Located in the central west neighborhood of the City of St. Louis is Grand Center. Located just north of the St. Louis University campus, Grand Center covers a total of 0.57 square miles and is bordered by the St. Louis City neighborhoods of Vandeventer and JeffVanderLou at the north, Midtown towards the south, Carr Square and JeffVanderLou at the east and the Central West End near the west. It is represented by two Aldermen – sitting in the 18th and 19th Ward.
Before the neighborhood would evolve into the amusement hotspot it is today, the land was mainly used as common fields for cultivation surrounding the initial French settlement of St. Louis. The land remained this way throughout the 18th century until land holders in 1850 combined larger sects to form subdivisions. Although most real estate activity would be put on hold during the time of the Civil War, the 1870s brought forth more expansion around the region. The development of the Ville neighborhood, then known as Elleardsville, spearheaded suburban growth and lead to the formation of the Grand Center neighborhood, originally known as the Covenant Blu-Grand Center Neighborhood.
Near the early 20th century, the neighborhood’s commercial district became immensely popular and drew in tons of visitors from many surrounding St. Louis neighborhoods. The formation of Sheldon Concert Hall in 1912 and the Fox Theatre in 1929 helped establish the region as an entertainment destination. Today, this region known as the Grand Center Arts District, with its galleries, museums and cultural events, brings in a total of 1.3 million visitors every single year. Residential areas within the neighborhood of Grand Center are located within the northern, southern and western regions of the neighborhood and include many single to multi-family units, apartment complexes and several new housing developments.
Residents of Grand Center are served by the St. Louis Public School District.
The Fox Theatre, which originally served as a movie palace upon its 1929 opening, is a performing arts center and a true mainstay of the Grand Center neighborhood. Originally utilized as a platform for movie mogul William Fox to showcase Fox Film Corporation movies and stage shows, the theatre was immensely renovated in the late 1970s and reopened to its current status in 1982. Known by its beloved nickname of “The Fabulous Fox”, the theater hosts a variety of entertainment including live comedy, musical acts, Broadway theater and a variety of stage performances.
The Powell Hall, opened in 1925 and originally known as the St. Louis Theater, is a 2,683-seat concert hall that is home to the St. Louis Symphony. In the mid-1960s, the concert hall closed its doors and underwent a massive $2 million renovation before opening to its current status in 1968.
Other popular stops within the Grand Center District include the historic performance arts venue Sheldon Hall, one of the country’s premier African-American theatre halls in the St Louis Black Repertory Theater Company, an ex-Shriners temple turned movie theater in the Moolah Lounge, headquarters of PBS affiliate KETC Channel 9, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Grand Center Arts Academy.
The area’s only park destination of the Father Maurice Park sits across Saint Louis University’s School for Professional Studies and includes a looping walking path and several resting areas with benches and fountains.