University City was founded in 1906 by businessman Edward Gardner Lewis, who designed it as a model city.
University City is known for its fine residential neighborhoods, art galleries, the business and entertainment district along Delmar Boulevard and the Washington Univerity campus. Two massive lions sculptures by George Julian Zolnay, set atop pylons designed by architects Eames & Young, welcome residents and visitors to the formal city hall plaza.
In 2006, a group of volunteers staged the city’s biggest party in 100 years. Their aim was to show that this small but exciting enclave is more a community of culture, diversity and education than even its founder could have imaged.
It was no small task since Lewis was a dreamer, inventor, chemist, artist, education, potter, women’s magazine publisher, entrepreneur and politician. But with a theme of 100 Fun things to do in University City, on almost any given day something was happening for fun seekers of all ages.
A celebration was held with the grand opening of Centennial Commons, formerly the Heman Park Recreation Facility. With a nod towards the City’s 100th anniversary, the facility underwent a two-year $6M extreme makeover and a name change. The facility is now open for fun, fitness and community events.
The business and entertainment district is also well know as the Delmar Loop, named after the Delmar Streetcar system that provided service for visitors and residents to University City in the early 1900s. The Delmar Loop has been named one of the best 10 streets in America.
In 2000, a strong coalition of supporters, energized by Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill Restaurant, Pin-Up Bowl, and the Pageant Building, began working on bringing a trolley system back to University City.
Edwards organized the St. Louis Trolley Company (LTC) in 2002 with the help of Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT). The group secured a grant from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments and the Missouri Department of Transportation to purchase and renovate two historic vehicles for the new line. The trolleys are currently on display in front of the Missouri History Museum and Commerce Bank in the Delmar Loop.
On Friday, July 9, 2010, the St. Louis Trolley Company secured nearly $25 million in federal funding for the Loop Trolley System linking Forest Park to the University City Loop.