HISTORY OF THE CITY OF KIRKWOOD
Plans for a new community close to St. Louis began following the St. Louis Fire (1849) and the 1849 cholera outbreak that killed a tenth of the residents of downtown St. Louis. Kirkwood was the first suburban municipality built outside of the St. Louis City boundaries.
Hiram W. Leffingwell and Richard Smith Elliott bought land 14 miles (23 km) from downtown in 1850 at about the same time James P. Kirkwood was laying out a route for the Pacific Railroad. Kirkwood was platted in 1852, and named for James P. Kirkwood, chief engineer of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. When the railroad reached the community in 1853, the developers sold lots for the Kirkwood Association. Other Leffingwell developments were to include the construction of Grand Avenue and the establishment of Forest Park.
The train station of Richardsonian Romanesque style was built in 1893. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), it has become a symbol of the town. It is the only station stop that Amtrak makes in the St. Louis metropolitan area outside the central city. Among the four other buildings in Kirkwood listed on the NRHP is a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Ebsworth Park Foundation.
In 1895 the Meramec Highlands resort was built on the bluffs above the Meramec River.