Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lucier Park

Phillip Lucier Park is one of three parks in the Skinker-DeBaliviere Neighborhood.  It accounts for 2.97 acres of the total 2,956 acres of parks in St. Louis.  It was placed into ordinance in 1980.


The park is located near Hamilton and Westminster and is pretty hard to find and even harder to get to because of the crazy dead ends, one ways, bollards, etc that make navigating this neighborhood a puzzling maze.

Anyhow, I jumped a few curbs and finally found this park which is nothing more than a small playground and football field complete with 2 field goals.



The park sits in the shadow of the beautiful, still in-use Hamilton School.


It would be nice to see this park adopted by the school for outdoor learning.  Gardens, landscaping, you name it.  Not unlike synergies you see in neighborhoods like Franz Park, where the park and Wilkinson ECC school extend the learning environment to the park.

You can see the relatively new Gotham Apartments in the distance right on the north side of Delmar Blvd.


I pay a lot of attention to the trees, landscape and wildlife in the parks, and this was the first park that I saw killdeer, a common sighting in the prairie/farmland in my beloved Southern Illinois.  You don't see a lot of these loud, insect-eating, fast running birds scurrying around in the city, but today I was lucky.


Charadrius vociferus (photo source)

Since there really isn't much to see here, so I'll focus on the man for the whom the park is named for.  Phillip Lucier was
Philip J. Lucier, president of Continental Telephone Corp. drove his black Cadillac into the parking lot of the Pierre Laclede Building, 7701 Forsyth Blvd., in the Clayton business district of suburban St. Louis. He and two telephone company vice-presidents, James Robb and James Napier, had decided on the spur of the moment to have lunch at the St. Louis Club. No one knew they were going there. (source)
He ended up being the victim of a mob hit gone awry.  His car was bombed when he was mistaken for another person who had a run-in with a New Orleans mafioso.  The crime was never solved and the FBI botched the case.  He had ties to some powerful people in the St. Louis scene and the unions were keeping a close eye on him, he was a wealthy, influential business man with 11 children.  
Nobody could even begin to comprehend how such a tragedy could befall the respected and well-liked head of a business as benign and main-street as a telephone company. At the time, St. Louis was known as the "Bomb Capital of the Country" but this was beyond the pale. (source)


So there you have it.

2 comments:

Richard said...

THe park is pretty lame. It's main problem is that none of the buildings face it. There have been a couple optinos presented to reconfigure the park int he SD planning process. Either would require a vote fo the city since they'd take land away from it. Another interesting thing is to look at it on Google Maps. You can see the ghosts of the apartment buildings that used to be there.

Daniel Duran said...

I am the grandson of Philip Lucier. This park is dedicated to this great man, a man who I have never met but have felt such a great connection to. I have been so privileged to visit this park, and to us, it is such a special place. I, and my family, would 100% back it being re purposed and turned into an even better park. Grandpa Lucier was a mover and shaker. He loved is neighborhood and fought to make it a safe and welcoming place to all people, no matter their gender, race, economic status, you name it. I support the revitalization of this park.

Daniel Duran