The Hill St Louis

The Hill is a mostly Italian-American neighborhood within St. Louis, Missouri, located on high ground south of Forest Park. The official boundaries of the area are Manchester Avenue (Route 100) on the north, Columbia and Southwest Avenues on the south, South Kingshighway Boulevard on the east, and Hampton Avenue on the west.

Its name is due to its proximity to the highest point of the city, formerly named Saint Louis Hill, which is a few blocks south, at the intersection of Arsenal Street and Sublette Avenue, around 38°36′22.12″N, 90°16′53.1″W (38.6061440, -90.2814178). The intersection borders Sublette Park, the former site of the Social Evil Hospital built there in 1873.

Italians, mainly from northern Italy and Sicily, immigrated and settled in the area starting in the late 19th century, attracted by jobs in nearby plants established to exploit deposits of clay discovered by immigrants in the 1830s.

With the growth of Italian immigration came the growth in the influence of the Roman Catholic Church such that the Parish of Our Lady, Help of Christians, was founded in the downtown area of Saint Louis in 1900 to serve primarily recent Sicilian immigrants, while the Parish of Saint Ambrose was founded in what later came to be known as the Hill in 1903 to serve primarily the recent northern Italian immigrants. By the time the new church of Saint Ambrose was built in 1926, the Parish had already been a force in the area for over twenty years. The structure is modeled after Sant'Ambrogio Church in Milan, in an Lombard-Romanesque style of brick and terra cotta. It became the parish church for the area in 1955, after thirty years of focusing on those of Italian heritage. When Our Lady, Help of Christians, Parish closed in 1975, Saint Ambrose became the center of Catholic life among many Italian-Americans in the Saint Louis area.

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