny, but compared to south city, south county is not particularly diverse. Strip malls abound but so do hidden gems. It’s one of those areas of town where if you’re not from here, you definitely have your GPS on, so you don’t get lost on the cow-path style roads. But it’s full of St. Louis icons (Laumeier Sculpture Park, Castlewood State Park, Grant’s Farm, Donut Stop), and cute housing stock (including mid-century modern bungalows, gingerbread-style brick homes, century-old homes and the occasional tasteful McMansion).
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Affton
Affton High School has produced two of St. Louis' favorite sons: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and actor John Goodman. Dorsey forever changed the way we think about the # symbol but Goodman gave us Dan Connor and Walter Sobchak. We'll let you figure out which son is St. Louis’ favorite.
PHOTO CREDIT: screengrab via Google Maps
Affton

Affton High School has produced two of St. Louis' favorite sons: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and actor John Goodman. Dorsey forever changed the way we think about the # symbol but Goodman gave us Dan Connor and Walter Sobchak. We'll let you figure out which son is St. Louis’ favorite.

Bella Villa
Bordered on all sides by Lemay, you can think of Bella Villa as our own little Vatican City. But we’re not sure the Pope would be happy with the policing there, particularly along Bayless Avenue. According to a Post-Dispatch analysis, Bella Villa is the most prolific ticket-writing municipality per square mile in Missouri.
PHOTO CREDIT: screengrab via Google Maps
Bella Villa

Bordered on all sides by Lemay, you can think of Bella Villa as our own little Vatican City. But we’re not sure the Pope would be happy with the policing there, particularly along Bayless Avenue. According to a Post-Dispatch analysis, Bella Villa is the most prolific ticket-writing municipality per square mile in Missouri.

Concord
A large liminal space. To its north is the part of South County that retains some South City DNA. To its south is the more countrified Arnold. Though we haven't taken an official tally, we think Concord might have the most baseball diamonds of any muni on this list, which is pretty cool.
PHOTO CREDIT: screengrab via Google Maps
Concord

A large liminal space. To its north is the part of South County that retains some South City DNA. To its south is the more countrified Arnold. Though we haven't taken an official tally, we think Concord might have the most baseball diamonds of any muni on this list, which is pretty cool.

Crestwood
A sleepy municipality south of I-44, Crestwood once had a happening mall that has since become a barren dirt wasteland. Grants Trail runs through it, and from said trail, you can swing by the Thomas Sappington House Museum, where you can learn more about the pioneers of the 1800s.
PHOTO CREDIT: screengrab via Google Maps
Crestwood

A sleepy municipality south of I-44, Crestwood once had a happening mall that has since become a barren dirt wasteland. Grants Trail runs through it, and from said trail, you can swing by the Thomas Sappington House Museum, where you can learn more about the pioneers of the 1800s.

Glendale
Located smack dab between blood rivals Webster and Kirkwood, Glendale’s Waspy residents have divided loyalties, depending on which of those two school districts their kids attend. The town is known for its pretty, old homes; quaint shops like Hanneke's Westwood Grocery; and soccer moms who might make a wild night of it when Bon Jovi comes to town.
PHOTO CREDIT: screengrab via Google Maps
Glendale

Located smack dab between blood rivals Webster and Kirkwood, Glendale’s Waspy residents have divided loyalties, depending on which of those two school districts their kids attend. The town is known for its pretty, old homes; quaint shops like Hanneke's Westwood Grocery; and soccer moms who might make a wild night of it when Bon Jovi comes to town.

Grantwood Village
Home to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and Grant's Farm, this village was once owned by the family of Grant’s wife Julia until being purchased by August Busch Sr. He made it his family home and, later, a notable regional attraction featuring lovely animals that will charm your kids. The area has a bucolic feel, especially when you are driving down Gravois and see some elk.
PHOTO CREDIT: screengrab via Google Maps
Grantwood Village

Home to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and Grant's Farm, this village was once owned by the family of Grant’s wife Julia until being purchased by August Busch Sr. He made it his family home and, later, a notable regional attraction featuring lovely animals that will charm your kids. The area has a bucolic feel, especially when you are driving down Gravois and see some elk.

Green Park
As promised by the name, there is indeed lush green space with hiking trails in Green Park. The Blake C. Snyder Memorial Park is our favorite spot to take a break when biking on the Grant’s Trail portion of the Great Rivers Greenway.
PHOTO CREDIT: screengrab via Google Maps
Green Park

As promised by the name, there is indeed lush green space with hiking trails in Green Park. The Blake C. Snyder Memorial Park is our favorite spot to take a break when biking on the Grant’s Trail portion of the Great Rivers Greenway.

Kirkwood
If you want to scare Webster Groves residents, raise the specter of “becoming like Kirkwood.” It works like a charm. They will vote down anything that threatens to make them like their neighbor to the south and not only because they’re arch-rivals. What’s wrong with Kirkwood, you may ask? Nothing, according to Kirkwoodians, who have a booming tax base, supported by an increasing number of McMansions; a thriving business district; and Kirkwood Commons, the big-box stores that Kirkwood built on Meacham Park shortly after annexing the predominantly Black neighborhood in 1991. The commons displaced nearly 30 percent of Meacham’s residents and tension between Meacham and Kirkwood contributed to a 2008 Kirkwood City Hall shooting. (Maybe there are a few things in that list that give you a clue what Webster is avoiding. Particularly tearing down charming old homes to build nouveau riche monstrosities.) But the RFT highly endorses a lot of Kirkwood commerce including Britt’s Bakehouse, one of the few gluten-free bakeries in town; the Magic House, which can entertain any child for a preposterous amount of time; and Global Foods Market, where you can get all your international noshes
Photo Credit: Rosalind Early
Kirkwood

If you want to scare Webster Groves residents, raise the specter of “becoming like Kirkwood.” It works like a charm. They will vote down anything that threatens to make them like their neighbor to the south and not only because they’re arch-rivals. What’s wrong with Kirkwood, you may ask? Nothing, according to Kirkwoodians, who have a booming tax base, supported by an increasing number of McMansions; a thriving business district; and Kirkwood Commons, the big-box stores that Kirkwood built on Meacham Park shortly after annexing the predominantly Black neighborhood in 1991. The commons displaced nearly 30 percent of Meacham’s residents and tension between Meacham and Kirkwood contributed to a 2008 Kirkwood City Hall shooting. (Maybe there are a few things in that list that give you a clue what Webster is avoiding. Particularly tearing down charming old homes to build nouveau riche monstrosities.) But the RFT highly endorses a lot of Kirkwood commerce including Britt’s Bakehouse, one of the few gluten-free bakeries in town; the Magic House, which can entertain any child for a preposterous amount of time; and Global Foods Market, where you can get all your international noshes
Lakeshire
Throughout the mid-1980s, the tiny south county municipality of Lakeshire had an ordinance outlawing kids from playing in the streets. Nowadays we assume kids are welcome to play anywhere they would like, though its lone park, Fig Park, appears to be more of a well-tended patch of grass than an actual park.
PHOTO CREDIT: screengrab via Google Maps
Lakeshire

Throughout the mid-1980s, the tiny south county municipality of Lakeshire had an ordinance outlawing kids from playing in the streets. Nowadays we assume kids are welcome to play anywhere they would like, though its lone park, Fig Park, appears to be more of a well-tended patch of grass than an actual park.

Lemay
Abutted by the Mississippi, just north of Jefferson Barracks, Lemay is a midsized south county burgh that has its detractors but also its fierce defenders, many of whom have posted to the Only in Lemay Facebook group. Attempting to fight crime in the area, posters to the page have helped reunite people with stolen belongings and even helped police solve a string of armed robberies by a man dubbed “the motor-scooter bandit.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr / @pasa
Lemay

Abutted by the Mississippi, just north of Jefferson Barracks, Lemay is a midsized south county burgh that has its detractors but also its fierce defenders, many of whom have posted to the Only in Lemay Facebook group. Attempting to fight crime in the area, posters to the page have helped reunite people with stolen belongings and even helped police solve a string of armed robberies by a man dubbed “the motor-scooter bandit.”