St. Louis County, Missouri

St. Louis County, Missouri

Infobox U.S. County
county = Saint Louis County
state = Missouri

founded year = 1812
seat wl = Clayton | largest city wl = Florissant
area_total_sq_mi =524
area_land_sq_mi =508
area_water_sq_mi =16
area percentage = 3.03%
census yr = 2006
pop = 1,000,510
density_mi2 = 1969.5
density_km2 = 760.5
web =

ex image size =350px
ex image c
municipalities in St. Louis County

St. Louis County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. According to the 2000 census, the population was 1,016,315, making the county the most populous in the state of Missouri. Its county seat is ClaytonGR|6. St. Louis County is part of the sprawling St. Louis Metro Area wherein the independent City of St. Louis and its suburbs in St. Louis County, as well as the surrounding counties in both Missouri and Illinois all together account for a total population of nearly 3 million people. St. Louis County borders the City of St. Louis, which is independent from St. Louis County. The 2006 estimate for the county is 1,000,510. []

Origin of name

The county was organized in 1812 and was originally a French colonial district (French Louisiana), named for Saint Louis, King of France.

In 1876, City of St. Louis separated itself from the county, creating an independent city.Fact|date=December 2007

Law and government

St. Louis County was the first Missouri County to adopt a home-rule charter under the Missouri constitution, in 1950. The current St. Louis County Charter was adopted by the voters on November 6, 1979.Fact|date=December 2007

Executive power of the county is vested in the county executive, which is a full-time salaried position. The current county executive is Charlie Dooley, who was re-elected November 7, 2006. The county executive's term is 4 years; he is elected by the general population of the county.

Ordinances are passed by a county council. [ The council] is made up of 7 members, each from a separate district within the county. Council member terms are 4 years, beginning on January 1 following the election. Elections are held in even-numbered years, with terms for even- and odd-numbered districts staggered.

Crime and safety

When compared to other large urban counties, St. Louis County’s crime rate per 100,000 residents is among the lowest in the nation. For example, there were just 30 homicides reported in 2003 out of a population of over 1 million people. There has been a 25% decrease in crime since 1991, and St. Louis County is now at its lowest level of crime since 1973.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 524 square miles (1,356 km²), of which, 508 square miles (1,315 km²) of it is land and 16 square miles (41 km²) of it (3.03%) is water. St. Louis County is part of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area.

National protected area

* Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

Natural boundaries

The Missouri River forms the northern border with Saint Charles County, exclusive of a few areas where the river has changed its course. The Meramec River forms most of its southern border with Jefferson County. To the east is the City of Saint Louis and the Mississippi River. The western boundary with Franklin County is the north-south line where the distance between the Meramec and Missouri Rivers is the shortest, bisecting the City of Pacific roughly 2 blocks east of Hwy OO/F (First street).


The foothills of the Ozark Mountains begin in southwestern Saint Louis County, with most of the rest of the county being a fairly level plateau. This western part of the county is the least developed, due to rugged topography. Bluffs along the Mississippi in the south of the county rise about 200-300 feet above the river. A major floodplain area is the Chesterfield Valley, in the western part of the county, along the Missouri River, formerly called "Gumbo Flats" after its rich, dark soil; it was submerged by at least ten feet of water during the Great Flood of 1993, but recent development there is protected by a higher levee. The Columbia Bottom is a floodplain in the northeast of the county at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers; this is a conservation area open to the public. The Missouri Bottom area between the two other floodplains is largely agricultural, but is being increasingly developed. The River des Peres drains the interior of county before flowing underground into the City of St. Louis and then resurfacing to form the boundary between southern portions of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Other streams include Coldwater Creek, Bonhomme Creek, and Creve Coeur Creek, flowing into the Missouri River; Keifer Creek and Grand Glaize Creek, flowing into the Meramec River; Deer Creek and Gravois Creek, flowing into the River des Peres; and Maline Creek, flowing into the Mississippi River.


The bedrock is mainly limestone and dolomite, and much of the county near the rivers is Karst terrain, with numerous caves, sinkholes, and springs. No igneous or metamorphic rock is exposed on the surface. A major outcropping of the St. Peter Sandstone formation, a fine white sandstone used for making clear glass, is mined in the southwest corner of the county in Pacific. Brick clay mining was once a major industry in the county. The Charbonier Bluff along the Missouri River is an outcropping of coal, and was used a fueling station for steamboats. The "St. Louis Anticline", an underground formation, has small petroleum deposits in north part of the county.

Flora and fauna

Before European settlement, the area was prairie and open parklike forest, maintained by Native Americans via burning. Trees are mainly oak, maple, and hickory, similar to the forests of the Ozarks; common understory trees include Eastern Redbud, Serviceberry, and Flowering Dogwood. Riparian areas are heavily forested with mainly American sycamore. By the 1920s most of the timber in the county was harvested; since that time, large parks and undeveloped areas in the western and southern parts of the county have grown dense forest cover. Old pastures are usually colonized with Eastern red cedar. Most of the residential area of the county is planted with large native shade trees. In Autumn, the changing color of the trees is notable. Saint Louis County has the most recorded native species of plants in the state, but this is probably due to the intensive botanical research done in the area. Most species here are typical of the Eastern Woodland; but some southern species are found in swampland, and typical northern species survive in sheltered hollows. Invasive species, most notably Japanese Honeysuckle, are common in some homesteads converted to parks; these are actively removed.

Large mammals include growing populations of whitetail deer and coyotes, which are becoming increasingly urbanized. Eastern Gray Squirrel, Cottontail rabbit, and other rodents are abundant, as well as Opossum, Beaver, Muskrat, Raccoon, and Skunk. Large bird species include Wild Turkey, Canada goose, Mallard duck, various raptors like the Turkey Vulture and Red-tailed Hawk, as well as shorebirds, including the Great Egret and Great Blue Heron. Winter populations of Bald Eagles are found by the Mississippi River around the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The county is on the Mississippi Flyway, used by migrating birds, and has a large variety of small bird species, common to the eastern U.S. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow, an introduced species, is limited in North American to the counties surrounding Saint Louis.

Frogs are commonly found in the springtime, especially after extensive wet periods. Common species include American toad and species of chorus frogs, commonly called "spring peepers" that are found in nearly every pond. Some years have outbreaks of cicadas or ladybugs. Mosquitos and houseflies are common insect nuisances; because of this, windows are nearly universally fitted with screens, and "screened-in" porches are common in homes of the area. Populations of honeybees have sharply declined in recent years, and numerous species of pollinator insects have filled their ecological niche.


Saint Louis County has a continental climate, and has neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. The area is affected by both cold Canadian Arctic air, and also hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico. The county has four distinct seasons. The average annual temperature for the years 1971-2000, recorded at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, is 56.3 °F (13.5 °C), and average precipitation is 36 inches (914 mm). The average high temperature in July is 88.4 °F (32 °C), and the average low temperature in January is 22.6 °F (−6 °C), although these values are often exceeded. Temperatures of 0 °F or below occur 3 days per year on average. [ [ 2001 ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI (STL)] . Weather Explained, Volume 4. 2006. Last accessed December 4, 2006.] The highest temperature ever recorded in Saint Louis was 115 °F (46 °C), on July 14, 1954, while the lowest temperature on record is −23 °F (−31 °C), on January 29, 1873 [ [ Welcome to the Top 10] . NOAA's National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. Last accessed December 4, 2006.]

Winter is the driest season, averaging about 6 inches of total precipitation. Springtime (March through May), is typically the wettest season, with just under 10.5 inches. Dry spells of one or two weeks duration are common during the growing seasons.

Thunderstorms can be expected on 40 to 50 days per year. A few of them will be severe with locally destructive winds and large hail, and occasionally accompanied by tornadoes. [] A period of unseasonably warm weather late in Autumn known as Indian summer is common – roses will still be in bloom as late as November or early December in some years.

Other geography

The largest natural lake in the state is Creve Coeur Lake, and is a county park.

Manchester Road (Route 100) follows an ancient path westward out of Saint Louis, following the boundary between the Missouri and Meramec watersheds, and is the only way to leave the area without crossing rivers.

The Sinks is a karst area near Florissant, with numerous sinkholes.

Adjacent counties

*St. Charles County (north, northwest)
*Madison County, Illinois (northeast)
*City of St. Louis (east)
*St. Clair County, Illinois & Monroe County, Illinois (southeast)
*Jefferson County (south)
*Franklin County (southwest)

Major freeways and highways

:† unincorporated:‡ Times Beach was disincorporated in 1985, Peerless Park was disincorporated in 1999, Carsonville disincorporated

Unincorporated St. Louis County

It is notable that in St. Louis County, one-third of its population and land area is unincorporated making up 173 square miles. In these areas, St. Louis County provides local services, such as zoning, code enforcement and police to these residents who do not reside in one of the 91 St. Louis County munipalities. These municipal-like services are available to the 322,085 residents of the unincorporated areas of St. Louis County. These local services are delivered to several areas throughout the West, Central, North and South portions of the county. The St. Louis County Trash Collection and Recycling program is one example of such a service. This program split the unincorporated areas into 8 districts for trash collection and recycling service. Prior to the program, citizens in unincorporated St. Louis County were responsible for contracting their own trash hauling providers.


Unified school districts

High schools

In addition to its public high schools, St. Louis has an abundance of private and parochial schools, including the largest number of Catholic affiliated secondary institutions in the continental U.S. This is partly due to St. Louis's status as an archdiocese and historically Catholic city. Most of the prestigious private schools reside in West St. Louis County, one of the wealthiest areas in the region.


*University of Missouri-St. Louis
*Washington University
*Webster University
*Fontbonne University
*Missouri Baptist University
*Lindenwood University
*Saint Louis University

County parks

Affton White-Rodgers Community Center -- Albrecht -- Bee Tree -- Bella Fontaine -- Bissell House -- Black Forest -- Bohrer -- Bon Oak -- Buder (North and South of Interstate 44) -- Castlepoint -- Champ -- Cliff Cave -- Clydesdale -- Creve Coeur -- Endicott -- Faust -- Fort Bellefontaine -- Fort Bellefontaine West -- George Winter -- Greensfelder -- Jefferson Barracks -- Kennedy -- King -- Kinloch -- Larimore -- Laumeier Sculpture Park -- Lemay -- Lone Elk -- Love -- Lower Meramec River -- Mathilda-Welmering -- McDonnell -- Museum of Transportation -- Ohlendorf -- Ohlendorf West -- Queeny -- Robert Winter -- Simpson -- Sioux Passage -- Spanish Lake -- St. Vincent -- Suson -- Sylvan Springs -- Tilles -- Unger -- Veteran's Memorial -- West Tyson -- Widman

Undeveloped county parks

Bright-Fowler -- Castlewood -- Fairmont -- Forrest Staley -- Grasso -- Linear Parks South -- Long Log Cabin -- Lower Meramec River -- MSD Union Road -- Packwood -- St. Stanislaus -- Winding Trails

Municipal fire departments

Berkeley -- Brentwood -- Clayton -- Crestwood -- Des Peres -- Ferguson -- Frontenac -- Glendale -- Hazelwood -- Jennings -- Kirkwood -- Ladue -- Maplewood -- Olivette -- Pacific -- Richmond Heights -- Rock Hill -- Shrewsbury -- University City -- Webster Groves

Fire protection districts

Affton -- Black Jack -- Community -- Creve Coeur -- Eureka -- Fenton -- Florissant Valley -- Kinloch -- Lemay -- Maryland Heights -- Mehlville -- Metro West -- Mid-County -- Moline -- Monarch -- Normandy -- Pattonville-Bridgeton Terrace -- Riverview -- Robertson -- Spanish Lake -- Valley Park -- West County EMS -- West Overland

ee also

* List of county executives of St. Louis County, Missouri


External links

*Saint Louis County Government Website,
*Saint Louis County Municipalities page,
* [ St. Louis climate, from the National Weather Service]
* [ History of St. Louis County, Missouri (1911)]

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