Located in the suburban heart of the St. Louis metropolitan area, Downtown Kirkwood became a desirable regional destination when trains began boarding passengers in 1853. Kirkwood was the first planned residential commuter suburb established west of the Mississippi, and also boasts the first four-year public high school, tax-supported library, and police department in St. Louis County.
Transportation is still key in Kirkwood, which is located on Historic Route 66. The train station, which is a popular Amtrak stop, was built in 1893 and is one of the many downtown buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Owned by the city and maintained by dedicated volunteers, the acquisition and upkeep of the station is used as a nationwide model of community involvement to save a treasured landmark.
The city of Des Peres was officially formed in 1934, although its roots start as a missionary settlement in 1701 when a group of Jesuit missionaries established a settlement on the banks of the Mississippi River near the mouth of the Des Peres River. The name "Des Peres," which means "of the fathers,” traces its origins back to that early settlement.
Some of its early milestones are the establishment of the Des Peres Presbyterian Church in the early 1830s, the German Evangelical Congregation of the River Des Peres in 1838 (now known as St. Paul's Lutheran of Des Peres), the Des Peres Post Office in 1848, the Des Peres Law & Order Society during the Civil War, (1861-1865), and the Des Peres Elementary School in 1892.
For more information about the history of the Kirkwood – Des Peres area, please visit kirkwoodhistoricalsociety.com, and the city of Des Peres website, desperesmo.org