Florissant

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Florissant is a city in St. Louis County. The city has a total population of 53,078, making it the largest city in St. Louis County.

Geography

Florissant is located at 38°47′52″N, 90°19′32″W (38.797800, -90.325570).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.7 mi². 11.4 mi² of it is land and 0.3 mi² of it (2.82%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 50,497 people, 20,399 households, and 13,687 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,442.4/mi². There were 21,027 housing units at an average density of 1,849.8/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 85.66% White, 11.51% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.52% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.49% of the population.

There were 20,399 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,462, and the median income for a family was $52,195. Males had a median income of $37,434 versus $27,247 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,622. About 2.7% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.

History

French settlers arrived in the area during the 1760's and declared it "un val fleurissant," or "flowering valley." But it was the Spanish who set up the first civil government and laid out the grid of streets now known as Old Town in 1786. The Spanish called it San Fernando, which was anglicized to St. Ferdinand. The locals called it Florissant and Valley of the Flowers, which caused much confusion until the name was officially changed in 1939 to Florissant.

The present day Old St. Ferdinand's Shrine was dedicated as a church on November 21, 1821, making it the oldest Catholic Church building between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. Father Peter J. DeSmet, beloved by the Indians as "Black Robe," was ordained here on September 23, 1827.

The Jesuits established St. Stanislaus Seminary just outside of Florissant in 1823. It was the site of the first Catholic school for Indian girls in the United States. St. Stanislaus became a nearly self-sufficient community, covering hundreds of acres that included a winery, an orchard, wheat fields, a butcher shop, and a bakery. The beautiful "Rock Building" was completed in 1840, constructed of massive limestone blocks quarried by the brothers and hauled from the Missouri River bluffs. The seminary closed in 1971, and the buildings were purchased by the Gateway College of Evangelism.

St. Ferdinand was first incorporated in 1829 and chartered as a city in 1857. Gregory Aubachon served as the first mayor. During that era, large numbers of German immigrants settled the valley. Tired of celebrating Mass in French, they established the Church of the Sacred Heart at St. Denis and Jefferson Streets in 1867.

The quiet country village received a big boost when a narrow gauge railway line linked it to St. Louis in 1878. It was replaced by a trolley line in 1890. Just 682 people called St. Ferdinand home in 1920. That figure increased to 1,369 in 1940. After World War II, the once sleepy town was transformed by a massive building boom. The population shot from 3,737 in 1950 to 65,908 in 1970.

Notable Residents

This list may include persons born in the community, past residents, and current residents.

Neighboring Florissant

Hazelwood | Calverton Park | Ferguson | Black Jack | Missouri River | St. Charles County

External Links

Map

<googlemap lat="38.799236" lon="-90.328241" zoom="11" width="700" controls="large">38.799236, -90.328241, Florissant, MO, USA</googlemap>