Walnut Park


A long-felt need for public park space in Walnut Park was realized in 1939 when David Hickey Park was opened along the south side of Bircher between Thrush and Goodfellow on land donated to the City for park purposes by the Bircher estate. It had tennis courts, baseball diamonds, a wading pool and playground equipment, as well as winding pathways and benches for passive recreation. Unfortunately, the park did not benefit its neighborhood for very long, as its site was soon preempted for construction of the St. Louis Ordinance (Small Arms) plant in early 1940. New park acreage, about one quarter the size of the lost Hickey Park, was later acquired, but was not landscaped until 1962, when it was named in honor of the late park commissioner, Dwight F. Davis. Streets A good record of the heritage of an urban area may be found in the names of its streets, as is the case in Walnut Park. An example of this is Genevieve Avenue, named for the wife of George W. Strodtman, real estate man and subdivider, Also, Garesche Avenue, named for one of the partners in the Jennings Heights development and Harney Avenue named for General William S. Harney of Civil War fame, who had extensive land holdings in the area. Children of the Jennings and other families of the vicinity are memorialized in streets such as Lilian, Theodore, Lucille, Emma, Thekla, Laura and Amelia. The developers of the original Walnut Park subdivision were partial to birds as may be seen by such names as Thrush, Wren, Plover, Robin, Oriole and Partridge. Authors and poets are remembered in Ruskin, Emerson and Alcott Avenues, while Beacon Avenue is named for a Masonic lodge. Acme and Durant are within subdivisions which bore the names of Acme Heights and Durant Park.

David F. Goodfellow and Charles S. Semple were owners of large farm tracts near Walnut Park, while Bircher was the road to the estate of Doctor Rudolph Bircher. Another doctor was honored by Bernays Avenue, the former name for the northern end of Union Boulevard. Florissant, meaning "flowering" in French, was so named because it was the main road from St. Louis to that old county town. Walnut Park is said to have received its name because of the groves of walnut trees which grew profusely on the nineteenth century farms in the vicinity.