Compton Heights Neighborhood in Saint Louis has been a restricted and planned community since its inception in the 1800s. Founded on the Northwest corner of what once a communal grazing area, the neighborhood lies between Nebraska, Shenandoah, Grand Boulevard and 1-44. Development for residential uses kicked off in the 1860s, and was mainly done by German planners and citizens.
Targeted for use by wealthier homeowners, the building restrictions dictated size, style, setback, fencing and a number of other details about the homes. Rental and commercial use was prohibited, and permanent covenants adopted in the 1880's govern the look of the homes even today, ensuring that the neighborhood viewed by modern visitors looks much the same as the original plans.
Most of the homes in the Compton Heights Neighborhood in Saint Louis are now on the registry of historic places. Yet over and above the stunning pre-Victorian homes are the other attractions of the area. Many visitors come every year to see the Compton Hill Tower, Pelican Building, Reservoir Park and Tower Grove Park.
The Compton Hill Tower is the most visual of the three. Standing more than 180 feet high, it serves as both a symbol and water tower for the community. Built from limestone and terra cotta, it holds more than 56 million gallons of water and uses a gravity based distribution system. Since 2000, it has been restored to repair natural weathering that had deteriorated the exterior aesthetics since its construction during the McKinley years.
New additions to the neighborhood include the popular Sterling's Market. Older attractions remain in service, and the primary draw continues to be the community covenants and excellently preserved period architecture. Longfellow Boulevard and Hawthorne Boulevard have some of the best houses and are popular Sunday driving destinations for locals, so tourists may want to choose another day of the week for their visit.