Saturday, June 14, 2014

Russell Park

Russell Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks.  It is a 1.1 acre park that was placed into ordinance in 1950 and is located in the West End neighborhood:


The park is at the south west corner of Goodfellow Boulevard and Cabanne Avenue.  

The latter street is pronounced Cab-a-nee for those that don't know.  This was news to me as I've always pronounced is Ca-bain.


Per the city website, this tract of land was donated to St. Louis by the late St. Louis Architect, Ernest J. Russell who was a world renowned architect of his time. He was president of the American Institute of Architects and an Honarary Corresponding Member of the Rotyal Institue of British Architects. Not too shabby, eh?

Ernest J. Russell  photo source UMSL Mercantile Library

I wonder what Mr. Russell would think of this part of town after it has been beaten and abused by the current and previous generation of residents.  Russell Park has seen better days and it is a damn shame. Sorry to be a downer but sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade.  What you'll see today upon a visit is a story of abandonment by all involved, the neighbors, the neighborhood, the park users, the Park's Dept, the Alderman, everyone can share blame for what's going on here.

So what is wrong you ask?  The south side of the park has an abandoned building open to the elements and squatters.


The inside of the park has no tree care or otherwise, in fact the tree limbs from park trees have fallen on personal property and cars on surrounding parcels.


Malt liquor and booze bottles galore.


Gang tagging on the playground equipment.



Destroyed water fountains.


There is a swing set, playground, spray fountain and a cool mid-century pavilion.




As down as this park and part of town are, there are still decent old people around here.  I spoke to 2 men that live near Russell Park to get their story on the park and the neighborhood that they called Cabanne not West End.  He told me in his own words that Cabanne is worse than his experience in Vietnam.

Kind of the icing on the cake for a bad visit and a bad vibe.  Nobody around here seems to care and the park is a reflection of the community.

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