Chesterfield is located approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of St. Louis. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 33.52 square miles (86.82 km2), of which 31.78 square miles (82.31 km2) is land and 1.74 square miles (4.51 km2) is water.
Portions of Chesterfield are located in the floodplain of the Missouri River, now known as Chesterfield Valley, formerly as Gumbo Flats. This area was submerged during the Great Flood of 1993; higher levees built since then have led to extensive commercial development in the valley. Chesterfield Valley is the location of Spirit of St. Louis Airport, used for corporate aviation, as well as the longest outdoor strip mall in America.
Present-day Chesterfield is known to have been a site of Native American inhabitation for thousands of years. A site in western Chesterfield containing artwork and carvings has been dated as 4,000 years old. A Mississippian site, dated to around the year 1000, containing the remains of what have been identified as a market and ceremonial center, is also located in modern Chesterfield.
The present-day city of Chesterfield is made up of several smaller historical communities, including:
- Bellefontaine (French for "beautiful spring"), or as the locals called it, "Hilltown", dates to about 1837 with the arrival of August Hill. The first post office was established as Bellemonte ("beautiful mountain") in 1851. Eighteen years later, in 1869, the town and post office name were both changed to Bellefontaine. Rinkel's Market was a familiar landmark for years, at the intersection of present-day Olive Boulevard and Chesterfield Parkway (where Charlie Gitto's from The Hill is now).
- The town of Lake started out as "Hog Hollow," in about 1850. The post office was established as Hog Hollow in 1871, but a year later the town's name was changed to what some thought was the more suitable name of Lake. Zierenberg's General Merchandise and Saloon (built around 1880) was a well-known landmark at the 18-mile marker on Olive Street Road. The original structure was destroyed by fire in 1918. It was replaced by the existing structure on the same site (Olive Boulevard and Hog Hollow Road).
- Gumbo is located in the valley at the present intersection of Chesterfield Airport Road and Long Road. A notable landmark (until it was razed in 1998) was the old Twenty Five Mile House - so named because of its distance from downtown St. Louis. Gumbo's name derived from its soil, which though very rich and silty, when wet became gumbo mud. A substance very similar to gravel was made from Gumbo mud and used for streets and sidewalks in Forest Park during the 1904 World's Fair. Gumbo's post office operated from 1882 to 1907.
- Monarch (earlier called Atherton, then Eatherton) was one of the settlements that sprang up along the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific rail line when it came through the valley in the late 1870s. William Sutton's General Store stood on the northwest corner of Eatherton and Centaur Roads. Their post office operated from 1895 to 1907, when the mail was transferred to Chesterfield. A well-known residence in Monarch was named "The Shadows"; it still survives, with a commanding view from its bluff site.
- Bonhomme had a colorful life. The name is French for "good man." This small community, at the extreme western end of Olive Street Road, was close to the Howell's Ferry landing. It had a blacksmith shop, grist mill, store, post office and Fenn's saw mill; but it was all washed away in the late 19th century by the Missouri River. Bonhomme was a popular name in St. Louis County; with Bonhomme streets, roads, creeks, churches and townships still so-named. However, this Bonhomme is the only one that ever had its own post office.
On January 24, 1967, a violent F4 tornado ripped a 21-mile (34 km) path of destruction across St. Louis County. It was the fourth-worst tornado to hit the St. Louis metro area and the most recent F4 tornado to hit the city. The tornado developed near the Chesterfield Manor nursing home and then moved through River Bend Estates and across northeast St. Louis County.
Incorporation as Chesterfield
For many years, "Chesterfield" was an all-inclusive place-name for a vast, unincorporated sub-region of western St. Louis County (called "West 'County" by metro area residents) containing the unincorporated historical communities listed above, plus areas now incorporated as cities of their own (e.g., Ballwin). Police and fire protection in the community were fragmented and sporadic, the former provided by St. Louis County. As the population grew, Chesterfield Mall and other retail and commercial real estate developments sprang up; however, many residents were concerned about the lack of quality public services, and that the municipal sales tax benefited the county instead of the community.
An organization was formed calling itself the "Chesterfield Incorporation Study Committee." Headed by its president, John A. Nuetzel (himself a former president of the River Bend Association, a zoning watchdog group), the members "passed the hat" at neighborhood meetings, engaged legal help, drew up metes and bounds, and forced several failed public votes for incorporation. After a number of years, in 1988, The City of Chesterfield was finally established by its residents, and has thrived as perhaps West County's premier residential, business, retail, and transportation center.
Flood of 1993
On July 30, 1993, the levee that protected Gumbo Flats (now known as the Chesterfield Valley) from the Missouri River failed. This was the first time the levee had failed since 1935. The town was told to evacuate, and the whole area of Gumbo Flats was flooded by feet of water. Today, the area has become the Chesterfield Commons retail area.
Highways and major roads
Interstate 64 (locally referred to as "Highway 40") runs East-West through Chesterfield. There are seven exits serving the city (numbers 14-21). Missouri Route 340 (a.k.a., Olive Blvd.) runs on East-West though much of Chesterfield, before turning Southwest near the I-64 Interchange; its name changes to Clarkson Road south of this junction. Missouri Route 141 runs along the eastern border between Chesterfield and Town and Country. Route 141's northern terminus was, until recently, located in Chesterfield at Olive Blvd. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic (DHT) began construction of Route 141 in Chesterfield in 2009. MoDOT expanded Route 141 between just south of Ladue Road (Route AB) to Olive Boulevard (Route 340). DHT extends Route 141 from Olive Road to the Page Avenue Extension (Route 364) at the Maryland Heights Expressway.
Public transportation is provided by Metro and connects Chesterfield to many other portions of Greater St. Louis by numerous bus routes.
Spirit of St. Louis Airport is located in the Chesterfield Valley; the airport is owned by St. Louis County.
Central Midland Railway (CMR), a division of Progressive Rail Inc. of Minnesota, provides regular freight rail service to industrial customers located in the Chesterfield Valley. CMR operates the far eastern segment of the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway's St. Louis to Kansas City main line that was constructed in 1870. The active portion of the former CRI&P line runs from the north side of St. Louis, where it connects with the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis and Union Pacific Railroad, and now terminates in Union, Missouri. A primary rail customer in Chesterfield is a RockTenn (formerly Smurfit Stone) corrugated packaging plant which is located on a spur track that extends from the main track northward along the east end of the runway of the Spirit of St. Louis Airport. RockTenn typically receives inbound shipments of corrugated paper.
Primary and secondary schools
Chesterfield has a number of elementrary and middle schools, plus multiple high schools. The Rockwood School District serves the western portions of the city, while the Parkway School District serves the east. Chesterfield's sole private high school, Barat Academy, is located on the former Chesterfield campus of Gateway Academy, a former private elementary school. The city also has four private elementary schools: Chesterfield Day School, Chesterfield Montessori School, Ascension School, and Incarnate Word School.
Colleges and universities and trade schools
Logan College of Chiropractic offers undergraduate and graduate level courses on Chiropractic, Pre-Chiropractic, Sport Science and Rehabilitation medicine.
St. Louis County Library Samuel C. Sachs Branch is in Chesterfield.
Reinsurance Group of America, Dierbergs, Kellwood, Amdocs and Broadstripe have their headquarters in Chesterfield. Chesterfield has three malls, two of which are outlet malls as well as a strip mall called the Chesterfield Commons.
From top left: Butterfly House, Faust Park, Residential area, Old Chesterfield
Location of Chesterfield, Missouri
|Coordinates: 38°39′12″N 90°33′15″WCoordinates: 38°39′12″N 90°33′15″W|
|• Mayor||Bob Nation|
|• Total||33.52 sq mi (86.82 km2)|
|• Land||31.78 sq mi (82.31 km2)|
|• Water||1.74 sq mi (4.51 km2)|
||479 ft (146 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||1,400/sq mi (550/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|Area code(s)||314, 636|
|GNIS feature ID||0755881|
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