Saturday, May 17, 2014

Eternal Flame Park

Eternal Flame Park is one of a series of six parks along Market Street in the Downtown West Neighborhood.  Working west from Tucker Boulevard and Market Street you have Poelker ParkWashington Square Park and Kaufmann Park, then Memorial Plaza Park/Gateway Mall Plaza (including Eternal Flame Park and the one across from the Park Pacific which is not listed on the city website), Serra Sculpture ParkAloe Plaza and Aloe Plaza West.  The beautiful and peaceful Soldier's Memorial Military Museum is also part of this stretch of land and I will include that in a separate post.

Since Eternal Flame is not listed on the city website, I'm going to have to wing it and likewise, the park space directly west of the Park Pacific and north of the Soldier's Memorial isn't listed on the city website either.


The two areas I'm referring to are tagged with question marks below:



Here's what this small ~1 acre site looks like between Pine, Olive, 13th and 14th Streets:

There is a criss-crossing path that forms as X from corner to corner.  There are nicely mulched areas under the mature trees and some tulips planted in spots to break up the lawn.  Years ago this was exclusively a homeless squatting spot, today it is in much more active use as people are now living directly adjacent to the park, walking dogs, kids, etc.



 Park Pacific to the east

 Central Library to the north

Soldier's Memorial Military Museum to the south

Directly to the southwest, you have Eternal Flame Park between 14th, 15th, Pine and Chestnut Streets:


The highlight of the park is a monument named "Eternal Flame" erected in 1942 to commemorate the founding of the American Legion during the St. Louis caucus on May 8-10th, 1919. 

The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans. (source)



The monument is topped with a copper top that holds a burning gas flame.


Michael Allen had a nice entry in 2010 on the monument at the Preservation Research Office website, read all about it HERE.



The sidewalks are lined with granite pavers.  Otherwise, the landscape is simple grass and nice mature trees.  Some structured/native/no mow perennial plantings would go a long way to add to the scene (think Forest Park).


Look for these staid downtown parks to become more activated as more people move downtown.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These parks should be activated much more. They should look more like City Garden. What about some beautiful statues or sculptures? What about a beautiful statue of St. Louis IX for whom this city is named. I know we have the famous one at Forest Park, but what about one DOWNTOWN!! We should have one downtown. We should commemorate our French heritage with statues of our old French leaders like St. Ange de Bellerive among so many others! Why have we forgotten this part of our history? Let us never forget.