Creve Coeur History

At one point, traveling from University City to Creve Coeur Lake could make you think you were back in the deep country very quickly. Creve Coeur used to be a farming community and is located in central St. Louis. It contains many gorgeous homes, high tech office parks, many acres of parkland, and several hundred businesses.

Olive Street Road

Olive Street Road, now called Olive Boulevard follows along an old Native American trail that led you to the high ground to the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. Hundreds of years ago, this was the trail that led stagecoaches, wagons, carts, and freights to travel towards the west to new land and to the east of St. Louis.

Creve Coeur was one of many towns that grew alongside that trail. The name is French for Broken Heart and is named after the lake e.g. Creve Coeur Lake. An old legend states that a Native American princess fell in love with a French fur trapper, who did not return her love. The story continues to say that she jumped a ledge that overlooked the lake to her death, which is where the lake gets its name.

Preserving History

Despite its quick development into a thriving community, Creve Coeur has always maintained its own history. For example, two-hundred-year-old cabins (Hackman and Clester cabins) are still standing, carefully preserved, in Conway park. These cabins face Highway 270 and are the living embodiment of how Creve Coeur has changed throughout the years. The Lake School House (a one-room school room) and the Tappmeyer farmhouse are also maintained by the city as living historical buildings from the 1800s.

Incorporation of Creve Coeur

St. Louis had a peak population of 856,000 people in 1950. There was no room for anyone else, and returning soldiers were forced to look elsewhere to live. They went to the county and wanted bigger houses, bigger yards, and cars to raise their families in and technology was available for them to do that–particularly in the automobile industry, as well as the construction of the highways (270 and 40). Construction of these highways is what led people to start moving west, away from St. Louis.

December 1949 was when Creve Coeur became an incorporated city, with a population of 1,900 citizens. The charter was not adopted until 1976. Today, the population sits at 17,833 people. It started out as one square mile large, now it is 10.27 square miles, with 2 private colleges, 10 private high schools and primary schools, 2 public schools, and 15 churches.

It is the third highest ranking St. Louis county town, when assessed with a median household income of $94,852, with a family income being $99,100. 1.8% of families and 2.9% of the population live below the poverty line, particularly in the under 18 and over 65 demographic.

The city’s charter was adopted in 1976, which created a Council-City Administrator type of government for the town. Voters elect a mayor, and a City Council with eight members (two per ward) who serve a 2 year, staggered service terms. The mayor can be elected for a 3-year term, while the City Council hires the City Administrator, whose job it is to run the day to day operations of the city. This town has hired 104 government employees.

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