Valley Park, Missouri

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Valley Park, Missouri
City
Location of Valley Park, Missouri
Location of Valley Park, Missouri
Coordinates: 38°33′19″N 90°29′18″W / 38.55528°N 90.48833°W / 38.55528; -90.48833Coordinates: 38°33′19″N 90°29′18″W / 38.55528°N 90.48833°W / 38.55528; -90.48833
Country United States
State Missouri
County St. Louis
Government
 • Mayor Michael "Mike" Pennise
 • City Marshal Scott Rue
Area[1]
 • Total 4.02 sq mi (10.41 km2)
 • Land 3.80 sq mi (9.84 km2)
 • Water 0.22 sq mi (0.57 km2)
Elevation 427 ft (130 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 6,986
 • Estimate (2014[3]) 6,986
 • Density 1,826.8/sq mi (705.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 636
FIPS code 29-75472[4]
GNIS feature ID 0756840[5]
Website Official homepage of the city

Valley Park is a city in St. Louis County, Missouri, United States. The population was 6,942 at the 2010 census.[6]

Valley Park City Hall

History[edit]

The town was a Mississippian Indian settlement along the Meramec River as early as the mid-18th century, until it was settled by French and German immigrant farmers in the 1760s. The town over time was known as Nasby, Sulphur Springs, Quinette, Meramec, and finally Valley Park by around 1890. It had one of the first post offices established in St. Louis County. It also became a railroad hub for the Missouri Pacific and St. Louis-San Francisco rail lines.

In 1894, the town became the site of the first lynching in St. Louis County. A black man named John Buckner was lynched when accused of raping a local black woman and a white teenager. He was taken from the authorities by several local residents and farmers and hung from the main bridge in town overlooking the Meramec River. The lynchers were never apprehended.

In 1917, the town became incorporated. As many as 70 trains passed through Valley Park on any given day. The town became a center for industry until the great flood of 1915, when the main bridge was destroyed, as were the huge factories along the river. The town never recovered.

Valley Park and Castlewood Park were summer resorts. Castlewood Park is a short distance west on Big Bend. Castlewood Park became part of the St. Louis County Park system. However, Valley Park began to boom with the building of the glass factory and other industries. Grocery stores and restaurants opened up; churches went from being mission churches to being congregations. Valley Park had a Saddle and Paddle Club on Marshall and now Highway 141. Valley Park had the ever-popular realty term location, location, location. Valley Park had railroads, the Meramec River, and what was even then considered main roads. Railroads played a big role in the town in the late 19th century and early 20th century. At the time, the St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) and Missouri Pacific served Valley Park; now it is Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe. At one time, the Meramec River had barge traffic.

St. Louis families would board the trains for summer vacations, weekends, or second family homes along the Meramec River. Clubhouses were built on the banks of the Meramec. Some of those clubhouses stood until the 1990s. In 1992 and 1993 floods destroyed them beyond repair, and they were removed to accommodate the building of the Meramec Valley River Basin Levee. (The levee had its big flood test in March 2008; it saved Valley Park from yet another devastating flood.) One of the most charming old buildings[according to whom?] is the Frisco Hotel located at 24 Front Street. Became the Frisco Train Store.

Several parks are within the city limits, including, Vance Trails Park, Leonard Park, Brignole Park, and Meramec Landing for anglers and boaters. Simpson St. Louis County Park and Lake and Lone Elk County Park (with a wild bird sanctuary) are also within the city limits. With the completion of the levee, Valley Park will have trails along the Meramec River for hiking and biking as part of the Ozark Greenway Trails.

In the late 20th century, the city doubled in population.[citation needed]

Police[edit]

The Valley Park Police Department contracts with St. Louis County Police Department.

Precinct Station
232 Vance Road
St. Louis, MO 63088

Captain Timothy Cunningham, Commander
Valley Park Police Department
320 Benton Street 63088

Valley Park School District[edit]

Valley Park High School

The Valley Park School District is a rather small, but growing district. The early childhood development center, elementary, middle, and high school are all on one campus. The first elementary building, Hill School, opened in 1882. This school was located several blocks north of the present campus and was closed in 1931. A second elementary school, Benton School, named after the Missouri senator, Thomas Hart Benton, opened in 1908 and operated until 1954. The high school opened its doors on September 6, 1932, and the first class graduated two years later. It became the nucleus of the present school district campus.

The district serves about 1,000 students and is located in the southwest corner of St. Louis County. It encompasses 4.6 square miles (12 km2) that includes a large portion of Valley Park, the village of Twin Oaks, and a section of unincorporated St. Louis County. District boundaries are Big Bend on the north, Barrett Station Road on the east, the Meramec River on the south, and Hanna Road on the west. Within the district boundaries are approximately 3,834 households with 1,456 registered voters. With low student-to-teacher ratios and all school buildings located on one campus at One Main Street, the district offers a private school atmosphere in a public school setting. The campus consists of five buildings: Valley Park High School and its Music and Industrial Technology building, Valley Park Middle School, Valley Park Elementary School and the Dennis Lea Early Childhood Center. Valley Park High School has an off-campus program called the Community School, which is located one block from the main campus. The Community School is an academic-recovery program for students who are unable to be successful in the traditional high school setting.

In 1989, a large two-story addition was made to the high school, and a second floor addition was made to the multipurpose building. During the past four years, every building on campus has undergone extensive construction and/or renovation. The Meramec Building (c.1951) and the Vance Building (c.1954) were torn down and a modern 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) elementary school was built. The multipurpose building (c.1968) was renovated to become Valley Park Middle School. In 1999, an 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) two-story addition was added to the existing high school, which was completely renovated. In 2003, the Early Childhood and Health Center was built with a connected hallway to the elementary building.

School District Recognitions[edit]

Valley Park School District has received multiple academic- and athletic-related recognitions in the last decade. These awards include the Federal Blue Ribbon, which some educators equate to the Super Bowl of academics. Shortly after earning the prestigious Federal Blue Ribbon, the high school was ranked in the top 15 high schools in the state of Missouri by US News and & World Report [1], making it mathematically in the top 2% of public high schools in the state of Missouri. The ranking was based on test scores in Algebra and Communication Arts, Advanced Placement (AP) tests, and student/teacher ratio. These and other awards are listed below:

• District received the Distinction in Performance Award by the State of Missouri, with a perfect score for six consecutive years, 2007–2012.
• Valley Park High School received the 2012 Missouri Gold Star School and the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award.
• Valley Park Middle School is a Missouri and a National School of Character.
• Valley Park High School has been recognized nationally by U.S. News and World Report and Newsweek Magazine, including its ranking of #15 in the state of Missouri in 2014.

Controversy[edit]

In 2006, Valley Park was featured in local, state and national news media when the City's Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance almost identical to the ordinance passed by the city council of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which penalized landlords who rented to "illegal aliens", businesses who employed "illegal aliens", and others who aided and abetted "illegal immigration."

Several landlords along with the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council filed suit against the city. The lawsuit was supported by Bryan Cave, Washington University Law School, St. Louis University Legal Clinic, the ACLU, MALDEF, the Hispanic Ministry of the Catholic Church and several private attorneys, who won a temporary restraining order.

Led by then-mayor Jeffrey Whitteaker, the Board of Aldermen amended the ordinance twice, and the coalition opposing the ordinances won restraining orders against both amended ordinances. The ordinances were invalidated following their repeal. A subsequent appeal by the city was dismissed as moot, in the Missouri Court of Appeals, as the subject ordinances had been repealed. Thereafter, following the city's passage and publication of an ordinance prohibiting the knowing employment of unlawful aliens, a subsequent suit was brought in state court, subsequently removed by the city to federal court. After the city abandoned its efforts to punish landlords who could not prove their tenants were lawfully present and narrowed the enforcement mechanism for the remainder of the ordinance, the district court upheld the remainder of the ordinance. The plaintiffs filed an appeal on procedural issues and asked for the district court decision to be vacated. The appeal was denied and the decision of the district court was affirmed. The city's immigration ordinances have never been enforced.

The Missouri General Assembly, in the 2008 legislative session, enacted legislation, to take effect in August 2009, which included language similar to Valley Park's unlawful employment ordinance, to be enforced by the Missouri Attorney General. The state legislation had been under discussion and review for a significant time in both the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives. It remains unlawful, by Valley Park ordinance, to knowingly hire unlawful aliens within the city.

Geography[edit]

Valley Park is located at 38°33′19″N 90°29′18″W / 38.55528°N 90.48833°W / 38.55528; -90.48833 (38.555320, -90.488304).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.02 square miles (10.41 km2), of which, 3.80 square miles (9.84 km2) is land and 0.22 square miles (0.57 km2) is water.[1]

Attractions[edit]

The Museum of Transportation was founded in 1944 and was at one time an original mainline of the Pacific Railroad. It was one of the first railroad tunnels west of the Mississippi River. The tunnel and depot are now on the National Register of Historic Places. With over seventy locomotives that visitors can look at and climb aboard, the museum has the most complete collection of American rail power anywhere,[citation needed] and its collection of automobiles, buses, streetcars, aircraft, horse-drawn vehicles and river boat material reflects the ever-changing nature of transportation. Guided walking tours and rides on the miniature Abbott Railroad (in season) are all part of the fun. There is a concession stand and gift shop of transportation memorabilia.

The World Bird Sanctuary can be found inside Lone Elk Park. Visitors can see famous or lesser-known birds of prey and other wild birds. During the summer and spring months they are always on display, and at listed times there are bird shows. The sanctuary was founded in 1977 by ornithologist Walter C. Crawford, Jr. Crawford began his career at the St. Louis City Zoo. Crawford, working with Wild Kingdom star Marlin Perkins, recognized a need for an organization dedicated to birds of prey. Today, Mr. Crawford continues to direct the organization he founded. He also travels nationwide to speak at conventions and banquets with his humorous and inspirational message of environmental conservation.

Lone Elk Park also contains animals such as elk, deer, buffalo, and turkeys, which can be viewed on a drive through the park.

Meramec Landing sits along the Meramec River. It is a small area to park and unload a boat or jet ski into the river, or for fishing.

Simpson Park is located on the border of Valley Park next to Kirkwood. It has a large lake for boating and fishing, as well as a biking and hiking trail that goes all the way around the lake in a wooded area, and then stretches far outside the park down to the Meramec River. It also has a large playground and plenty of open fields to play soccer, baseball or even fly a kite.

Buder Park is located on the other side of the Meramec River and is considered a St. Louis County/Valley Park park. This park offers fishing access to the river, and open fields for flying kites, or playing football, soccer, or baseball. However, it is best known for its model plane activities. People from all over St. Louis and the surrounding counties come to this park to fly their model planes or fly tight lines. It has two tight lining tracks and a full runway for model airplanes.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
2000 6,518 —    
2010 6,942 +6.5%

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 6,942 people, 2,974 households, and 1,640 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,826.8 inhabitants per square mile (705.3/km2). There were 3,209 housing units at an average density of 844.5 per square mile (326.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.1% White, 4.0% African American, 0.4% Native American, 6.3% Asian, 2.0% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.9% of the population.

There were 2,974 households of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.9% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 34.9 years. 23.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 33.2% were from 25 to 44; 22.7% were from 45 to 64; and 13.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 6,518 people, 2,603 households, and 1,663 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,156.2 people per square mile (833.3/km²). There were 2,744 housing units at an average density of 907.7 per square mile (350.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.02% White, 4.11% African American, 0.09% Native American, 4.33% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.27% of the population.

There were 2,603 households out of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 41.5% from 25 to 44, 14.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,548, and the median income for a family was $54,063. Males had a median income of $40,956 versus $31,617 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,720. About 8.7% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.

References[edit]

External links[edit]