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 gendisasters.com:
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
the state of Missouri granted Christian Brothers College a college charter. This would be the first college of the Brothers in America.
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.
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.