More Than a Swing Set

When the word park is mentioned, an image of a biking trail, playground set and picnic table pops into people’s heads. Although a park is a place where children can run loose and enjoy their youth, where teens can hike and bike to keep their fitness at its best and where adults can walk hand in hand while admiring the beauty of nature and people watching, a park can be so much more. In St. Louis, there are many parks that showcase influential and valuable buildings and sites relative to the history of the city. Below you will find a few of the historic locations that can be found around the St. Louis area. Consider looking deeper into your surroundings the next time you walk through a park.

Parks are more than just single flowers, but when it comes to Aboussie Park in Soulard, there’s not much else to see beyond the flowers surrounding a small gazebo. That’s because Aboussie Park is the smallest official park in St. Louis city, taking up just under half an acre of land between Sidney Street and Interstate 55. The park was named for the late ninth ward committeeman Martie Aboussie who, according to his memorial statue, was “a People’s Politician.”
Cannons keep watch over Lafayette Park, which used to house a number of Union army bases during the American Civil War. Established in 1851, the park was one of the first established parks in the city and was one of the largest of its time. The park is immediately recognizable from the outside thanks to its unique fencing on all sides, and the distinctive Lafayette Square homes surrounding the park are a great backdrop for on-the-town photos with friends.
Tower Grove Park is a favorite among St. Louisans for its wide-open grassy fields and scenic walkways beneath moderate tree coverage. The park features over a dozen pavilions, each with a unique design. The Bandstand Pavilion, seen here behind a bust of Italian composer Guiseppe Verdi, hosts performances and weddings throughout the spring and summer months.


In Forest Park, this attraction is called the World’s Fair Pavilion and it sits right on top of Government Hill. The pavilion is one of the park’s most popular destinations since part of it was built in 1904 during the World’s Fair. It is a great space for gatherings, picnics, special events, etc.
Unmistakable in silhouette, the Gateway Arch is the Midwest’s equivalent to the Statue of Liberty. There’s a beautiful park at its base, too, but it’s hard to focus on plants when you’re craning your neck to the sky. Is it about to topple over, or is that my mind playing tricks on me?
Kiener Plaza is a park in the heart of the city where the Old Courthouse sits. It was named after Harry J. Kiener who was on the U.S. track team during the 1904 Olympics held in St. Louis while the World’s Fair was taking place.
The Jewel Box located in Forest Park is a $3.5 million renovated greenhouse that is used for holiday floral shows and wedding receptions. It is listed on the National Historic Register and was given the destination of St. Louis by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Jewel Box is known as “locally significant in the area of architecture”.