Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hickey Park

Hickey Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks.  This 16.26 acre park was placed into ordinance in 1947 and is located in the Baden Neighborhood just east of North Broadway right at Harlan Avenue:



The park was named after David Hickey, the first St. Louisan to lose his life in WWI.  Per the city website:
Dedicated April 10, 1941 and named in honor of David Hickey, the first St. Louisian who gave his life for his country in the World War in the Battle of the Toul Sector, February 24, 1918. (source)


St. Louis Post-Dispatch file photo

Tim O'Neil of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did an excellent story on Hickey's involvement in the war and his impact on St. Louis; here are a couple snippets from that piece:
Hickey had grown up just north of downtown and was a newsboy. He later worked in shoe factories and the Post-Dispatch mail room, where newspapers were bundled. He played on local amateur baseball teams and never married. 
Hickey was the first of 1,072 men from the St. Louis area who died in uniform during World War I.
Read the full Post-Dispatch story HERE.
The current Hickey Park is the second named in his honor.  The first Hickey Park, established in 1941, was located at Goodfellow and Bircher boulevards. This park was dissolved when the parkland was taken to build the ammunition plant on Goodfellow for World War II. This was the factory visible from I-70.  I wish that factory was still around as a historical site commemorating St. Louis' domestic contribution to the war effort.  It was demolished in 2006.

photo source:  Built St. Louis

Per the Post-Dispatch story, the current Hickey Park was dedicated by Mayor Raymond Tucker in 1960.  This makes way more sense than the City website info which had the park dedicated in 1941, as the park on Broadway clearly looks post-war.

Today, the park is made up of a small service building with bathrooms, 2 playgrounds, a basketball court, several baseball fields (that look unused) and a walking path that circles the park with the commonly seen blue workout equipment at various stations.








During my visit, there was a guy walking the path and a few kids in football gear getting ready for a practice.

There is plenty of evidence that the park has been abused by its users.  

See for yourself:


 Hurt Em Badd 2000




The walking path is a sign of recent investment in the park.  Hopefully that will be the impetus to more positivity coming to the park in the future.

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