The Wild Flower Community, aka The CWE
The Central West End is an urban, hip and trendy one-stop-shopping and dining mecca for many. This vibrant area is one of the city’s finest neighborhoods, featuring some of the city’s best examples of historical architecture, cultural attractions, dining and shopping.
From fine restaurants, to the Chase Park Plaza, to Forest Park, to the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica, to Washington University Medical School, and the Barnes-Jewish medical complex, the Central West End is a world-class destination.
A Brief History of the Central West End Neighborhood
The Central West End is a century-old, historic neighborhood located in the center of St. Louis, adjacent to Forest Park. St. Louis is well known for its grand private places and remain as a rare collection of outstanding turn-of-the century architecture.
The Central West End has been home to several famous people from the business and art world. Tennessee Williams lived on Westminster Place, and the rear fire escape undoubtedly inspired the opening scene of The Glass Menagerie. Author Kate Chopin lived on McPherson and William Burroughs owned a house on Pershing Place. Poet T. S. Eliot’s family lived on Westminster Place and poet Vachel Lindsay courted poet Sara Teasdale at her home on Kingsbury Place.
Among the business leaders of the turn or the century was Albert Bond Lambert, who built and lived at No. 2 Hortense Place. He was a pharmaceutical manufacturer as well as a pioneering pilot. He was the initial benefactor of Charles A. Lindbergh’s historic solo flight to Paris, and St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport was named in his honor. Other noted business leaders included the founders of A. G. Edwards and Ralston Purina, both of whom built houses on Kingsbury Place. Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer lived on Pershing Place and Dwight Davis, donor and founder of the tennis tournament’s Davis Cup, built his home and lived on Portland Place.
The Central West End Today
The Central West End was designated as a Historic District in 1975. The designation helps to maintain the CWE’s unique charm, diverse architecture and historic character.
While many city neighborhoods in St. Louis and elsewhere in the U.S. are struggling with decline in population, commerce and appearance, the Central West End is reaping the benefits of its renaissance in the 1970’s. Property values continue to increase, and new residential units including the rehabilitation of historic single and multifamily dwellings and the conversion of commercial buildings into condos are seemingly on every block in the CWE.
Included within these neighborhood boundaries is all of Forest Park – site of the St. Louis Art Museum, the Muny, the world-renowned St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri History Museum. Also with the CWE are the magnificent Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, both Washington University’s hilltop campus and sprawling medical complex including Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the medical school and library, Barnes-Jewish College of Nursing, Central Institute for the Deaf and Center for Emerging Technologies.
Visit the neighborhood web site at www.thecwe.org for event dates and happenings.