Vinita Park is a city located in northern St. Louis County located east of highway I-170 and just south of St. Charles Rock Road. Neighbored cities of Vinita Park include University City, Hanley Hills and Overland. The city covers no more than 0.78 square miles and as of the 2010 census, the population was at 1,880 residents. However, thanks to a 2017 merger with the neighboring small village of Vinita Terrace, the population numbers have slightly changed – but more on that later!
The city gets its name from an electric rail car station, named the Vinita Station, that sat at the intersection of Midland and Page. It was considered by many to be a turn-of-the-last-century electric rail terminal during its early 20th century existence. Initially, Vinita Park was laid out as a small subdivision in 1905. Plans were put into place within the next several years to grow the area into a much larger community for both residential and commercial expansion.
A map, which can be found in the Library of Congress and dated as early as 1909, was laid out by the Davis Realty Development Comp, a notable midwestern realty organization. The map, titled Vinita Park — The Next Reach, formed as a blueprint that hoped to lead in the foundation of newly built homes and wider street expansion.
Vinita Park grew throughout the early to mid-1900s in a prevalent area that was adjacent to many other major subdivisions of the time. As Vinita Park’s population was expanded, a further subdivision, Vinita Terrace (whose name was also inspired by the Vinita Station), was experiencing a steady population increase as well. Vinita Terrace was primarily a residential community, while Vinita Park included both a residential neighborhood and a business district. In 1940, Vinita Terrace incorporated as a village. A year later, Vinita Park would do the same and annex the popular subdivisions of Spring Avenue Heights, Atherton and Midland Heights.
Through this progression, Vinita Park changed to city status in 1950. For almost 67 years, the village of Vinita Terrace and the city of Vinita Park remained close neighbors and shared both school and law enforcement services. However, in 2016 a vote was passed that was to dissolve Vinita Terrace and merge the village into the city of Vinita Park in the spring of 2017.
The city would now encompass an extra 40 acres of land and integrate more than 200 residents. A ceremony in May of 2017 commemorated the consolidation. In speaking with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Vinita Park mayor, James W. McGee, said “By becoming part of Vinita Park, Vinita Terrace residents will keep the local representation they desire and obtain new professional, full-time services.”
Residents of Vinita Park are served by the Ritenour School District, the Normandy School District and the University City School District.