Saturday, June 7, 2014

Marie Fowler Park

Marie Fowler Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks.  This small 0.72 acre park is at the north east corner of Page and Union Boulevards in the Academy Neighborhood.


Per the city website, this park was placed into ordinance in 1981 and used to be called Costello Park.

Since the park is so small, I'll focus on Marie Fowler herself who was was a prominent community leader and advocate for disadvantaged folks in this part of town.

Marie Fowler's tradition of helping people was passed down to her children as one of her sons, Flint Fowler, has served as the President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis and the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Clubs before that.

photo by Maurice Meredith, St. Louis American, July 26, 2007

Here's some info on Ms. Fowler from a St. Louis American article after her passing at age 78 in 2007:
Marie was one of the “Five Woodruff Girls” who grew up at Pleasant Green under the leadership of Pastor George H. Pruitt. She was the third of five girls born to the union of Jesse and Pineter Woodruff, on June 8, 1929. 
Rebe, as she was called by family, was educated in the St. Louis Public School system. She was a proud graduate of Vashon High School and attended Stowe Teacher’s College.  On March 9, 1951 she married Eugene L. Fowler, who preceded her in death. To this union were born Wanda Marie, Clete Eugene, Donna Christine, Flint Woodruff, Craig Cameron and Sean Marcus.  
In August 1959 the Fowler family moved to the 5800 block of Bartmer, when the neighborhood was in the early stages of integration. A neighbor, Eugene Siebert, invited her to join the West End Community Conference. She later served as its chairman and executive director for more than a decade. 
She was a member of CORE during the Jefferson Bank protests and integration of local lunch counters. Among many educational efforts, she served as chairman of the board and director for Kinder Cottage Pre-School for more than a decade. 
She also served on the boards of the St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis Housing Authority, National Black Child Development Council, Urban Renewal Study Committee, Youth Service Commission and the March of Dimes. 
“She was a tireless force for the city’s children and families,” said Mayor Francis G. Slay. (source)
The park is unique in that it is surrounded by 8' fencing and set up with gates that can be locked to keep people out.  And there are prominent signs warning people against loitering and drinking.  Luckily on my visit, I was able to gain entry.  It is counter intuitive that you have to jimmy a latch and pull out a huge gate to enter a park; but, that is what you have at Marie Fowler Park.


The above is evidence that there have been problems here and the idea is to keep people out of the park except when there is something planned going on.  This is also the first park I've seen with private security signs marking public property.


Most likely music or other events on the nice stage that is the main draw of the park.  The stage is in the north east corner of the park.  The park is really a nice little setting and you can image what a great venue it would be for small outdoor concerts.


There is also a landscaped center circle and some nice trees.  This might be the smallest park I've visited to date.


1 comment:

Julie said...

I took Union to work daily last summer and saw this little park every day and wondered what its story was. I didn't realize there was a stage from out in the road. Regularly I saw someone maintaining the landscape though but wondered why it was hidden behind the fence.