Creve Coeur History

It wasn’t too long ago when you could take the streetcar from University City to Creve Coeur Lake and think you were in deep country. Initially a farming community, Creve Coeur has developed into a thriving community in central St. Louis County with beautiful homes, acres of parkland, hundreds of businesses and a number of high-tech office parks.

Olive Street Road

It began with a road: Olive Street Road, now called Olive Boulevard. The road followed a centuries-old Indian trail that took the high ground from the Mississippi River to the Missouri River. Carts, wagons, carriages and stage-coaches took passengers and freights both west to new lands and east to the city of St. Louis.

Creve Coeur was one of many unincorporated communities that grew along the road. Its name, which means broken heart in French, comes from nearby Creve Coeur Lake. Legend has it that an Indian princess fell in love with a French fur trapper, but the love was not returned. According to the story, she then jumped from a ledge overlooking Creve Coeur Lake; the lake then formed itself into a broken heart.

Preserving History

To preserve and protect the heritage of the community and make the past available to our present day citizens, the city owns and maintains two historic properties, Tappmeyer Homestead and Lake School House.

The City previously owned two historic cabins, Clester Cabin and Hackmann Cabin, which were removed and donated to St. Louis County Parks in 2022. The cabins will be relocated to Faust Park in 2023-2024, where they will be reassembled and restored for public display in the park’s historic village

Creve Coeur's Incorporation

By 1950, St. Louis had reached its peak population with 856,000. St. Louis City was filling up, forcing returning soldiers to look for housing in St. Louis County to raise their families. Families wanted bigger houses, more yard space and places to park their new cars. The technological advancements in the automobile industry, along with the construction of Highways 270 and 40, further pushed the westward movement away from the central city.

When Creve Coeur was incorporated in December 1949, less than one square mile housed a population of 1,900 citizens. The city's charter was adopted in 1976. Today, the population of Creve Coeur is 18,660 spanning 10.27 square miles with approximately 8,000 housing units. Currently, Creve Coeur has 80 miles of public streets and 16 miles of private streets. Home to two private colleges, four private high schools, five private primary schools, two public school districts and approximately fifteen houses of worship, Creve Coeur is a place where everything a resident needs is no more than ten minutes away.

To learn more about the history of Creve Coeur, read "Heritage of the Creve Coeur Area" edited by Gloria Dalton (1976).