Penrose is a neighborhood located in the northern region of the City of St. Louis. Covering no more than 0.77 total square miles, Penrose has a population, at the time of the 2010 census, of nearly 6,387 residents. The neighborhood is bordered by St. Louis City neighborhoods of Mark Twain towards the North, Kingsway East at the south, O’Fallons Park near the east and Mark Twain I-70 Industrial to the west. Penrose is represented by two Aldermen within the first and 21st Ward.
The neighborhood’s history began in the early 19th century as a long-standing area of open land as opposed to immense settlements like many neighboring areas. The region’s earliest land owner and investor, from whom the region earned its name, Clement Penrose was Thomas Jefferson’s appointed land commissioner and lived on a nearby estate. Throughout most of the 1800s, the land would remain undeveloped until German farming families moved into the area in the later portion of the 19th century. This prompted Clement to set the present-day boundaries of the neighborhood and built it into a stronger rural community.
Thanks to the commercial and transit line development of the mid-1920s, land values rose within northern regions of St. Louis City and Penrose’s locality proved to a prime residential hot spot as several of the neighborhood’s present-day subdivisions were laid out during this time.
Residents of Penrose are served by the St. Louis Public School District.
Penrose Park is located within the upper most northern region of the neighborhood and, at nearly a little over 51 acres of land, is one of the city’s largest parks. Opened to the public in 1910, the park includes amenities such as basketball courts, baseball fields, jogging and walking paths, BBQ grill pavilions and plenty of shady areas.
Penrose Park also houses the Penrose Park Velodrome, one of only 27 within the entire country. Velodromes are banked tracks used for the training and racing of cycling. Upon its grand opening in 1962, the velodrome hosted the U.S. National Track Cycling Championship.
Eugene Tink Bradley Park is Penrose’s second neighborhood park covering no more than 3.18 acres. It opened to the public in 1958 and was dedicated to Eugene “Tink” Bradley who served as Alderman to the 21st Ward from 1965 to 1981.
The Julia Davis Branch of the St. Louis Public Library is located at the edge of the neighborhood’s southwestern border. The branch is distinctive in being the first of the 15 branch libraries dedicated to a living person in Julia Davis, a researcher and educationalist within African American history. It remains one of the neighborhood’s most historic African-American institutions being built within the spring of 1974.