Tower Grove Park

Eastern boundary: South Grand Blvd between Magnolia and Arsenal Sts
St. Louis, MO

Submitted by: Doug Rasmussen

One of three U.S. parks (along with New York's Central Park and Boston Common) listed as a National Historic Landmark.

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Why It Works

Tower Grove Park is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen. It spans 14 city blocks in length and 5 city blocks in width, and sits right in the middle of several historic neighborhoods in South St. Louis. It features several winding biking and running trails, Victorian gazebos, beautiful flora and fauna, granite statues, historic wrought iron gate entryways, several benches and resting places, fountains and wading pools, and places for recreational activity (tennis, softball, barbecuing, etc).

What Makes Tower Grove Park a Great Place?

Tower Grove Park is a tremendous resource for nearby neighborhoods and the City of St. Louis. People nearby use the space for walking, exercising, relaxing, and socializing. People can circulate in it in a variety of ways. There is a central road bisecting the park accessible by automobile (this road, as it lines up with the granite statues, invokes the renaissance "vista" or straight line view principle). The road is narrow and equipped with speed bumps, thus making automobile traffic unobtrusive. People circulate within the park and through it via its various winding paths that leave the park at its corners and bisect the the park's central thoroughfare. These paths offer a variety of ingress/egress points to the different neighborhoods, thus promoting its use from surrounding residential areas. The park is assessible via bicycle and public transit (bus). Bicycles are popular in the park, while buses are not routed through the park but on the main streets bordering it.

I have lived in St. Louis for only 2-1/2 years and I fell in love with it immediately. Their are as many women as men in the park, and as mentioned before it is convienient with a lot of gazebos, benches, and tables for seating. The park is very clean as it is regularly maintained by park rangers and staff. The area feels very safe. Vehicles, though allowed, do not dominate the space. This is largely because traffic down the central thoroughfare is slow and is not visible (or if visible not very noticeable) from the pedestrian and bike paths that wind through the park.

Tower Grove Park is used for many activities, these include biking, walking, reading, walking a dog, a playground for children, running/jogging, playing tennis (on grass tennis courts and hard courts!), barbecuing, listening to music (jazz bands play at the main bandshell/gazebo in the summertime), playing softball, flying a kite, etc. I have seen all types of users in the park (including one eldery man last summer sitting under a sycamore tree on a bench listening to the St. Louis Cardinals radio broadcast). There are many choices and the whole park for the most part is utilized exceptionally well.

As I drive visitors to St. Louis through its historic south side, I always show them the beauty of Tower Grove Park and the beautiful houses that border it. I have seen large groups and small groups of all ethnicities use the park as a place of refuge from the summer heat and as a meeting place for a soccer game, picnic, or walk. The park is a very peaceful place with a variety of people, activities, and life. It's the heart of South St. Louis in my opinion.

History & Background

This is one of three parks in the U.S. (along with Central Park in NY and Boston Common) listed as a National Historic Landmark. I was somewhat surprised that it wasn't already on this website, but then again not many people are aware of the beatiful parks and historic neighborhoods that exist in St. Louis.

Contact Info:

Joyce Ann Pressley, PhD 314-977-3930; Denny Coleman (board of directors and former resident of adjoining neighborhood), 314-615-7664

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