Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fanetti Plaza

Fanetti Plaza is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks. It was established in 1979 and makes up 1.51 acres of the total 2,956 acres of park land in St. Louis.


This triangular park is located between Ivory, Schirmer and Michigan Avenue in the Patch.  The city website doesn't give a location or any information on the park.


However, there is a great personal website with plenty of info on the park.

This website is so comprehensive, I'll have little to add.

Anyhow, Fanetti Park was named after Donald L. Fanetti (1922-1977).  A commemorative plaque exists in the park and describes Mr. Fanetti as:

FAMILY MAN-HUMORIST-FRIEND
BUSINESSMAN-COMMUNITY LEADER
UNDER-EDITOR BUGLE NEWSPAPER



The Bugle was a humorous newspaper published from 1944 - 1996.


Here's some background on the Bugle from stlmediahistory.com:
After returning from military service in 1944, newspaper founder Donald Fanetti published the first copies of The Bugle. He and his wife, Mary June, came up with many of the humorous features of the paper, such as the “Joke of the Weak” and an advice column from a politically incorrect, battered husband.              
“Donald Fanetti was probably one of the funniest guys in St. Louis history,” says Geraci. “He was always pulling stunts and he got away with a lot of stuff that wouldn’t go today. For example, he advertised that  was going to jump off the JB Bridge. The cops weren’t happy with that at all. A crowd showed up, and he showed up and jumped from a part of the bridge that was about three feet from the ground. I’m told he went to the Illinois side to do it so the police on this side couldn’t grab him” 
Stunts like the JB Bridge caper brought Fanetti and The Bugle to the attention of the late KMOX Radio personality Jack Carney. Carney would occasionally have Fanetti on his popular morning talk show, where the two would poke fun at each other.
The setting of Fanetti Park is nearly perfect as an urban pocket park.  It is on the property of the former St. Boniface Catholic Parish.  

As the Catholic Arch Diocese continues to abandon the city of St. Louis due to lower #'s of Catholics and hence dollars, they chose to close St. Boniface which had been in existence since 1861.  It sold the former church to Rothschild Allen LLC for slightly more than $1 million (source).  The church is now the Ivory Theatre, a ~200 seat theatre that host music, plays, etc.  They recently sold their former school to a Charter School called the Carondelet Leadership Academy:

The Carondelet Leadership Academy Charter School was established in 2010 and is a Tuition-Free independent public school serving grades K-7, expanding to include 8th grade in the fall of 2013. We are managed by American Quality Schools, and sponsored by the University of Missouri. 
Carondelet Leadership Academy is a neighborhood school serving primarily zip codes 63111, 63116, 63118. CLA is designed for students who want a small school with a close-knit community of students, teachers and families, and an academically challenging, hands-on learning environment.










The park has a charming feel and it was designed very well and looks to be well maintained.  

There are walkways, a fountain, park benches and a covered pavilion area.  



The park overlooks some nice restaurants and commercial spaces.  This is a really nice part of the Patch.



Check out a show at the Ivory Theatre and take a stroll through Fanetti Park on your way to a nice dinner at the restaurants in the area.

3 comments:

Chris said...

Also the site of monthly free concerts in the summer.

framiko said...

I just rode my bike past here yesterday. As I passed, a young dude on a bike rode up to me and asked if I would race him. I declined. He rode ahead of me for a while then eventually peeled off.

I love this part of the city. It feels like an alternate universe.

A Bike Nerd said...

I encountered a young man on the river des pres greenway who also asked me to race. I declined. Something fishy was going on and I wanted no part of it.
As for the archdiocese "Abandoning" the city- I disagree with your choice of words. There are lots of Catholic Churchs in the city and due to shifts in population and the sad reality that church attendance is dwindleing it is not fesable to keep every church open. The rise of quality education in the city is a double edge sword. Yes you get great free education which benifits everyone but you also loose the support of the private catholic schools that are a tradition in this city. Why would parents in this economy pay for school when they can get a quality education for free? If the school goes, the church isn't far behind. Thank goodness a lot of these classic buildings are being repurposed.
Love your blog. I grew up in south Hampton and now live in St. Louis hills and sometimes I forget what a great city we have