Learn more about the Princeton Heights Neighborhood Association
A brief history of the Princeton Heights neighborhood
The mission of the Princeton Heights Neighborhood Association
Meet the all-volunteer Board of Directors for the Princeton Heights Neighborhood Association
The adopted bylaws of the Princeton Heights Neighborhood Association can be found here
At the turn of the 19th century, most of present-day Princeton Heights was primarily an agricultural community and unincorporated with the City of St. Louis. Farmers in this area grew a variety of fruit and vegetables that were then brought to the Soulard Market located nearby, via Gravois Road, which was paved in the mid-1800s. The area was known as "Gardenville". Outward expansion of the City shortly after the turn of the century resulted in the inevitable development of this land. One of the original houses, built by the Moellenhoff family in the 1860’s, still stands on Loughborough.
By 1920, nearly all these farms and gardens had been developed and land use was converted from agricultural to residential and commercial land use. It was at this time that the present-day community began to take shape. One of the newly developed subdivisions was called "Princeton Place," established in 1906, referring to the Princeton Creamery on Kingshighway Boulevard near Gravois Avenue, which in the past sold milk in glass jars. It is likely that "Heights" referred to the gentle slope up from the River Des Peres.
Most of the early homeowners in the neighborhood were of German descent and many of the streets received Germanic names. Princeton Heights was well-situated: Gravois Road was the first road paved by the State of Missouri and the streetcars quickly followed south. Following the Great World Wars, nearly all these names were Anglicized, as anti-German sentiment swept the nation. Today, local historians are working to memorialize the original German character of the neighborhood by placing honorary street names ("Kaiser") along with their formal recognized names ("Gresham").
Princeton Heights is known for its Arts and Crafts movement-inspired masonry that dates from the 1920s and 1930s. Architectural styles vary by street or by block, although most single-family homes could be classified as American craftsman-styled bungalows, storybook houses, or variations of the "Gingerbread House" style is also predominately featured.
The neighborhood is also home to Christy Park, established in 1910 and named for William Tandy Christy, who founded the firm which became the Laclede-Christy Fire Brick Company, and Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Parish, established by the Archdiocese in 1907 to serve the growing number of German Catholic families flocking to the area.
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