The “St. Louis Veterans’ Home Committee” was formed in the spring of 1983 with two primary goals: to express the need of a state operated veterans home in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, and to serve as its Assistance League.
Research was conducted to determine site requirements. It had to be close to utilities, but far away from noise and other negatives. The ideal site would need to be at least 15 acres, but much more would be preferred. At that time, good acreage was running about $33,000 an acre and the state wanted the land to be donated, as it was in all other home locations. Over the next several years, numerous sites were proposed and closely considered. However, for one reason or another, none of the sites were the perfect fit.
Governor Ashcroft expressed his concern about aging Missouri veterans and acknowledged that there was a need in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. He promised to give his support if the proper location could be found. The governor pledged to meet with members of the St. Louis Veterans’ Home Committee to discuss alternatives. Within a month, that meeting was held.
Less than a month after that meeting with the governor, Mr. Francis St. John, a past State Commander for the V.F.W. and former member of the State Veterans Affairs Committee suggested that we look at the state land just south of Highway 270 on Lewis and Clark Blvd. With the assistance of Mr. Gregory Haden of Luxenburg Reality Company of South County, and two architects, the location was viewed and recommendations were made. Satisfied with those recommendations, a meeting was held with Mr. Richard “Dick” Rice who was then the Director of Public Safety for the State of Missouri and members of his and Governor Ashcroft’s staff. Within a week after that meeting, members of the Department of Public Safety, the Governor’s Office, Missouri Veterans Commission, and Design and Construction, flew by helicopter to the suggested site location. After a short period of time, it was learned that the site was approved but was being planned for the west side of Highway 367 just south of Highway 270. It was that group that put together the legislative package for the Veterans Home in St. Louis. Just prior to construction, the site was changed to its present location on the east side of Highway 367.
With all of the hard work that the St. Louis Veteran’s Home Committee put into this project, and the fund raising activity for the home, Robert R. Buckner, then the Superintendent of the Missouri Veterans Homes, recognized the St. Louis Veterans’ Home Committee as the Missouri Veterans Home-St. Louis Assistance League on April 25, 1990, long before construction was started.
On May 24, 1991, the groundbreaking ceremony was held. The Missouri Veterans Home-St. Louis accepted its first resident on October 31, 1993 and has been serving those who served ever since. With the support of many individuals, groups, and organizations, we have been able to improve the livelihood of the men and women who brought us the freedom we enjoy every day.
It is these individuals and organizations that are so very important. We cannot thank you enough for your financial support.