Timothy E. Griffin
• Chief Administrative Officer
Russell B. Hawes
659 ft (201 m)
GNIS feature ID
Kirkwood is an inner-ring western suburb of St. Louis located in St. Louis County, Missouri, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city’s population was 27,540. Founded in 1853, the city is named after James P. Kirkwood, builder of the Pacific Railroad through that town. It was the first planned suburb located west of the Mississippi River.
Plans for a new community close to St. Louis were begun after the St. Louis fire of 1849 and the preceding and subsequent cholera outbreak that killed one-tenth of the residents of downtown St. Louis. In 1850, Hiram W. Leffingwell and Richard Smith Elliott bought land 14 miles (23 km) from downtown, which was at about the same time James P. Kirkwood, chief engineer of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, was laying out a route for the train line. The city of Kirkwood, named after chief engineer Kirkwood, was platted in 1852. Kirkwood was the first suburban municipality built outside of the St. Louis city boundaries.
When the railroad reached the community in 1853, the developers sold lots for the Kirkwood Association. Other Leffingwell developments were to include the construction of Grand Avenue and the establishment of Forest Park.
Traditions and cultural institutions
The Greentree Festival is held every September. It offers arts and crafts for kids and many different foods from many different cultures. This has been a tradition for over 50 years. Since 1961, the festival has been held in Kirkwood Park, and consists of a parade and a fair. The festival was originally created to replace the drought-stricken trees in the park.
The Kirkwood High School Pioneers and Webster Groves Statesmen alternate as hosts of the annual Turkey Day Game, the longest-running football high school Thanksgiving Day rivalry west of the Mississippi. The 100th anniversary game was in 2007. The winner of the Turkey Day Game receives the Frisco Bell, while the loser gets the Little Brown Jug.
The train station of Richardsonian Romanesque style was built in 1893. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), it has become a symbol of the town. It is the only station stop that Amtrak makes in the St. Louis metropolitan area outside the central city. Among the four other buildings in Kirkwood listed on the NRHP is a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Ebsworth Park Foundation.
In 1895, the Meramec Highlands resort was built on the bluffs above the Meramec River.
The National Museum of Transportation is a private, 42-acre transportation museum in Kirkwood. Founded in 1944, it restores, preserves, and displays a wide variety of vehicles spanning 15 decades of American history: cars, boats, aircraft, and in particular, locomotives and railroad equipment from around the United States.
The Kirkwood Farmers’ Market was founded in 1976. The outdoor market offers a variety of homegrown vegetables and fruits. More than 300 local businesses contribute to the market.
The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum in Kirkwood has become a popular family attraction for the region. Opened in 1979, it receives over 500,000 visitors annually and has been visited by more than 10 million people. The museum’s original building was built in 1901 and has undergone several renovations and expansions. The Magic House was ranked by Zagat as America’s top travel destination based on child appeal.