Friday, November 29, 2013

Lyon Park

Lyon Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks making up 10.92 of the total 2,956 acres of park space.  Placed into ordinance in 1868, this is one of our oldest parks and is a great monument to our important history supporting Union efforts during the Civil War.

In the shadow of the Anheuser-Busch InBev brewery, the park is located between Broadway, Arsenal, 2nd Street and Utah in the Kosciusko Neighborhood.



The large complex to the southeast is the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency facility.

The softball fields are used by the ABI employees and are in really good condition.


There is a mid-century service facility complete with a fountain, restrooms and storage space.



The park is named after the ardent Unionist Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon who fortified the St. Louis Arsenal, now the sight of the U.S. mapping facility.




There is also a monument to the importance of the St. Louis Arsenal with Gen. Lyon on horseback:


Here's an entry from the Civil War Muse on Lyon Park and the St. Louis Arsenal:
The St. Louis Arsenal whose grounds on on the east side of Second Street. Just to the west is Lyon Park. Lyon Park was established in 1869 by an Act of Congress which granted an eleven acre section of the St. Louis Arsenal grounds to the city of St. Louis on the condition that the city erect a monument to Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon. 
The Lyon Monument was dedicated on September 13, 1874 and consists of a 28 foot tall obelisk of Missouri granite. The monument is located in the center of the trapezoidal shaped park. 
Walk up to the northwest corner of the park (near the intersection of Broadway and Arsenal) to see the statue of Nathaniel Lyon on horseback and an interpretive sign describing the role played by the St. Louis Arsenal in 1861. Originally located at the corner of Grand and Pine, this statue was moved to its current location in the 1930s.Move out from the trees to get a clear look down the hill at the Arsenal complex. Imagine how it was in the morning of May 10th, 1861, when close to 7,000 newly mustered Federal volunteers marched out of the St. Louis Arsenal on their way to Camp Jackson. 
Unfortunately, there is no access to the Arsenal grounds for it is being used as an active United State Air Force facility. Some of the original buildings still exist. These are some photographs available at the United States Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog:  


Missouri was such a microcosm of the National struggles of the Civil War, the governor Clairborne Fox Jackson favored the secessionists.  It was feared that the Minute Men of Missouri, secessionists themselves, sought to take control of the arsenal.  Congressman Francis Blair, a personal friend of President Lincoln and a Union man, organized a group of German immigrants called the "Union Guard" to protect the arsenal from the Minute Men.  Enter General Lyon who was largely responsible for fortifying the arsenal with cannons and men to protect the large armory for the Union Army.

 Powder and Ammunition Manufacturing Building-photo circa 1936

Magazine For Small Arms Building-photo circa 1936

Read the full story that is included on the interpretive sign right in from of the Lyon statue HERE.

 Congressman Francis Blair

Governor Clairborne Fox Jackson, rebel sympathizer 

General Nathanial Lyon, staunch Unionist

The park is really kind of a no man's land when it comes to residential, heck 2010 Census data counted a mere 14 people in the Kosciusko Neighborhood and the park itself is surrounded by light industrial and trucking operations.

Years ago there was an Oktoberfest festival held here and it was a nearly perfect setting.  The smell of barley from the brewery mixing with potato pancakes and spaetzle was perfect.  They had an inflatable big screen TV that the Cards post season game was being shown.  It was a perfect setting.

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