A Brief History of City Parks

The first land was set aside to be used for parks in 1812.

In 1812, the first land was set aside to be used for parks. The first parks created in St. Louis were:

  • Gravois Park, located at Louisiana and Miami;
  • Laclede Park, located at Iowa and Gasconade;
  • Mt. Pleasant Park, located at Michigan and Dakota.

The land was part of the St. Louis Common.

In 1836, when the Common was divided, an ordinance preserved the 29.95 acres for public use as a park, which became Lafayette Park.

In 1844 it was separated from the Commons but it wasn't' until 1851 that it was formally dedicated as Lafayette Square, the name that became associated with the neighborhood that grew up around the park. 

In 1868, Henry Shaw gave the city Tower Grove Park, adjacent to his country home and west of the city limits. 

Forest Park was established in 1874 when the Missouri Legislature passed ordinances to establish three parks in what was then St. Louis County: Carondelet Park in the south;Forest Park in the center and O'Fallon Park on the north. 

The majority of the city's parks were established during the era known as "The Gilded Age" from 1869 to the turn of the 20th century.

Parks were created to meet the social needs of a crowded, industrial city. All parks are owned by the city and were designed to meet many needs...escape from crowded apartment buildings, a place to view art work, a home for a zoo and a nature preserve.

Was this page helpful?      

Comments are helpful!
500 character limit

Feedback is anonymous.