Bellefontaine Neighbors is a city located in northern St. Louis County with a population of nearly 10,860 residents at the time of the 2010 census. It covers more than 4.32 square miles with a population density of 2,500 per square mile. With 22 letters in its name, it bears the record of the longest name for any incorporated place in all of the United States. Important roads for the city include Bellefontaine Road and Chambers Road which overlap roughly in between the middle of the region.
The city of Bellefontaine Neighbors’ major history dates back to as early as the mid-1700s as the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi River was ceded by France to Spain in 1762. Nearly 40 years later, the area west of the Mississippi River was surrendered back to France. The United States was promptly developing during this time and sought fit to undergo transactions with Napoleon, the ruler of France, in 1803 to purchase the Louisiana Territory for itself.
In the spring of 1805, Colonel Henry Walter Kingsbury of New York and his troops were ordered by General James Wilkinson to construct a safe haven for American soldiers as well as a trading place for local Indian tribes. By winter of that year, Kingsbury and his troops built log cabins for officer use, trading areas, blacksmith shops and a bakery. This area began was now referred to as Ford Bellefontaine and a famous trail that led into the city of St. Louis evolved into what is now current-day Bellefontaine Road.
Throughout most of the 1800s into mid-1900, land ownership of current-day city of Bellefontaine Neighbors was made up of land grants issued by the Spanish, French and American officials. The lands were vastly different in size and the region had nearly 10 different owners. Most of the area was used for farming, with wheat and maize being the farmland’s most notable crops.
As years passed, the area became more and more agriculturally based as corn became the singular crop grown within the farming community. By the 1950s, most the region’s farming area subsided giving way to a growing residential area of suburban homes. This timeframe would be immensely crucial as the region was incorporated under city status in 1950 under the name of Bellefontaine Neighbors, serving as a tribute to land’s history with Fort Bellefontaine. During this time, Bellefontaine Neighbors was made up of only 18 streets, one church and one public school. and this continued until the corn shocks were replaced by homes during the 1950’s.
The city of Bellefontaine Neighbors is served by the Riverview Gardens School District.