Located in the western portion of St. Louis County along Interstate 64 is the community of Chesterfield. With a population of 47,484, at the time of the 2010 census, and covering an impressive 33.52 square miles, it ranks in as the fourteenth largest city in Missouri. The city is fairly new, being incorporated towards the end of the 1980s.
The area covering present-day Chesterfield was known to have been a site of Native American habitation for more than 1,000 years. According to March Leach, author of Chesterfield’s Ancient Past – Mounds, Mortuaries & the Mall, an area in western Chesterfield contained carvings and artwork dating as far back as 4,000 years old. Throughout the 1800s to the early 1900s, Chesterfield was a region made up of five communities named Monarch, Bonhomme, Lake, Bellefontaine and Gumbo. In fact, Chesterfield was referred to as “Gumbo Flats,” due to its naturally rich and silty soil resembling the look of gumbo when it became overly wet from rain.
As years followed, Chesterfield became a place-name for the unincorporated sub-region of western St. Louis County, containing the five aforementioned communities and cities, like Ballwin, that would eventually be incorporated on their own. With population increasing, residents were concerned about the community’s lack of specific public services, like transportation and electricity, and an organization known as the Chesterfield Incorporation Study Committee was eventually formed. Headed by John A. Nuetzel, a former president of zoning watchdog group River Bend Association, the group collected donations, found legal help, drew up bounds and eventually lead the charge for enough public votes for incorporation.
Though the “Great Flood of 1993” destroyed many areas of Chesterfield, it didn’t take long for Chesterfield to rebound from the devastation throughout the end of the 1990s. Officials fast-tracked the development of the Chesterfield Valley, and by the early 2000s, Chesterfield incorporated one of the the longest outdoor strip malls in America. To ensure such a disaster could never happen again, the Chesterfield Levee District sponsored a 130-acre wetland mitigation project that created wetland sites along the Missouri River, in Chesterfield. The project took two years to conclude.
Residents within the western portion of the city are served by the Rockwood School District, and those in the eastern portion are served by the Parkway School District.