The Ville, St. Louis, MO
The Ville, St. Louis, MO

St. Louis,


United States

The Ville

Situated roughly three miles west of the Mississippi River in the heart of St. Louis, this half-square-mile historic district is located on the former estate of horticulturalist Charles Elleard, from whose name the area came to be called “Elleardsville.” The City of St. Louis annexed Elleardsville in 1876. Originally populated by German and Irish immigrants, the area bound by St. Louis Avenue, Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Sarah Street, and Taylor Street, colloquially known as “the Ville,” saw an influx of African American residents in the early 1910s, when racially restrictive housing covenants made it one of the only places where they could own property in the city. Landscape features are characteristic of the nineteenth century streetcar suburb, including detached residences, tree lawns, and rear yards. The neighborhood was a thriving microcosm of St. Louis’ Black community during its peak in the 1920s and 1930s, cultivating numerous public institutions, including Sumner High School, Phillips Hospital, and Stowe Teachers College; several notable figures, including entertainer Tina Turner and boxer Sonny Liston, hailed from the neighborhood. Residential, public, and commercial buildings were built in an eclectic variety of styles, including Art Deco, Colonial Revival, Second Empire, and Italianate. Following the Supreme Court’s 1948 ban on restrictive housing covenants, the population of the Ville began to decline as more residents became able to move elsewhere, eventually losing nearly 40% of its residents, along with many of its businesses and public amenities. Despite these losses, the Ville retains many of its historic structures as well as its legacy of nurturing education and creativity. The neighborhood was designated as a local historic district in 1987 and expanded in 2006. Three areas within the local historic district boundary, Cote Brilliante Avenue, St. Ferdinand Avenue, and the Marshall School Neighborhood, were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. The nonprofit organization, 4theVille, was founded by residents in 2017 to educate about the neighborhood’s history and advocate for its future.


Location and Nearby Landscapes

Nearby Landscapes