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Remembering Arnold From the Beginning

Roy Wilde's family owned one of the many farms in the area that would eventually be sold to developers and become the city we know today.

Roy Wilde has played a small but important role in shaping the city over the years. He has served on the Arnold Planning Commission from its earliest days and his signature is sprinkled throughout the records of just about every construction project in town.

Not one to stay idle, he likes to volunteer his spare time.

“Whenever I see the need for something, if I’ve got the time, and I’m able, I’ll try to volunteer,” Wilde told Patch. “I’m an interested and concerned citizen. I’ve attended more city council meetings than anybody in Arnold. I like to see what’s going on.” 

Wilde and others started the city's planning commission from scratch.

“A lot of subdivisions were built in the early days," he said. "Homes had carports, then two-car garages, and now three-car garages are very dominant. But very few new roads were built to handle the traffic.”

He complained that a connector road was never built between Highway 141 and Telegraph Road to handle the city’s growing population. But traffic wasn’t always a concern. Wilde remembers being able to ride his bike down Old Highway 141 as a youngster.

“Oh, I tell you, traffic here has changed," he said. "I used to ride my bicycle up to the store to get a loaf of bread on Old 141. There was a hill, and at the bottom were these dogs. I’d get my bicycle going as fast as it could go so they couldn’t catch me! Today, if you try to ride a bicycle, it’s not just the dogs. You’ve got to watch out for everyone. It’s a totally different world.” 

He said the most troublesome project for the planning commission was The Arnold Triangle, which was built in 2005. The 38-acre development, which now is home to Dierbergs, Lowes and many other retailers, also stirred up concerns about the use of eminate domain and required the relocation of the town’s VFW Hall.

Wilde was asked to join the commission by Arnold’s first mayor, Ferd B. Lang. Like the mayor, a little piece of Arnold was named after him — the Roy Wilde Conference Room inside the Fox Service Center. Wilde jokes that he can’t take credit for the whole building, which rests on the location of his childhood home.

“The boundary lines for the Wilde farm would be at one end where Lion’s Choice is and you take a line straight back to the Meramec River," he said. "Then you continue along Old Lemay Ferry at Jeffco, through the top of the hill where Londell Road starts and from there take another line back to the Meramec.”

The Fox District could well have been the Wilde District, if not for the fact that Roy Wilde’s grandfather divided his 115-acre farm between his two sons, George and John, at Tenbrook Road. Roy’s uncle John sold his half of the farm to Charlie Fox. In 1948 Fox sold a piece of land to a newly formed school district forming that replaced five outdated one-room school houses scattered around the community. The school was named Fox.

Charmaine Puttman November 02, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Do you remember how many sanitation lagoons there were back then? Maybe you'd want to continue your good deeds and help out some Arnold citizens who have lost the ability to live in their home or going to lose their homes due to the devaluation of said homes because we live in/on improperly closed down human sanitation lagoons. it's not our fault that the city administration and inspector chose to ignore proper procedures to close some of these lagoons down. I live in a house in this situation. The house is a danger to my family, it shakes and moves when it rains. My deck keeps sinking and slanting. People passing by have complained of the foul odor. The whole Key West Sub. is sinking, or gathering sink holes. More than half of my house's foundation sits feet in the air, just like our neighbors'. Some have extremely high Brain damaging methane levels. Additional poisons are polluting our yards and surrounding areas whether you live On the lagoon or near it or downstream from it. People here have lost their investments and many of us have health issues that can relate to what poisons with which we are living in/on.
Charmaine Puttman November 02, 2012 at 10:58 PM
We have serious storm water problems. The creek and sewage run together and push so hard that they pop the heavy lids tops off the sewage access pipes and leave turds, toilet paper, tampons and even panties in yards. Arnold's answer - bolt down the lids. Now they pop open the next block over.People on Melody, Key West and cul de sacs, Florida, Bender, Stongate and N. Arlene are all suffering from sink holes, sanitation sewage crossing with creek water, storm water flooding and lagoon poisoned worthless property and/or homes. And No, there was no disclosure of a lagoon or that our house(s) are built on piers that don't even touch the bedrock, which building codes at the time required. This is in addition to other codes we uncovered checked "passed" but actually weren't to code. I witnessed this myself. Mr. Wilde, is there anything you can do to help citizens of Arnold stuck down here? I have such happy childhood memories of my parents buying one of the first homes in Hyde Park (Morningside) and going to a little Fox school. I thought it would be nice to raise my family here too. Unfortunately, I brought healthy kids home to a sick house. You did accomplish something special with Arnold. You deserve a BIG Thank You. It's just a shame that a few bad apples had to ruin the pie. This was our American dream, taken by a few crooked people who decided they were more important than the city, much less anyone else. Sincerely.

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