ST. LOUIS – Organizers have planned a birthday bash at Tower Grove Park this weekend to celebrate one-and-a-half centuries of the site.
The birthday bash is planned from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Sunday. The event is free to the public and will include live music, drinks, food, and family fun for all ages.
As one of only seven National Historic Landmark Parks, Tower Grove Park is well-known for its Victorian architecture and arboretum. To mark the park’s big birthday, St. Louis Author Amanda Doyle wrote a book called “Tower Grove Park: Common Ground and Grateful Shade Since 1872.”
“Tower Grove Park is the oldest Victorian park that’s still in as great a shape as it is in the country,” said Doyle.
The park opened to the public 150 years ago as a gift from businessman Henry Shaw.
“[Shaw] believed in music as one of the things that would bring people together,” said Doyle. “And so he had these busts of some of his favorite composers commissioned to be outside around the music stand.”
Many visitor know the fountain and the ruins in the middle of the park. Doyle says they are not ancient ruins, but rather what’s left of a hotel that burned down in downtown St. Louis in 1876.
“Victorians were very into antiquity and very old things. So Shaw brought them here and had them arranged to look like a castle had just fallen right here in the middle of his park,” said Doyle.
Tower Grove Park has become a place of gathering for people from all walks of life.
“The Park is still as relevant today as it was 150 years ago when it opened,” said David Lauber with Tower Grove Park.
And its also a place for a thriving farmer’s market.
“We started with about 30 vendors and we’re [at] about 140 vendors,” said Chris Geden with the Tower Grove Park Farmer’s Market. “The great thing about this is the farmers and the community are able to interact all the time.”
Earlier this year, the National Park Service awarded a $500,000 grant to Tower Grove Park in an effort to refurbish four historic Victorian pavilions.