Chesterfield – A History

Aug 23, 2023 | Agape

With the opening of our newest Design Center, Agape Construction is proud to call Kirkwood AND Chesterfield home!  The City of Chesterfield is relatively modern, as it was incorporated in 1988.  Throughout the 21st century, Chesterfield has been booming with new residential and commercial developments continuing to expand the footprint of Chesterfield.  Despite its apparent youth, there is some interesting history behind this sprawling suburb!

Did you know that the first inhabitants of Chesterfield migrated here in 900 A.D.?  Even then, Chesterfield could be considered a suburb!  The first Native Americans in the area were part of the Cahokian Empire located in present-day Cahokia, IL.  Cahokia was the largest Native American city north of Mexico and consisted of massive, flat-topped pyramids.  It was the center of a vast trading network and was one of the most advanced ancient American civilizations! 

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Native Cahokians followed mastodon herds along the rivers to Chesterfield and settled there due to the abundance of fresh water, food, flint and the rich soil.  The Missouri River offered transportation to the surrounding area and along the trade route.  However, the Cahokian Empire seems to have died out by 1350 (both in Cahokia and Chesterfield).  Archeologists think that perhaps the population growth resulted in de-forestation and over cropping.  Also, without proper sanitation, an epidemic may have wiped out a large portion of the population.  Those that didn’t die probably moved on to greener pastures.

Evidence indicates that Chesterfield didn’t remain uninhabited for long.  By the 1400’s the Missouria Native American tribe inhabited Chesterfield.  The Missourians were still in the area when the Europeans arrived.  Jesuit missionaries were the first Europeans to begin exploring the area in the 1600’s.

In the late 1700’s the Spanish government hired a multi-lingual cartographer by the name of James MacKay to explore and map the Missouri River.  Spain awarded him nearly 3000 acres between present day Wild Horse Creek Road and the Missouri River for his work.  He founded the first village along the Missouri River, St. Andrew (which is now part of present-day Chesterfield).

By the mid to late 1800’s there were several communities in the area that eventually were annexed to create present-day Chesterfield.  They included Bellefontaine, Lake, Gumbo, Monarch, Bonhomme and Chesterfield.  The name Chesterfield was coined by Justus Post, who had an estate in the area in the early 1800’s.

There are a few standing historic structures in the area.  Missouri’s second Governor Frederick Bates built his stately home around 1819. 

Missouri Governor Frederick Bates

Missouri Governor Frederick Bates

Known as the Thornhill Estate, the home was part of a 98-acre plat that was donated to St. Louis County Parks in 1968.  That generous donation is now the beautiful Faust Park, and the Thornhill Estate is on display for any who would like to tour it!

Thornhill Estate

Thornhill Estate – Missouri Historical Society

In total, there are 20 homes in Chesterfield that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are over 100 years old.

Modern day Chesterfield began to take shape in the 1960’s with a residential development, Chesterfield Village, that included condos, apartments, offices, and a shopping mall.  Chesterfield was incorporated in 1988 and today encompasses a sprawling 32 square miles!

Agape Construction Chesterfield

Agape Construction – Chesterfield

Agape Construction is proud to call Chesterfield our 2nd home!  We celebrated the grand opening of our beautiful Chesterfield Design Center in April.  When you meet with your Interior Designer at our new design center, you can see and feel a variety of options to make your home your dream home!  When you work with Agape, you can meet with your team at our home office in Kirkwood or at our gorgeous new center in Chesterfield.

Chesterfield Design Center

Agape Chesterfield Design Center

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