Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sherman Park

Sherman Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks.   This 22.04 acre park is located at the northwest corner of Kingshighway and Martin Luther Kingthe Kingsway West neighborhood.



The park was placed into ordinance in 1917 when the city took over the property after one of St. Louis' worst fires in its history took the lives of 10 people including 7 firemen.  

Here's some history on from the St. Louis Website:
Sherman Park's site was originally within the Cote Brilliante Suburb, platted in 1853. Later, it was the campus of Christian Brothers College, until that school was destroyed by fire in 1916. During the next year, it was acquired by the City for park purposes at a cost of nearly $200,000. Remaining portions of the school structure were later converted into a community center and library. In 1959, the new David P. Wohl Community and Recreation Center was completed within the park at 1515 North Kingshighway. It is located on a sloping site and was built at a cost of about $900,000 from plans by Russell, Mullgardt, Schwarz and Van Hoefen. (source)
Here's some more from gendisasters.com:


Christian Brothers College High School was founded in 1850 when the first school was established at Eighth and Cerre Streets in downtown Saint Louis. By 1855, the school became the first establishment of the Brothers to function on the collegiate level when
8th and Cerre Campus
the state of Missouri granted Christian Brothers College a college charter. This would be the first college of the Brothers in America.
2nd Campus

Rapid industrialization following the Civil War forced the school to build a new facility. The Brothers purchased 30 acres of land for $50,000 near the intersection of Kingshighway and Easton (now Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.) By 1882, the new school was ready for students and by
1889, CBC had established a reputation as one of the finest schools in Saint Louis.

Here are some photos of the fire damage:




Here's a little history on how CBC left St. Louis for the suburbs/then farmland of Clayton, Missouri and now they are located even further west in the suburbs near I-270/I-64.  From the CBC website:
The new campus was quite opulent. Its five-story structure contained a library with more than 40,000 volumes and manuscripts, four grand parlors and reception rooms, a 1,000 seat auditorium, and a steam elevator. But in October 1916, a fire ravaged the building and insurance at the time was insufficient to cover the estimated $275,000 in damage. The property was sold, and with the help of the Saint Louis Archdiocese, another campus was established on what was then farmland in Clayton, Missouri. That campus opened in 1922 and would serve as the school’s home for more than 82 years. Given the age of the building, inadequate parking, lack of practice fields and space considerations, the Board of Directors made the decision to build a new facility on land donated by a prominent alumnus.
In September 2003, CBC opened its fourth campus near the intersection of I-270 and I-64/U.S. 40 – one of the heaviest traveled intersections in the metropolitan area.


current CBC location; photo source cbchs.org

There are several prominent features within the park including another Cardinals Care ball field, a recreation center/swimming pool and an elevated topography that offers amazing views of downtown and the Arch.


park is elevated, surrounded by a ~4 foot stone wall

Downtown riverfront in the distance

If you like sports this is your park with tennis, basketball, football, swimming and baseball.






There is a cool service building on the west side of the park.



And of course, the classic bathroom buildings so common in our older parks:



And finally the Wohl Community Center built in 1959:



The glass block design has taken a beating by the local rock throwers, but you can still appreciate the mid-century modern design.

I couldn't verify who the park is named after, so please leave a comment if you have the information.


3 comments:

josh said...

Man, I've been waiting for you to get to this park. My high school baseball team used this as our home field, and we had our practices here as well. I had no idea there was this much history at the park, but it might explain the stone retaining walls.

It has one of the most underrated views of downtown in the whole region.

simpsontee said...

Hi Mark, I tried to post this before but I'm not sure it went through. If this is a duplicate please feel free to delete. Anyway...

I don’t have anything concrete yet, but I think it’s possible the park was named after one of Cote Brilliante’s more famous residents, General William Tecumseh Sherman.

In chapter 26 of his memoirs written in 1875 (available via the Gutenberg project here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4361/4361-h/4361-h.htm) he through a series of transaction came to acquire “a place in Cite Brilliante, a suburb of St. Louis, which I still own.”

The book “The St. Louis Irish: An Unmatched Celtic Community ( written in April 2001, available for purchase here: http://www.amazon.com/The-St-Louis-Irish-Unmatched/dp/1883982391, and excerpted on Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=GMcJGPSXkCsC&pg=PA115&lpg=PA115&dq=%22christian+brothers+college%22+general+sherman&source=bl&ots=sqhSPh9nCd&sig=e62vsCs5y_K0T99T163juUiQ0uk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4pE1VOWVJMWgyASl8YHQCw&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=%22christian%20brothers%20college%22%20general%20sherman&f=false) says that “Civil War hero General William Tecumseh Sherman and woodenware magnate Samuel Cupples, among others contributed to the building” of the CBC college building at Kingshighway and Easton.

So, based on the above I’d assume there’s at least a correlation between the CBC property and Wm T Sherman. Maybe he either donated or sold his land to the CBC to facilitate the move from then-extant city proper? I don’t know, but I’ll keep nosing around to see what I can find.

Herbie Markwort said...

This link may prove useful.

Letter from W.T. Sherman, Headquarters Army of the United States, St. Louis, Mo., to W.W. Jarvis, Troy, Illinois