Located in the mid-county region of St. Louis County is the city of Webster Groves. It covers a total area across 5.90 square miles and is surrounded by the neighboring cities of Shrewsbury, Maplewood, Crestwood, and Affton. As of the 2010 census, the population of Webster Groves was at 22,995.
In the early 20th century, the region of Webster Groves was known as the “Dry Ridge” to the Dakota, Osage and Dakota Indians who once inhabited the land. Originally a part of the Louisiana Territory, the region changed ownership from Spanish to French and a system came into fruition that was highlighted to promote immigration. Thanks to this system, Grégoire Sarpy was granted more than 6,000 acres of land by the Spanish Lieutenant governor that covered a vast majority of the current Webster Groves area.
Its convenient location near the Pacific Railroad line played a huge role with the area’s expansion into a suburb of five separate communities and late 19th century St. Louis residents were looking to move away from the overcrowded, congested city areas. The five communities of Old Orchard, Selma, Tuxedo Park, Webster, Webster Park all merged in 1896 and were to be incorporated as Webster Groves further developing a more unified city government.
Residents of Webster Groves with children attending school are served by the Webster Groves School District.
The main campus of Webster University, highly regarded as one of the best art schools in the country, is located in Webster Groves. Founded only 19 years after the city’s incorporation in 1915 by the Sisters of Loretto, it was a Catholic women’s college and wouldn’t include male students until almost five decades later in 1962. Webster has an abundance of campuses throughout the United States and ten international sites in China, England, Switzerland, and more.
Within the heart of Webster University is home to the award-winning Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. This performance theater, referred to by locals as “The Rep”, has history dating back to its foundation in 1966 and their stage has graced some of the most classic performances of all time like The Nutcracker, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Yet another artistic landmark within the region of Webster University is the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Summer Festival that takes place annually from May to June in the University’s Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts. Founded in 1976, four operas are presented each season with performances accompanied by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
For a historical trip down Webster Groves memory lane, The Hawken House is a fully preserved and maintained farmhouse that was originally built in 1857 and hosts tours of its infrastructure that detail what life was really like in the 1800s.