CHAMP, Mo. – St. Louis County consists of nearly 100 municipalities. Some prosper behind tens of thousands of residents. Others exist at a fraction of that.
The smallest municipality of St. Louis County, in terms of population, is only home to 10 people.
According to 2020 U.S. Census figures, that distinction belongs to the village of Champ, Missouri, in northwest St. Louis County.
Champ, Missouri, borders parts of Bridgeton and Maryland Heights and covers approximately one square mile of land.
According to Google Maps, the following buildings, structures, and sites are within Champ, Missouri, village limits:
- Small parts of Interstates 70 and 270
- Champ Landfill
- Grace Church
- Ryze Adventure Park
- Zoltek Corporation
- Aim Laboratories
- An office for St. Louis Community College
- A small number of homes
Most of these locations, however, list Maryland Heights or Bridgeton within their addresses. The village doesn’t have a website, and there aren’t many obvious indicators to let people know when they’re within the premesis.
How did Champ, Missouri, come to be? Bill Bangert, the former mayor of Berekely, Missouri, and a former Mizzou track-and-field star, founded the village in 1959.
According to a 2001 report from the Riverfront Times titled “The Champ,” Bangert had ambitious visions for a large-scale sports dome and shopping center to accommodate track-and-field athletes and many other sports. But after failed attempts to acquire more land through annexation and rising debts, Bangert’s plans never materialized. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also chronicled Bangert’s dreams after he died in 2011.
By 1974, the Champ Landfill opened and took over much of the land owned by the village. Officials estimate that the landfill generates around $2 million in revenue for the State of Missouri and $1 million in revenue for St. Louis County annually. The landfill is only open to designated workers with gates and “no trespassing” signs up around much of its boundaries.
According to documentation from the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office over the “classification of municipalities,” Champ meets the qualifications of an incorporated village and is governed by a board of trustees.
A report from Nexstar affiliate KSNF earlier this year suggested that Champ is one of the 10 smallest municipalities in the whole state of Missouri in terms of population.