Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fox Park

Fox Park is one of 108 St. Louis parks.  The 2.69 acre park was placed into ordinance in 1917 and is located in the Fox Park neighborhood.

The park is located just south and east of the intersection of California and Shenandoah Avenues:
The park has seen much investment and hard work over the years. There is an active park committee dedicated to improving the park. This used to be not such a nice place, it is getting better year after year as more eyes/ears and sweat equity are directed toward the park, the center of this great neighborhood.

In full disclosure, I was a co-chair of the park committee for ~3 years, so I have a lot of experience with this park.  You can read all about my adventures and thoughts from February, 2013.

For the purpose of this post, and to remain consistent with the other 108 or so park profiles, I'll keep this focused on the "passer-by" method of documenting the park.  What would you see if you visited for the first commentary.

So, Fox Park has the only Cardinals Care baseball field in South City.  There are a total of 18 Cardinals Care fields throughout the two-state Metropolitan region.  Ten are in the suburbs and small towns, five in North City, two in Forest Park and then Fox Park.
There is also a basketball court and playground.
The brick park pavilion is probably the centerpiece of the park. There is a nice "general field" for soccer, etc near the California side.
There are some nicely landscaped areas and new trees planted to provide some definition to the different areas of the park.
A couple things I will say is that there is a planned "spray pad" section just south of the pavilion that should break ground any day now.  There is also a group of volunteers raising money and resources for a much needed dog park.
The recent opening of the Purple Martin, a neighborhood bistro, has activated a critical corner right across from the park.
The park is in good hands, the neighbors have invested a lot of time and effort on making the park a nice place.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sherman Park

Sherman Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks.   This 22.04 acre park is located at the northwest corner of Kingshighway and Martin Luther Kingthe Kingsway West neighborhood.

The park was placed into ordinance in 1917 when the city took over the property after one of St. Louis' worst fires in its history took the lives of 10 people including 7 firemen.  

Here's some history on from the St. Louis Website:
Sherman Park's site was originally within the Cote Brilliante Suburb, platted in 1853. Later, it was the campus of Christian Brothers College, until that school was destroyed by fire in 1916. During the next year, it was acquired by the City for park purposes at a cost of nearly $200,000. Remaining portions of the school structure were later converted into a community center and library. In 1959, the new David P. Wohl Community and Recreation Center was completed within the park at 1515 North Kingshighway. It is located on a sloping site and was built at a cost of about $900,000 from plans by Russell, Mullgardt, Schwarz and Van Hoefen. (source)
Here's some more from

Christian Brothers College High School was founded in 1850 when the first school was established at Eighth and Cerre Streets in downtown Saint Louis. By 1855, the school became the first establishment of the Brothers to function on the collegiate level when
8th and Cerre Campus
the state of Missouri granted Christian Brothers College a college charter. This would be the first college of the Brothers in America.
2nd Campus

Rapid industrialization following the Civil War forced the school to build a new facility. The Brothers purchased 30 acres of land for $50,000 near the intersection of Kingshighway and Easton (now Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.) By 1882, the new school was ready for students and by
1889, CBC had established a reputation as one of the finest schools in Saint Louis.

Here are some photos of the fire damage:

Here's a little history on how CBC left St. Louis for the suburbs/then farmland of Clayton, Missouri and now they are located even further west in the suburbs near I-270/I-64.  From the CBC website:
The new campus was quite opulent. Its five-story structure contained a library with more than 40,000 volumes and manuscripts, four grand parlors and reception rooms, a 1,000 seat auditorium, and a steam elevator. But in October 1916, a fire ravaged the building and insurance at the time was insufficient to cover the estimated $275,000 in damage. The property was sold, and with the help of the Saint Louis Archdiocese, another campus was established on what was then farmland in Clayton, Missouri. That campus opened in 1922 and would serve as the school’s home for more than 82 years. Given the age of the building, inadequate parking, lack of practice fields and space considerations, the Board of Directors made the decision to build a new facility on land donated by a prominent alumnus.
In September 2003, CBC opened its fourth campus near the intersection of I-270 and I-64/U.S. 40 – one of the heaviest traveled intersections in the metropolitan area.

current CBC location; photo source

There are several prominent features within the park including another Cardinals Care ball field, a recreation center/swimming pool and an elevated topography that offers amazing views of downtown and the Arch.

park is elevated, surrounded by a ~4 foot stone wall

Downtown riverfront in the distance

If you like sports this is your park with tennis, basketball, football, swimming and baseball.

There is a cool service building on the west side of the park.

And of course, the classic bathroom buildings so common in our older parks:

And finally the Wohl Community Center built in 1959:

The glass block design has taken a beating by the local rock throwers, but you can still appreciate the mid-century modern design.

I couldn't verify who the park is named after, so please leave a comment if you have the information.