Cheltenham is a St. Louis City neighborhood located in the south city region with a population, at the time of the 2010 census, of 620 residents. Covering no more than 0.33 total square miles, Cheltenham is surrounded by the St. Louis City neighborhoods of Clayton-Tamm at the west, the Hill towards the south and Forest Park Southeast at the east. All of the northern boundaries for Cheltenham are fenced by Forest Park. It is one of five additional neighborhoods within the Irish areas of St. Louis City known as “Dogtown” and is represented by two Aldermen sitting in the 17th and 24th Ward.
The neighborhood’s history dates back to 1798 and its earliest boundaries ran into present-day Kingshighway towards to east and into the western portion of present-day Downtown St. Louis. Because of the area’s limits being so close to River des Peres in the late 18th century and early 19th century, it served as the perfect place for settlement due to the abundance of clay found there. Clay mining factories began to grow within the area almost over night and it attracted many immigrants looking for work. One of the initial corporations that came to the region was the Laclede Fire Brick Company in 1844. With the development of a railroad system within the area, it helped Laclede Fire grow immensely and soon enough Cheltenham was a vast melting pot of culture with Irish, Italian, German and Polish immigrants living and working within the community.
Near the end of World War II in 1945, several clay mining operations subsided with several setups shutting down and brick yards closing. The vast array of land that contained the mines and pits for clay operations served as ideal locations for subdivision development and throughout the late 1940s into the 1950s, many residential complexes were built to house a consistently growing population. Some former institutions in the Cheltenham were monumental into the neighborhood’s success during the 20th century including the Highlands Amusement Park and the former home for the St. Louis Blues in the St. Louis Arena. The Highlands Amusement Park, which began as a beer garden in 1896, remained a vital section of the neighborhood until an unfortunate fire ravished most of the park in the summer of 1963. St. Louis Arena stood for nearly 70 years before its demolition in the late winner of 1999. Both the site of the former amusement park and arena now serve as business and residential development as well as the home of St. Louis Community College’s Forest Park location.
The Cheltenham name has a rich history throughout the rest of the world as well with six other locations sharing the same name in the state of Pennsylvania and the countries of Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand.
Residents of Cheltenham are served by the St. Louis Public School District.