Within the northern region of St. Louis City, you’ll find the neighborhood of Fairground. Bordered by the neighborhoods of College Hill at the north, JeffVanderLou towards the south, Near North Riverfront at the east and Penrose and Greater Ville towards the west, Fairground encompasses a total of 0.32 square miles. As of the 2010 census, Fairground’s total population was recorded at 1,793 residents. The neighborhood is represented one Aldermen sitting in the third Ward. Faiground Park, the park from which the community gets its name, encompasses roughly 132 acres of the neighborhood’s area.
Initially, the space occupying present-day Fairground was part of a large tract of land known as the Grand Prairie Commonfield. Major portions of the land were mainly used for farming by the plethora of French immigrants the region collected during the early-1880s. The Commonfield had several landowners whose last names would be synonymous with notable northern St. Louis streets such as Lindell, Vandeventer, Carter, Hull and O’Fallon … the latter being an individual who owned land that would develop into the site of Fairground Park.
Fairground Park was put into development in the mid-1850s when local businessmen formed the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association and purchased the initial 50 acres of land from owner, John O’Fallon. Fairground Park, at the time of its inception, included an amphitheater, livestock stalls, floral halls and more. It held the very first St. Louis Fair on its grounds back in 1856 and continued to do so until the park was used as a training area and hospital for troops during the Civil War. By 1866, the St. Louis Fair was held until 1902 as preparations for the 1904 World’s Fair brought future St. Louis Fair plans to a halt.
Although the St. Louis Fair had ended, Fairground Park had grown to an extensive 132 acres and was the center for a variety of traveling exhibits during the late 19th century, such has horse racing, museums, livestock shows, manufactured good road shows and even zoos!
Residents of Fairground are served by the St. Louis Public School District.
The aforementioned Fairground Park today has many amenities available to the residents of Fairground and surrounding neighborhoods. One of those amenities includes a nine-acre fishing lake that is kept stocked throughout the entire year.
Other features in the park include a playground, outdoor swimming pool, seasonal skating rink, five baseball and softball fields, a one-mile walking /biking trail, three football fields with bleachers, soccer field, eight lighted tennis courts, two basketball courts and lots of open green space.
Located within the Fairground neighborhood is the St. Louis Public Library’s Divoll Branch, which takes its name from the founder of the St. Louis Public School Library, Ira Divoll. The branch originally opened to the public in the Hyde Park neighborhood in 1910 before relocating to its current Fairground home in 1967.