NEWS11 Remembers: Tower Grove Park

Posted on: 8:47 pm, August 22, 2012, by , updated on: 06:54pm, August 22, 2012

SOUTH ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) – It is one of the best known parks in St. Louis, though it looks more like a garden.  And when you learn who designed it, you’ll know why.

Paul Schankman has the story in this week’s NEWS11 Remembers.

I think most of us have driven through the park, driven by the park, picnicked in the park, enjoyed festivals in the park and it really is one of the real jewels in the metropolitan region.

Tower Grove Park takes its name from Tower Grove House, the country home of Henry Shaw, located on land that would eventually become the Missouri Botanical Garden.

But Shaw had also had ideas beyond his garden gate.

It really was a part of Shaw’s dream to create an English garden like Country Park and the 280 some acre Tower Grove Park was his answer.

Shaw filled the park with more than 8000 trees and shrubs from around the world and included a system of winding roads to give visitors beautiful vistas at every turn.

One thing I think a lot of people don`t realize is that Shaw also owned property surrounding the park and in the earliest days he thought that he could develop small homes around the park and that those homes would become a source of revenue to support the park. That dream never materialized but certainly his dream of a park did materialize and it is testimony to good management and citizen interest that the park probably looks better today than it has since its heyday.

In 1868, when Shaw donated the park to the City of St. Louis, the land sat outside what was then the city’s western edge.  So it has always been governed by a state board, appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court.