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Webster Groves: a small town with a big city feel

The houses sell fast with a top-notch school district, family-friendly parks and a main street that looks like the backdrop of a Hallmark Movie

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — Join the Today in St. Louis team at Maypop Coffee & Garden Shop on Feb. 21 at 8 a.m. for TISL Town! 

A small town with a big city feel is how people in Webster Groves describe the community where they live, work and play. 

It’s a short 15-minute drive from Downtown St. Louis and offers the quiet escape of a suburb. The real estate market is hot in Webster with homes selling for an average price of $265,000. The houses sell fast with a top-notch school district, family-friendly parks and a main street that looks like the backdrop of a Hallmark Movie.

Webster Groves is home to 23,000 people. It’s a place that exists today because of its location on the Pacific Railroad. The train added Webster as a stop in 1853 and that’s when early settlers began building homes. Many of the city’s most beautiful tree-lined streets -- such as Lockwood, Gore and Plant -- are named after those settlers.

History is celebrated here. There are hundreds of century plaques proudly displayed on homes throughout the city. If your home is 100 years old, you can get one too. The Hawken House is over 150 years old. It was built for Christopher Hawken, the son of the makers of the Hawken rifle.

There are 19 parks in the city limits. The Ivory Crockett park is named after the track star who went to Webster Groves High School and was once labeled the world’s fastest man.

Webster Groves has three walkable business districts: Old Orchard, Old Webster and Crossroads.

Each has its own unique character of small businesses and award-winning restaurants including the Balkan Treat Box and Olive and Oak.

Olive and Oak is the reason there are so many wooden hearts hanging on oak trees in the city. The co-owners of the popular restaurant both lost their sons to heart defects. Money raised from these red hearts benefits The Mighty Oakes Foundation which supports families of children born with congenital heart defects.

Everybody in Webster knows Raynard Nebbitt. You can find him camped out on the bridge over Interstate 44 on Rock Hill just about any time of the day. The city even named it after him.

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. - Raynard Nebbitt didn't see it coming. But his family and friends? They were in on the surprise. So were hundreds of other people. "The St. Louis community, really," Raynard's sister and caretaker, Kathy Nebbitt, said. "It wasn't just Webster Groves." Kathy describes her brother's birthday gift as a miracle.

You can’t drive through the city without stopping to admire the campus of Webster University, where 14,000 students study. Nerinx Hall is just around the corner. It’s an all-girls catholic high school with over 500 students.

The first public school in Webster was Douglass Elementary. It was located in North Webster for African American children after The Civil War. It later became Douglass high school. Douglass was the only high school in St. Louis County for black students during segregation.

A statue in Barbre Park celebrates the African American history in Webster Groves. It means so much to native Kathryn Dehart.

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. - North Webster has a rich African American heritage. Families settled in North Webster after the civil war and created a community that they wouldn't have to leave. North Webster had everything it needed. It had its own churches, grocery stores, doctors and the only accredited high school for black students in the county during segregation.

“This represents a community that worked together, prayed together and stayed together as one,” she explained.

There are a few big events that bring people to the city, including the July 4 parade and the Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival.

The oldest Thanksgiving day rivalry west of the Mississippi is between Webster Groves High School and Kirkwood, where the Statesman and Pioneers battle it out for the Frisco bell.

Webster loves the arts. The city is home to the Opera Theatre, The Rep, The Webster Groves Concert Hall and The Theatre Guild.

Marilynne Bradley is a well-known artist in the city. She teaches art at Webster University.

“I don’t really have to leave the limits to get whatever I want and that includes entertainment,” Bradley explained.

People who live in Webster grew up in Webster, and if they’ve left, they always come back. Like supermodel Karlie Kloss. She’s made quite a few appearances in her quaint hometown.

RELATED: Here’s why there’s hearts on trees in Webster Groves

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