Poelker 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 Park, Washington Square Park and Kaufman Park, then Memorial Plaza Park (including Eternal Flame Park and the one across from the Park Pacific which is not listed on the city website), Aloe 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.
Poelker Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks and is named in honor of John Poelker, Mayor of St. Louis from 1974-1977.
John Poelker was born on April 14, 1913 in St. Louis, Missouri. Poelker received a business degree from St. Louis University. On October 19, 1940 Poelker married Ruth Cambrom. They had three children; a son, John S., and two daughters, Susan and Kathy.
From 1930 to 1942, John Poelker held various positions with the E. I. DuPont de Nemours Co. in St. Louis. He served as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1942 to 1953.
Poelker's career in St. Louis government began in 1953 with his appointment as City Assessor. In 1957 he became City Comptroller and served until he became Mayor in 1973. (source)
He also filed the initial legal brief for ROE vs. WADE in 1973 while mayor, initiating the legal battle to halt abortion on demand in the United States. A staunch Roman Catholic, Poelker remained at the forefront of the "Pro-Life Movement" for much of his professional life.
Mayor Poelker and his wife, Ruth Cambron Poelker, initially made their home in the St. Engelbert Parish /Penrose Park neighborhood of North St. Louis. After Ruth's death (and burial at Calvary Cemetery), Mayor Poelker later lived in the St. Regis condominiums on Lindell Blvd. until the time of his death. (source)
The Poelker's are buried in Calvary Cemetery. Here's a picture of Mayor Poelker cutting the tape on the Eads Bridge:
The one acre park itself was placed into city ordinance in 1986 and is located between Tucker Boulevard, Market Street, Chestnut Street and 13th Street.
The park is framed by some icons of St. Louis, with City Hall to the south and the St. Louis University Law School to the east:
The park is intended to be a central corridor of green space to serve as a gathering place for festivals. The Go! St. Louis Marathon was in full swing upon my visit. The park is perfectly suited to serve the central city and region.
water fountains set up for the runners
There is also a monument to the firefighters of St. Louis:
The 1994 memorial (by R. P. Daus) has a bronze statue of a fireman carrying a little girl atop a granite base. The base is inscribed with "Dedicated to St. Louis firefighters past, present and future."
The fire department has also donated some nice benches with beautiful plaques commemorating the department.
what a cool fire dept. insignia