Dogtown is unofficially a neighborhood in South St. Louis City.  It is bounded on the north by Highway 40 (I-64), on the east by Hampton, on the south by Manchester, and on the west by McCausland.  It is actually comprised of several other lesser known officially neighborhood such as Hi-Point, Franz Park, and Clayton/Tamm.  The housing stock in Dogtown is varied and consists mostly of small frame or brick bungalows containing 1 or 2 bedrooms built in the 1920’s through the 1940’s.  There are also examples of brick and frame 2 story single and multifamily dwellings throughout the neighborhood.

Dogtown has a rich history and there are several theories as to where the name originates from.  The neighborhood saw growth as a coal mining community in the late 19th century and then a further push with the construction and events leading up to the 1904 World’s Fair.  In the late 19th century it was a working class neighborhood consisting mostly of Irish immigrants and could be a tough place to live.  Squatters had built shacks after being evicted from their homes in what is now Forest Park near the mines they worked in.  During the day they would leave the women and children at home and tie up dogs outside their shacks to watch over their family while they were working in the mines all day.  This is known as “The Watchdog Theory”.  A somewhat more colorful theory stems from the 1904 World’s Fair.  There was a group of Indonesian people that lived in Forest Park as part of the exposition and they were known to eat dogs in their culture.  There were rumors that they would raid the nearby neighborhoods for dogs at night to take back to their homes in the park.  No one can say for sure what the true root of the name is, but these are both amusing and interesting possibilities.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Dogtown is home to the more authentic of St. Louis’ two St. Patrick’s Day Parades.  On March 17th, thousands gather to watch the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ parade, which runs down Tamm Avenue and features many local Irish Schools of Dance.  There are parties throughout the neighborhood and Forest Park all day long.   People from throughout the St. Louis area crowd Dogtown’s pubs and restaurants during the parade and well into the night.   This is one of St. Louis’ best neighborhood festival and neighborhood takes great pride in hosting such a popular event.  Dogtown is known as the beacon of Irish culture in St. Louis.  This stems certainly from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade being held in the neighborhood.  Also, the pubs and restaurants in the neighborhood seem to have adopted the Irish theme.  Establishments such as Pat’s Bar and Grill and Seamus McDaniel’s are neighborhood staples.  St. James the Greater is the most well known Irish Parish in St. Louis and happens to be Dogtown’s neighborhood Catholic Church and School as well.

Forest Park

Dogtown’s greatest assett is Forest Park.  Forest Park is one of the finest urban parks in the country, and for a city the size of St. Louis is unmatched in this country.   It was modeled on New York’s Central Park and is roughly twice its size.  It contains the St. Louis Zoo, The Missouri History Museum, The Art Museum, miles of running and biking paths, and countless athletic field.  Forest Park may be St. Louis’ finest assett and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods are lucky to have it within walking distance when so many drive miles to participate in activities there.

Visit Forest Park’s Wikipedia Page

Dogtown has built its reputation is known as a destination neighborhood.  People frequent the bars and restaurants on a nightly basis and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade contributes significantly to the reputation as well.   The neighborhood has always been stable and desirable.  Though the housing stock is small compared with other neighborhoods held in similar esteem Dogtown continues to demand top dollar for its real estate.  The size of the homes in many cases is what keeps Dogtown affordable for first time home buyers.  The location is fantastic, central to both I-44 and Highway 40.  Being walking distance to Forest Park and having an inherently walkable neighborhood is something that has proven to be highly desirable.  In addition, Clayton is just as close to Dogtown as Downtown St. Louis.

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