The Hill is a St. Louis City neighborhood located in the south city portion of St. Louis. It is bounded by Manchester Avenue to the north, the Columbia and Southwest Avenues to the South, portions of South Kingshighway to the east and Hampton Avenue towards the west. The Hill is notable for its high Italian American population and destination for several Italian related businesses. Although originally known as St. Louis Hill, it slightly changed its name thanks in part to its relative closeness to the highest point of all of St. Louis, just being a few blocks south at the intersection of Arsenal Street and Sublette Avenue. As of the 2010 population, The Hill has a total population of 2,443 residents and it covers no more than 0.97 total square miles of land. It is represented by one aldermen sitting in the 10th Ward.
The Hill was initially a part of a land grant from Charles Gratiot given to him from Spanish territorial government in the spring of 1798. Born in Switzerland in the mid-18th century, Charles arrived in St. Louis at the age of 28 and was educated in both English and Spanish. Perfecting these languages helped aid him in succeeding in both business and politics. Charles passed in 1855 and within several years, the League Square began being subdivided and sold off by his heirs.
Earliest settlement of a residential subdivision within portions of present-day Hill began shortly before the Civil War in 1859. As most of the country experienced a lull due to the war, platting wouldn’t resume until the later portion of the 1860s. As the area expanded, many Italian immigrants from the regions of Lombardy and Sicily settled into the region throughout 1870 to 1890. They were drawn to the wealth of working opportunities in distant plants for clay deposit exploits.
It was during the early stages into the 20th century that the area began its biggest upsurge within Fairmount region. Though originally some housing conditions were very poor at the time, shortly after the World’s Fair in 1904, abundances of one-story, four-room brick houses began developing throughout the area. Subdivisions such as Reber Place became the blueprint for the residential areas that would continue throughout the early-20th century.
Residents of The Hill are served by the St. Louis Public School District.
Berra Park is The Hill’s most notable park with two popular restaurants located nearby. Originally known as Virgo Park when the area was purchased by St. Louis in 1945, it was later changed to its current name of Berra Park in the fall of 1965 as a tribute to a long-time political figure named Louis “Midge” Berra. Although professional baseball catcher Yogi Berra was a popular figure within the neighborhood, the park has no relation to him.
Built in 1918, Gioia’s Deli is a popular, benchmark food-mainstay within The Hill. Originally serving as a grocer establishment for nearly seven decades, the Deli turned into a sandwich shop in 1980 and prides itself of its wide menu selection … a favorite being the Hot Salami!
Known for being the home of the toasted ravioli, Mama’s on the Hill is a local landmark within The Hill’s neighborhood.