Ten miles southwest of Saint Louis was an area known as the Dry Ridge to Missouri, Osage, and Dakota Indians and fur trappers until 1802. In the early 1800s, this region, once a part of the Louisiana Territory, was changing from Spanish to French ownership and a system of land grants was inaugurated to promote immigration. During the early period of Spanish rule, officials gave land to settlers as a check against the English.
As part of this program, in 1802 Gregorie Sarpy was granted 6,002 acres by Charles de Hautte Delassus, the last Spanish Lieutenant governor. The land grant covered the major area now known as Webster Groves. Webster Groves’ location on the Pacific Railroad line led to its development as a suburb. In the late 19th century, overcrowding, congestion, and unhealthy conditions in Saint Louis prompted urban residents to leave the city for quieter, safer surroundings.
In 1892 the developers of Webster Park, an affluent community which would soon become the City Of Webster Groves, promoted the new community as the Queen Of The Suburbs, offering residents superb housing options in a country-like atmosphere, as well as a swift commute to downtown Saint Louis jobs. As a suburban municipality, Webster Groves has its origins as five separate communities along adjacent railroad lines. Webster, Old Orchard, Webster Park, Tuxedo Park, and Selma merged in 1896 in order to implement public services and develop a unified city government.
A Great Place to Live, Work, and Play
Since that time, Webster Groves’ tree-lined streets and abundance of single family homes have continued to attract people to the area as a “great place to live, work and play,” not solely for the wealthy commuter suburb that early developers envisioned but for families that cut across all socioeconomic boundaries. The geographic and economic diversity of Webster Groves is evident in the variety of neighborhoods and its successes is rooted in the cooperation and willingness of community members from all walks of life to work together toward common goals
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