Tilles Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks. Placed into ordinance in 1957, it is located in the North Hampton neighborhood
bordered by Hampton Avenue to the west, Flyer Avenue to the north, Regal Place (roughly) to the east and Marquette Avenue to the south.
This post was updated in November, 2017 to reflect recent investment including a new basketball court, pickleball courts, splash pad and sunshade on the pavilion nearest Fyler Avenue.
This park is not to be confused with the Tilles Park in Ladue, MO (pop. 8,542).
Most probably know the familiar park sign with full landscape behind it visible from Hampton Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the city.
This rather large, 29 acre park is a staple of the surrounding areas. In fact, there is a volunteer association established for the park. It's called the Tilles Park Neighborhood Association and you can read all about their concerted efforts here:
The mission of the Tilles Park Neighborhood Association is to create and maintain a strong cohesive and viable neighborhood around the area generally known as Tilles Park.
The Tilles Park Neighborhood Association Membership, Board and Community envision a future in which:
- neighbor’s communicate regularly and look out for one another.
- our neighborhood and park are clean and maintained.
- our neighborhood and park are safe for residents and visitors.
- the association is growing and evolving.
Values and Goals:
The membership of the Tilles Park Neighborhood Association values:
- a safe neighborhood and park.
- communication between neighbors.
- clear communication with City service providers.
- quality neighborhood events.
- a clean and functional park.
- opportunities for volunteerism in our neighborhood.
- the unique architecture and identity of the neighborhood.
- new members and ideas.
Nice work TPNA!
Per the TPNA website, the history of the park is such:
Tilles Park was created in 1957 by the City of Saint Louis. The $388,000 dollars necessary to purchase the 29-acres for the park was obtained by selling the original Tilles Park in Saint Louis County. Tilles Park in St. Louis City was extensively developedas a result of a 1955 bond issue and a study that showed that the city needed more open park space for its citizens.
Thanks to a kind reader who shared her story with me about growing up this part of town, apparently the park used to be part of a potter's field. Historian Esley Hamilton corroborated this in a July, 2007 entry in St. Louis Magazine:
Since the founding of St. Louis more than 200 years ago, many areas have been known as potter’s fields—burial grounds for unknown or unclaimed bodies. One was located at what is now Benton Park, says local historian Esley Hamilton. In the mid- to late 19th century, unclaimed bodies were taken to Koch Hospital Cemetery, a.k.a. Quarantine Cemetery. Koch Hospital was the designated place to treat those inflicted with yellow fever and smallpox, along with the wounded and sick from the Civil War.
Perhaps the city’s last known potter’s field was located where the Hampton Gardens apartment complex and surrounding homes stand today, in the area bound by Hampton, Fyler, Scanlon and Sublette. It would have been the city’s newest potter’s field in the late 19th century, and the remains buried there are believed to have been moved to Mt. Lebanon Cemetery at Lindbergh and St. Charles Rock Road before Hampton Gardens was built in 1952.
The park's full original name is the Rosalie Tilles Memorial Park, in dedication to the mother of park founder Cap Tilles.
Cap Tilles (1865-1951) was a prominent local businessman.
Tilles was co-founder and president of a St. Louis, Missouri based investment syndicate that dominated the US horse racing industry in the early 20th century. The media nicknamed the partnership "The Big Three" for their monopolization of the Midwestern and Southern tracks.
Tilles was also associated with the cigar, real estate, stock, and brokerage businesses. In particular, Tilles made a personal fortune in real estate, owning lucrative properties for development and sale along the famed Loop of Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis, Missouri. In later years, Tilles turned towards philanthropy, which among other charitable acts, initiated a sizable foundation for the education of poor children, as well as funding and developing three separate municipal parks that remain in use to this day. (source)
Andrew "Cap" Tilles
Tilles Park is all about nicely landscaped areas, clean spaces and outdoor physical activiites including
playgrounds, a roller hockey rink, 3 soccer fields, a soccer kick board, 3 softball/baseball fields, a basketball/volleyball court, 2 racquetball courts, 3 tennis courts, picnic pavilion, an exercise station and walking path.
The best thing about the park is that nearly all the outdoor amenities were in use by respectful park goers. The park has a safe feel and is highly trafficked. And anyone with kids in the CYC leagues has certainly logged many hours in Tilles.
Here are some updated photos as of November, 2017 including the new basketball court which was moved to the "top of the hill" nearest the pavilion by Fyler Avenue:
The pavilion now has a much needed shade:
The site of the former basketball court is now a children's spray pad.
Maybe the most exciting news is the addition of six new pickleball courts on the site just east of the single tennis court. Pickleball is on of the fastest growing sports in the U.S.
"Tilles Park will now be recognized as the first multi-court permanent net pickleball facility in the St. Louis area and a destination for pickleballers in the St. Louis community to play each day of the week!"
Congrats to the folks working hard to make this park as nice as it is today.