The History of Valley Park, Missouri & Things To Do
Valley Park, Missouri was founded in the late 19th century.
Railroads played a big role in the town at that time. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, 88 trains a day stopped in Valley Park. The Missouri Pacific and the Frisco-Valley were the big lines at that time (now it is Amtrack, Union Pacific and Burlington Northern.) St. Louis City families would board the trains for summer vacations and head to Valley Park for the weekend, or their second family home along the Meramec River. Valley Park as well as Castlewood Park were known as summer resort areas. Valley Park began to boom with the building of the it's glass factory and other industries. Grocery stores and restaurants opened and simple mission churches became large congregations. Today there are some twenty churches in Valley Park.
The Frisco Hotel, now Whittle Shortline Railroad Shoppe
24 Front Street
Valley Park MO 63088
Whittle Shortline Railroad Website
One of the most charming old buildings is still standing, The Frisco Hotel located at 28 Front Street. Now the Whittle Shortline Railroad and Shoppe. Owners make, show and sell toy wooden trains, a favorite hangout for little children. You are welcomed to see the building and be sure to bring the kids for a delightful adventure. The Frisco Hotel was built in 1893 for the Frisco railroad track crews who were pushing tracks westward through Missouri. After the railroad was completed, the Frisco Railroad continued to use the hotel as a place for train crews to layover until the 1920's when the building was turned into a commercial hotel for another decade or so. From this point the Frisco's history gets a little checkered. From the Depression until it was purchased in August 1999, by The Whittle Shortline Railroad, the hotel had been a series of bars, restaurants, a brothel, a barber shop, social clubs and biker bars. It even housed the local AA chapter. If only walls could talk!
By 1894, the wealthy were well acquainted with Valley Park which provided access to the beautiful Meramec river.
Valley Park had a Saddle and Paddle Club on Marshall Road and (what is now known as) Highway 141. Valley Park, always resilient, moved on and ultimately helped coin the ever-popular Realty catch phrase “location, location, location”. After all, Valley Park had railroads, the Meramec river, and so many main roads.
Before long more hotels, lodges, and clubs offering games of chance sprang up along the banks of the river where popular beaches attracted numerous visitors wanting to escape the crowds and heat and humidity of St. Louis in the summer. Canoes began to appear on the river in droves for fun seekers and anglers alike.
Folks were flocking beaches near Valley Park, Castlewood Park and Fenton. Tourists also enjoyed dancing upon open-air dance floors and partying at the numerous clubhouses that appeared along the river. Many of the clubhouses were built on the banks of the Meramec river. Some of those clubhouses were still standing until the end of the last century. They have since been removed to accommodate the building of the Meramec Valley river Basin Levee.
Since Valley Park truly began as a park for the St. Louis City residents, you can well imagine that parks are still very important to the city. Within the Valley Park City limits there are several lovely parks and the local citizenry takes pride in planting and maintaining little gardens and plants. Vance Trails Park, Leonard Park, Brignole Park, and Meramec Landing for anglers and boaters are all conveniently located in Valley Park. Simpson St. Louis County Park and Lake are also within the city limits. With the completion of its new Levee, Valley Park now has trails along the Meramec river for hiking and biking as part of the Ozark Greenway Trails.
In the late 20th Century, the city doubled in population as commuters discovered the excellent Valley Park School District and easy access to just about all of the major highways. Valley Park is a charmingly quaint community to visit, live and work in. We welcome you to stop for a spot of tea at Tea Room in the Valley.
Today there are some twenty religious congregations in Valley Park (picture of Sacred Heart Catholic Church) as well as its a highly praised school district.
Other Places to go and things to do in Valley Park
World Bird Sanctuary (picture) was founded in 1977 by Ornithologist Walter C. Crawford, Jr. Crawford began his career at the St. Louis Zoo working closely with the Zoo’s Director and Wild Kingdom Star Marlin Perkins. Recognizing a need for an organization dedicated to birds of prey, Crawford began his life’s work.
Today, Mr. Crawford continues to direct the organization he founded. He also travels nationwide to speak at conventions and banquets with his humorous and inspirational message of environmental conservation.
Visit the World Bird Sanctuary website
Lone Elk Park Another breathtaking area to visit in Valley Park is Lone Elk Park. It's a splendid way to get in touch with nature and God and quietly reflect in a peaceful setting.
Visit the Lone Elk Park website
Varieties Bird Shop See an incredible selection of birds at Varieties Bird Shop. If you are looking for a new addition to your family, they have a huge selection in their interactive environment.
And next door to them at Young's Ice Cream Parlor
Visit Young's website say hi to Sibyl and Grant Young who make the best cherry dipped ice cream cone in the world, yummy!
Varieties Bird Shop
Visit VarieteesBird Shop's website
208 Meramec Station Rd
Valley Park, MO 63088
Andy's Animal House And, if kittens, puppies or exotic fish is your quest Andy's Animals has it all.
Visit Andy's Animal House website
218 Meramec Station Rd # 220
Valley Park, MO 63088
The World renowned Museum of Transportation was founded in 1944 and set astride the original mainline of the Pacific Railroad. Including one of the first railroad tunnels west of the Mississippi river, now on the National Register of Historic Places.
With over seventy locomotives, the museum has the most complete collection of American rail power anywhere, and its collection of automobiles, busses, streetcars, aircraft, horse-drawn vehicles and river boat material reflects the ever-changing nature of transportation. Guided walking tours and rides on the miniature Abbott Railroad (in season) are all part of the fun. There is a concession stand and gift shop of transportation memorabilia. Museum of Transport a.k.a The Train Museum (picture). And now children and visitors can ride a darling train Spring to Fall at the museum, "all aboard" - choo, choo!
The Museum of Transport
3015 Barrett Station Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63122
Phone: (314) 965-7998
Visit the Museum of Transportation website!
This caboose is preserved in Valley Park Town Square.
The climate must be perfect all year!
Click here for the latest weather report for Valley Park, Missouri
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