Update: Westland Ares was sold in 2019.
Back in college, I became friends with several people who lived in Wildwood. On several occasions, I drove by Church Road, which branches off of Strecker Road in far West County. I learned later that the road leads to one of the few remaining rural African American communities that sprouted up after the Civil War. There actually were numerous communities across the county besides Westland Acres off Church Road: Kinloch, Meacham Park and Hadley Township are just a few names amongst many others.
There are several great resources to read up on local, rural African American history, which is rapidly being destroyed in most of the county—and city for that matter. Hadley Township, in Richmond Heights, is one example of an historic community about to become rubble. John A. Wright seems to be the local authority on this fascinating aspect of St. Louis history, and you should pick up this book when you get a chance. See the Google Book preview here. While it leaves many questions unanswered, it will make you look at your local community with a new appreciation for those who lived here before.
The community straddles Chesterfield and Wildwood. The descendants of the original freed slaves who lived here are having trouble selling their land for development, despite the fact everyone else around them received no trouble from Chesterfield or Wildwood–I can’t imagine why, can you?