The exact date the first settlers went to the Valley of Florissant is unknown, but it is one of the oldest settlements in the state of Missouri. Some historians believe it was settled about the same time as St. Louis. The first civil government was formed in 1786. Spanish archives in Havana reveal 40 people and seven plantations were in Florissant at the time of the 1787 census. The village, called "Fleurissant", meaning "Blooming" in English, by its French settlers and "St. Ferdinand" by its Spanish rulers, was a typical French village with its commons and common fields. Originally a separate town, and now an inner suburb of St. Louis, the community was centered on (and frequently called after) the parish of St. Ferdinand. As late as 1889, the town was predominantly French-speaking (while the southern portion of the metropolis was populated by German-speakers). The first train line to the area was constructed in 1878—an extension of the line which went from St. Louis City to Normandy. The last train to Florissant ran on November 14, 1931.
Following World War II, Florissant went from a small village community to a large suburban center, as developers such as Alfred H. Mayer Co. began building subdivisions on what was formerly farmland and empty acreage. Around 18,000 houses were built between 1947 and 1980, and the population swelled to its peak of about 76,000 in the mid-1970s, making it the largest city in St. Louis County.
James J. Eagan was mayor of Florissant for 37 years from 1963 until his death on November 2, 2000. He was re-elected into office nine times, and became one of the longest-serving mayors of any city in the United States. In his final year, he was awarded the title of Best Politician in St. Louis by the Riverfront Times. The civic center off Parker Road is named the James J. Eagan Community Center in his memory.
In 2012, Florissant was ranked 76 in Money magazine's top-100 list of Best Places to Live – America's Best Small Cities. In 2014, Florissant ranked as the #1 Best Small City to Retire To in America and the second-safest city in Missouri.
Florissant is covered by the Hazelwood and Ferguson-Florissant public school districts. McCluer North High School and McCluer High School of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, and North Technical High School are high schools in Florissant. Hazelwood Central is the only high school in Florissant belonging to the Hazelwood School District. Hazelwood Northwest Middle School and several elementary schools are within the limits.
North County Christian School is a pre-school to grade 12 Christian school that is theologically associated with the Church of the Nazarene.
There are several kindergarten through 8th-grade parochial schools in Florissant. These include Atonement Lutheran School, Sacred Heart, St. Ferdinand, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and Saint Norbert.
Florissant has a theological college, an extension campus, and a barber college. Saint Louis Christian College is a private, four-year, undergraduate institution that is theologically and ecclesiastically associated with the Christian churches and churches of Christ. Lindenwood University has its offsite North County Campus located in the former Our Lady of Fatima School. Missouri School of Barbering and Hairstyling-St Louis is also located in Florissant.
St. Louis County Library operates the Florissant Valley Branch in Florissant.
Florissant is home to Northwest HealthCare, an outpatient subsidiary of Christian Hospital. Services include: emergency department, sleep lab, bone density testing, mammography, ultrasound and MRI. A satellite facility of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center that is under construction on the campus is scheduled to open in late 2019.
Florissant City Hall sign, April 2013
Location of Florissant, Missouri
|• Mayor||Tom Schneider|
|• City Council|
|• Total||12.87 sq mi (33.33 km2)|
|• Land||12.56 sq mi (32.53 km2)|
|• Water||0.31 sq mi (0.80 km2)|
||574 ft (175 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||4,100/sq mi (1,600/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
63031, 63032, 63033, 63034
|GNIS feature ID||0756063|