Within the south city region of St. Louis City is the Botanical Heights neighborhood. Formerly known as McRee Town before the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden District Commission (GDC) lead a multi-million-dollar renovation project in the mid-2000s. Bounded by Chouteau Avenue at the north, I-44 towards the south, 39th Street at the east and Vandeventer Avenue at the south, Botanical Heights has a total land area of nearly 0.41 square miles. As of the 2010 census, the neighborhood’s population was recorded at 1,037 residents. It is represented by two Aldermen sitting in the 17th and 19th Wards.
McRee Town, as Botanical Heights was originally known as, was initially developed in 1880 as an area of residential housing for employees of the nearby Liggett and Myers’ Tobacco Company. The houses were uniform in structure as several of the multifamily homes were universally large and sturdy, but incorporated slightly different architectural signatures that made them unique. For several years, McRee Town and Tiffany, an adjacent neighborhood to McRee’s east, were lively areas within the Shaw neighborhood.
In 2004, the region officially became rebranded as Botanical Heights … giving distinction to the organization who played such a pivotal role in the area’s reemergence. In 2012, a key developer in UIC+CDO was named as the “Developer of the Year” by the city of St. Louis thanks in part to their contributions.
Residents of Botanical Heights are served by the St. Louis Public School District.
Opened to the public in 2011 after a community effort that included nearly 200 volunteers, Botanical Heights Playground is an awesome area located on the corner of Thurman and Blaine for neighborhood children to play.
Utopia Studios is a rehearsal space for performing arts located in the middle of the Botanical Heights neighborhood. Many local bands, photographers and dance instructors rent out the space per hour or within monthly rates.