Nestled in northern St. Louis County is the city of Florissant. Covering more than 12.87 square miles and a population, at the time of the 2010 census, of 52,158. Notable residents of Florissant include comedian Cedric the Entertainer, rapper Chingy, professional wrestlers “Cowboy” Bob Orton and Randy Orton, actress Kate Capshaw and hall of fame bowlers Dick and Pete Weber.
Although the exact timeframe of when settlers arrived in current day Florissant is unknown, historians believe it is one of the oldest settlements in Missouri, dating back to 1764. As French fur trappers and traders made their way into St. Louis, they ended up settling just north of the city due to the rich soil. The French settlers nicknamed the land “Fleurissant”, which translates to “blooming” in English. The area remained a small village of mainly plantations and established its first form of government in 1786, naming their village St. Ferdinand in the process.
During the mid-1800s, German immigrants started settling in the area. Along with the French, they laid out the groundwork for further development of St. Ferdinand. Although the area was stretched across seven plantations, interestingly enough, the population was only 40 residents, making it a truly small and almost isolated community.
In the early 1900s, the area established seven general stores and nearly 18 specialty shops. While certainly a developed community, it still remained somewhat isolated. This would continue to be the case until after World War II, when residents were in desperate needs of homes to settle down. With a new sewer system in place, fire protection and an abundance of land acreage surrounding it, St. Ferdinand was an exceptional place to lay down roots.
St. Ferdinand’s name was officially changed to the area’s original French nickname of Florissant in 1939. Between 1947 and the late 1970s, more than 18,000 homes were built and the population had grown to roughly 76,000 residents in 1980.
Residents of Florissant are served by the Hazelwood and Ferguson-Florissant School District.