Lafayette Square


The earliest commercial activity in the Lafayette Square area was located along Chouteau Avenue and on Park Avenue east of Mississippi. The 1875 Compton and Dry atlas shows the Lafayette Park Hotel on the southeast corner of Park and Mississippi Avenues. The largest commercial enterprise in the vicinity then was Joseph Schnaider's Summer Garden on Mississippi Avenue near Hickory Street. Outdoor theatrical performances were presented there while patrons imbibed beer from Schnaider's nearby brewery. Commercial uses were excluded from the vicinity of Lafayette Park until the mid 1920's, when zoning relaxation brought isolated uses on Lafayette Avenue. Park Avenue has experienced a commercial decline in recent years despite efforts to establish it as a center for antique shops. The principal commercial area now is along Jefferson Avenue, north as far as Chouteau Avenue, where some deterioration is also evident.