The History of Florissant
The Valley of Florissant 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 there were 40 people and seven plantations in Florissant at the time of the 1787 census. The village, called “Fleurissant,” or “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. and others began building subdivisions on what was formerly farmland and empty acreage. Approximately 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. In his final year, he was awarded the title of Best Politician in St. Louis by the Riverfront Times.
In 2012, Florissant was ranked 76 in the top 100 list of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live– America’s Best Small Cities. Other recent reports have Florissant ranked as the # 1 Best Small City to Retire To in America and the 2nd Safest City in Missouri.
The retiree community of this St. Louis, MO suburb, a No. 1 place to retire in, can find plenty to do, including dances, a golf league, and more at the The James J. Eagan Center or the John F. Kennedy Center. In terms of retiree amenities per capita, Florissant ranks 54th, compared to 140 other cities.
Florissant’s nearly 53,000 residents, of which almost 16 percent are age 65 or older, enjoy the 21st-best cost of living at 85 percent of the national average. The city is ranked 39th overall for crime, 55th for weather, and is tied for 14th for travel with the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport just eight miles away.
“Old Town Florissant” is the historic district of Florissant and has maintained a vintage charm. Old Town Florissant is comprised of century homes, businesses, restaurants, and shops housed in historic buildings along tree lined streets. For a relaxing time, you should spend the day shopping, dining and enjoying the shady parks and beautiful historic houses and churches in Old Town Florissant.
An organization that promotes the “Old Town Florissant” area is Florissant Old Town Partners. FOTP was incorporated as a 501c3 in August of 1996 and is a group of citizens, businesses and government officials who believe that Old Town Florissant is an attractive area where people can experience a stable, healthy community with a rich cultural heritage.
FOTP works to promote cultural diversity through the elimination of prejudice and discrimination, promotes neighborhood harmony and combats neighborhood deterioration through economic development. FOTP also partners with other organizations to promote similar goals.
Little Arrows Child Care Facility provides the community of Florissant with child care services for youngsters 6 weeks to 5 years old. The facility is open Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.