Kings Oak is a neighborhood located in the southern region of St. Louis City and earns its name from the two major streets that define its boundaries – Kingshighway Boulevard and Oakland Avenue. At roughly 0.17 total square miles, Kings Oak has a population of only, at the time of the 2010 census, 180 residents. This is predominantly due to major landmarks such at the Saint Louis Science Center and Saint Louis University High School taking up much of the neighborhood’s area. The neighborhood is bounded by Forest Park at the north and the St. Louis City neighborhoods of the Hill towards the south, The Grove at the east and Cheltenham at the west. Kings Oak is represented by one Alderman sitting in the 17th Ward.
The Kings Oak area began around the 1904 World’s Fair as residential development commenced at a fast rate thanks to the excitement the Fair was bringing to, not only this region, but to the City of St. Louis. A majority of the residential area of Kings Oak lies within the streets of Berthold Avenue, Lawn Place, Kingshighway Boulevard, Oakland Avenue and Wise Avenue. Many of these homes are two-story, single family brick homes with large front yards, but the neighborhood includes several two to four-family rental units as well.
During Kings Oak’s earliest development, there would not be as much of an emphasis on residential construction compared to the growing amount of both commercial and institutional facilities. Many long-standing trademarks of the area originally had previous uses in another lifetime. Some examples include the St. Louis Science Center originally being the office site for the Falstaff Brewing Company, which went out of production in 2005, and the Compton-Drew ILC Middle School originally serving as the St. Louis Merchants Exchange.
Today, much of Kings Oak is loved for its incredible amenities within the neighborhood and its tight-knit community that mainly resides within the northeastern section of the region. Residents of Kings Oak are served by the St. Louis Public School District.
Opened to the public in 1963 and originally founded as a planetarium, the St. Louis Science Center is a 300,000-square foot science museum housing over 750 exhibits and is the largest of its kind in the entire country. It hosts nearly 1.2 million visitors a year and another 200,000 through offsite school programs and various community centers.
Some popular attractions at the Science Center include an Omninanx Theater, which sometimes shows some of Hollywood’s most recent blockbusters, and GROW, a one-of-a-kind permanent indoor/outdoor gallery devoted to the understanding of how our food goes from farm … to the dinner table! Though admission to the Science Center is free, the Center does have seasonal and yearly ticketed-admission events that come through for children of all ages to enjoy.
Located in the southern region of the neighborhood, Modern Brewery is a “beer-fusion” brewing company that opened to the area in 2014. The brewery is only open to the public for drink specials and taste tests from 4 – 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.