The Yachts of Carondelet

I moved north from the


area almost six years ago, so whenever I am down there, I rediscover what I loved about that part of town. It is the most architecturally mixed neighborhood...a mishmash of all things South City. And, I'm including

The Patch

when I say Carondelet.

I just can't miss roaming around this part of town and taking in the lifestyles and nuances of this place.

Most recently, these yachts of Carondelet added to the personal intrigue:

dumped or docked?

Corn being grown as sidewalk and front porch border; you can sometimes feel like you are in the deep South.

Ghost signs are everywhere, like most older St. Louis neighborhoods. This one says "Squirrel Food Products". 

Whether you are dropping by

Fanetti P

laza for a summer concert:

Visiting the recently restored

Carondelet Library


Or getting a decadent burger at


 or dropping in


for a slice of Jersey-style can't go wrong in Carondelet.

Carondelet Lions Park

Carondelet Lions Park

Carondelet Lions not that Carondelet Park, the other one.  This park is located in the Carondelet Neighborhood, right in the shadow of the awesome, recently renovated Coca-Cola syrup plant, now called the Temtor that houses the delicious Perennial Artisan Ales...and has a lot of people living there now within its apartments.

The Carondelet Neighborhood

The Carondelet Neighborhood

As you can see I-55 butchered Carondelet and divided it in two.  It's a rough cut that makes access nearly impossible by foot/bike.  It's a sad part of Carondelet's long history.

Carondelet used to be an independent city founded in 1767 by Clement DeLore de Treget, until St. Louis absorbed it in 1870.  The Patch neighborhood was also originally part of Carondelet, but is now a distinct neighborhood.  Most St. Louisans think of the Patch as Carondelet anyhow, and it's branded as such, so why not just merge them?  The charming area around the Ivory Theatre which includes several cafes and bars has a big "City of Carondelet" painting in the middle of the road. 

Carondelet Park Rec Plex "We never turn anyone away because of an inability to pay."

That's a quote from the YMCA website.
We never turn anyone away because of an inability to pay!

No one is turned away from the YMCA of Greater St. Louis because of an inability to pay. Financial scholarships are available at all branches thanks to the generous support of those who give to our annual YMCA Partner Campaign. Applications for assistance are available at any branch service center or available to download below.

Once completed, bring the application and a copy of your 2009 tax return to the Carondelet Family YMCA.
I've made several posts on the Carondelt Rec Plex on this site.  No other topic has received more page loads, comments and emails than this one.  Most are negative comments complaining about how the city paid for this, and then allowed the YMCA to run it at a premium membership fee.  True, it's not cheap, and it's a big family/personal decision to make room in your budget for this luxury.  It should not be free. Can you imagine that cluster mess?  It's already filled to capacity at peak hours. 

The YMCA is able to run this facility like a business.  It is kept very clean, the staff is attentive and kind, they tolerate very little rude/obnoxious behavior.   This place is very diverse with people of all economic, age and racial backgrounds.  Just visit, I think you'll agree with me.  Do you think the city would be able to maintain this place at this high level?  I'm a city booster, almost to a fault.  But if there is one thing that needs an over haul, it's the nepotism and incompetance that exists with many city and SLPS employees.  Not all, but many.  We have plenty of horror stories regarding the service, demeanor, racist behaviors and ineptitude of so many public school employees it's ridiculous.  The fact that they get away with this is beyond me.  I wouldn't go to the Carondelet rec plex if it was run/staffed like that.

And just to reiterate, anyone is available for financial assistance if you qualify.  If you don't qualify, you should count your blessings that you have the financial means to be independent of help and pay your way.

I can't wait for the outdoor pool area to open.  The grounds are starting to really look beautiful as well.

Susan Elizabeth Blow (1843-1916)

I was enjoying a cup of coffee and a banana nut muffin with my lovely wife at

Broadway Bean

. She was reading

a book on Carondelet

and mentioned something about the first public kindergarten was in St. Louis. I was only half listening as males often do (sorry Shan); but it stuck with me somewhere in the back of my mind.

I was wondering where the school was and who decided to start a Kindergarten in St. Louis; after all, that was a German educational philosophy right?  The first Kindergarten in America was actually in

Waterman, Wisconsin

.  But the first

publicly financed

Kindergarten was founded by Susan Elizabeth Blow in 1873.

Susan Elizabeth Blow was an amazing St. Louisian and woman in general.  Here's the story on her privileged, but certainly not spoiled life (from Wikipedia):

The eldest of six children, Susan Blow was the daughter of Henry Taylor Blow and Minerva Grimsley. Henry owned various lead-mining operations, was president of the Iron Mountain Railroad, was a state senator, and was a minister to Brazil and Venezuela. Minerva was the daughter of a prominent manufacturer and local politician. The Blow children grew up in a deeply religious family surrounded by comfort, wealth, and high German culture. Her grandfather was Captain Peter Blow, the owner of the slaveDred Scott, who later challenged the slavery issue in court.
Due to her family's social status, Blow received her education from her parents, various governesses, private tutors, and schools. At age eight, she was enrolled at the William McCauley School in New Orleans, Louisiana; she attended classes there for the next two years. At age sixteen Blow and her sister Nellie enrolled in the New York school of Henrietta Haines but were forced to return home due to the outbreak of the Civil War. During this time Blow tutored her younger brothers and sister and taught Sunday school at Carondelet Presbyterian Church.
At age twenty, Blow met and fell in love with a soldier named Colonel William Coyle, but her parents found him to be unsuitable. When Coyle was discharged for medical reasons, her father took her to Washington D.C. and introduced her to another military man who was more to his liking. However, Blow chose not to marry.
President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Henry Blow minister to Brazil in 1869, and Susan went with him as his secretary. During the next fifteen months, she quickly learned Portuguese. Her bilingual ability helped to ease trade communications between Brazil and the United States.
In 1870, along with her mother and siblings, Blow went abroad to Europe. She first began studying the philosophies of Hegel and the American Transcendentalists. However, while abroad she came across the kindergarten teaching methods of German idealist and philosopher Friedrich Fröbel. Fröbel believed in "learning-through-play" and cognitive development.

Wow.  It's kind of sad that Colonel William Coyle and Susan never got any further. 

Anyhow, the school was called the Des Peres school, located in Carondelet at Michigan and Iron.  Does this still exist?  I will try to go by there soon.

Susan Elizabeth Blow was an important leader in education from Missouri. She founded the first public kindergarten in St. Louis and ran it for eleven years without any pay. Blow worked hard to give young children a good start in their education. “If we can make children love intellectual effort,” she once wrote, “we shall prolong habits of study beyond school years.” (source)

That quote warms my heart.

St. Louis is a fascinating place with an amazing history.  Our citizens have made monumental contributions to our culture and society.  We need more pioneers with this kind of vision.  I like living amongst this kind of history. 

Carondelet Park Rec Plex-Grand Opening

The city just became a better place to live and raise a family. This place is amazing. I trust the YMCA will take care and run this facility with professionalism and fairness. I can't say I would trust the city to staff/run a clean, safe, professionally organized facility. We walked in today to many familiar faces, neighbors, friends and Loughborough YMCA acquaintances. Everyone was stoked about this place. Check it out:

There are bike racks in two separate areas:

There are 3 kids areas. One is for infants and toddlers, up to 4 years old; there are cribs, padded floors, etc. The second is for 5-7 year olds. There are legos, blocks, slides, computers and a wii with guitar hero. The 3rd is for kids 8 and up with foosball, rock climbing wall, dance dance revolution, computers, etc:

The cardio and weight area is huge with lots of natural light:

Indoor track, 11 laps = 1 mile:

Double gym for volleyball, basketball, etc.:

Indoor pool area has 2.5 story waterslide, lazy river, zero entry kids splash area, steam room, sauna, lap lanes, hot tub, whirlpool, family shower/locker rooms:

Outdoor pool has kids area, swim lanes, diving area, concession stand and a waterslide:


Senior area with fireplace:

Meeting rooms:

Check it out for yourself, comment with your opinions.

Carondelet Park Rec Plex Update

Here's some great info from "Doug" a commenter on my previous post re: Carondelet Rec Plex:

"I attended the 5:30pm Loyal Member Meeting with my Mom who, courtesy of her kind insurance company, is a member of the Carondelet YMCA. I have been a member in the past, but ended my membership due to the high cost. A total of 16 people attended. I want to first thank the representatives of the "Y" who were all very nice and did what they could to provide answers to all of the questions they were asked. We even received a nice travel mug at the conclusion. Now for some of the answers.......They believe it will open in the middle of November.

Will there be yearly rates? Yes and no. Along the same guidelines as the YMCA, monthly payments are the only option.

One day pool passes or one day facility passes? No not at this time. They encourage memberships so you can receive the full YMCA experience.

Status of the North Side Rec Plex? It will be built in O'Fallon Park. This is near West Florissant and Highway 70. No word on whom will operate this complex.

The lower field will be used for soccer, baseball etc..just like it had been.

We were told the City of STL looked at several different options for assistance with operating this facility. The YMCA was chosen because of their experience and the quality of service they have provided to the community.

They will be open 363 days a year. They will be closed on Easter and Christmas.

Both the Indoor and Outdoor pool (diving board) will have 3 Lap Lanes, 25 meters in length. As a comparison, the pool at the South City YMCA has 5 Lap Lanes, 25 meters in length. So yes, the new Rec Plex Lap Lane area will be smaller. However, the recreation area i.e. lazy river, Vortex and slide will be larger the South City YMCA.

Current members at the South City YMCA? 3000
Current members at the Carondelet YMCA? 850
Projected membership at the Carondelet Rec Plex? 2400

I hope this helps anyone who is thinking of joining. I think the YMCA does a wonderful job and they do great things for the community.I guess we can soon decide if the cost is worth the "Y Experience".
September 1, 2009 9:49 PM"

Doug, thanks for the info. The prices are steep, no doubt. However, I have complained for years that the city never had a pool. Now we do, and a darn nice one. I can't complain. I will pay the price for the convenience and location. The bright side of the disallowance of day passes is that it won't be as crowded.

Carondelet Rec Plex Update

Today I picked up a flyer at the Carondelet YMCA regarding the new recreation complex planned to open this fall. Some interesting highlights:

  • The rec plex will be operated by YMCA.
  • Operating hours: Mon-Thu 5 am to 10 pm, Fri 5 am to 9 pm, Sat 7 am to 5 pm, Sun 8 am to 6 pm
  • 76,000 square foot green facility
  • 2 court gym with elevated track, fitness center, aerobics studio, senior and teen rooms, 3 multipurpose rooms, wet room for parties and cycling, classroom, 2 child watch areas, catering kitchen, family locker room
  • memberships are available for city residents and non-residents; plus the membership allows you to use the Sublette YMCA at your convenience.
  • Non-residents have a one time joining fee of $20/student, $40/adult, $80/household
  • Monthly facility fees for city residents are $34.50/student, $46/adult, $69/household; non-residents is a little higher.
  • For members, the annual pool fee is paid once per summer in addition to the monthly fee. Facility members $50/single city resident or non-resident, $125/household city or non-resident; non-facility members can pay $205/single city resident, $225/ single non-city resident, $380 household city resident, $410 household non-city resident
  • You can also get a Metro membership allowing you to access any YMCA in the greater STL area
  • Indoor pool features coed steam rooms & sauna, whirlpool, preschool play structure, zero depth entry, lazy river, 2 story water slide, vortex (circular water current), lap and rec areas
  • Outdoor pool features all indoor amenities plus diving board, preschool pool, splash park and concession area
  • The outdoor pool will open summer of 2010
Sounds pretty swanky.