Valley Park, Missouri

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Valley Park is a city in St. Louis County, Missouri, United States. The population was 6,518 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

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 1909, the town became incorporated. As many as 70 trains would pass 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. This Missouri Pacific and the Frisco were the big lines at that time; now it is Amtrack, 88 trains a day stopped in Valley Park including the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern lines. At one time, the Meramec River had barge traffic. Valley Park had a lot to offer then and still does to this day.

St. Louis City families would board the trains for summer vacations, weekends, or, 2nd family homes along the Meramec River. Clubhouses were built on the banks of the Meramec River. Some of those clubhouses were still standing until the last decade. When in 1992 and 1993 the flood destroyed them beyond repair, and then have been removed to accommodate the building of the Meramec Valley River Basin Levee. (The Levee just had its big flood test in March 2008, it saved the town of VP from yet a other devastating flood) One of the most charming old buildings is still standing. That is the Frisco Hotel located at 28 Front Street. It is now the Whittle Shortline Railroad Shop. The owners make toy wooden trains.

Since Valley Park started out as a park for the St. Louis City residents and have parks as part of the towns name, you can well imagine that parks are important to Valley Park. Valley Park has within its City limits several lovely parks. Vance Trails Park, Leonard Park, Brignole Park, and Meramec Landing for anglers and boaters are all conveniently located in Valley Park. Simpson St. Louis County Park and Lake and the well know Lone Elk Park (Lone Elk is a park like any other normal park except you can drive through and see lots of different animals, and it also has a wild bird sanctuary) a few others are also within our 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. (Most info came off the Town of VP web page)

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