|Vine-covered tree near Grand Blvd. |
entrance to Tower Grove Park
Although sometimes called one of the City's "best kept secrets", the park has a huge number of devotees and was recently hailed by the Riverfront Times as the "Best Public Park" for 2010. It may be overshadowed by the better-known and more-visited Forest Park, but, in my opinion, its relative peacefulness is a big part of its charm. On my most recent visit, the word that kept coming to mind was: serenity.
Tower Grove Park was donated by Henry Shaw to the citizens of St. Louis in 1868. In addition to its beautiful natural scenery and wildlife (particularly birds), the urban forest boasts some of St. Louis' finest landscape architecture, statuary, and numerous Victorian-era pavilions that can be reserved for weddings, picnics, and other events.
The park includes four full-length sculptures (William Shakespeare, Alexander von Humboldt, Christopher Columbus, and Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben), and a music pavilion surrounded by marble busts of composers Mozart, Rossini, Beethoven, Wagner, Gounod, and Verdi. Other ornamental works are scattered throughout the park.
|Main Drive in Tower Grove Park, early morning.|
|Christopher Columbus by Ferdinand von Miller, dedicated October 12, |
1886. This first statue of Columbus in the U.S. is believed to be "the
only statue in the US of a bearded Columbus, a feature added at the
insistence of the donor [Henry Shaw]. A rumor has it that objecting,
the sculptor carved on the statue: 'I knew he didn't have a beard.'"
|The Music Pavilion is surrounded by this marble bust of Mozart as |
well as ones of composers Rossini, Beethoven, Wagner, Gounod, and Verdi.
Echoing the words of one of the park's commissioners in 1883, the park's official website states that "the public pleasure grounds of a great city . . . are disassociated from all political, religious or social antagonisms; people generally visit them in their happiest, most reflective moods, and on days when the cares and anxieties of business and labor are laid aside." Those words ring true to me in general, and particularly in relation to Tower Grove Park.
Autumn may be on the wane, but the park is a great place to visit in any season. The park is the site of many of the City's gatherings throughout the year, including the popular Festival of Nations, which saw its largest crowd to date—140,000 visitors—in summer 2010. And on Saturday mornings from May through early November, the Tower Grove Farmers' Market and Bazaar (located just west of the Pool Pavilion) is bustling with shoppers and other visitors. Particularly in the summer, this is a great time to bring the entire family to the park, as throngs of kids splash in the wading pool and enjoy the nearby playgrounds.
|Enjoying the music at the Festival of Nations,|
|Families splash in the fountain at the Wading Pool Pavilion,|
adjacent to the Tower Grove Farmers' Market.
Of course, if you want to get a true flavor of the park—get out and enjoy it! Tweet