Lafayette Square, on the north edge of the old St. Louis Commons, was predestined to become one of the city's finest residential areas due to it's high elevation and its location surrounding the city's first public park. The park was set aside by the city for public use soon after the sale of the Commons was authorized in 1836, during Mayor Darby's administration. It was not immediately developed as a park, but was called the Parade Ground because of its use for drilling by the Home Guard of Colonel Thornton Grimeley.
The area around the park soon became the object of real estate activity with sales initially taking place on the north and south sides of the park. The north side was particularly desirable because of the broad vistas across Mill Creek valley toward the river. A sharp ridge line along Hickory Street divided the valley from the high plateau to the south, where a gradual down slope was evident in the other directions.
Image - View of Lafayette Square in 1875