A CHRONOLOGY OF INTERESTING MOMENTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF FOREST PARK
This the material in this chronology comes mainly from the book by Caroline Loughlin and Catherine Anderson,
- 1876 -- June 24th: Formal opening.
- 1870s -- “To the south, people moved into cheaply constructed houses in about the area where former squatters erected in the 1870s.”
- 1877 -- September. Separation of city and county effected.
- 1879 -- One could only reach the park by horseback, buggy or the Wabash Railroad,
which stopped outside the park. (Note no mention was ever made in the book that there was a
stop at the Cheltenham station on the Pacific tracks south of the park. The south of the park was
treated as though it didn’t exist.)
- 1881-82 -- Crisis of the Clayton Road Bridge. The old wooden bridge fell and at first nothing was done. The farmers raised a howl and the bridge was replace with a stone and iron bridge. Close to
- 1882 -- Until the city sold ice during the winter. After 1882 they stopped doing that so that the ponds and lakes stayed frozen for skaters.
- 1885 -- Streets cars went all the way to the western end of the park on both Oakland and Lindell.
5 cents for adults. 2 ½ cents for kids.
- 1885 -- Lindell pavilion became first covered structure for people waiting for street car or train.
- 1888 -- 1888 Park Commissioner Klemm reported, "Forest Park is now a favorite resort, at all hours of the day, both week days and Sundays, of thousands of visitors, principally ladies and children. Except on Sundays, no protection is
furnished beyond that afforded by the regular police
- 1880s -- late: City water reached the park and allowed: fountains, filling lakes,
watering plants and trees, horse troughs and sprinkling dusty roads.
- 1890 -- Development of a zoo, first dedicated to North American animals.
- 1891 -- Forest Park University came to Oakland Ave. (Where Clayton Ave. came
out of the park.) Anna Sneed Cairns was president and founder.
- 1897 -- Triple A (Amateur Athletic Association) founded in northeast park of park. Moved in
- 1897 -- Boating had minimum of 75 boats. Awnings were required by day and lanterns at
night. 25 cents an hour M-F and 50 cents an hour on weekend.
- 1899 -- Park road was built from Kingshighway to Union. What is now Lindell. This allowed a subdivision with the huge homes which still stand today.
- 1900 -- Electricity reached the park.
- 1901, June 25th -- Final decision to use Forest Park for the World’s Fair.
- 1901, Sept. 3 -- Ground breaking on work on fair.
- 1902 -- Triple A kicked out of their older ground and received their present
grounds where immediately they build a clubhouse, 9-hole golf course,
two baseball diamonds and 10 tennis courts.
- 1905 – City purchased the bird cage from the federal government for $3,500.
- 1907 – A gas balloon contest took off from Forest Park. The winner landed
40 hours later in Asbury Park, New Jersey, 873 miles east!!!
- 1910 -- St. Louis University started using Walsh Stadium on Oakland (where the
Science Center is today.) In the 1950s it was still used for soccer, pro football and stock car racing.
- 1911-1930 – Major shift in focus of the park under Park Commissioner Dwight F. Davis.
- 1912, July -- Free 9 hole golf course.
- 1913, April 30 -- Jefferson Memorial presented. Built with profits of the World’s Fair. (Missouri Historical Society occupied east wing.)
- 1914 -- Oakland Ave. opened fully from Hampton to Skinker, but not east toward Kingsway.
- 1915 -- March. Law allowed a special tax for the zoo, but “…zoo shall be free
forever to the use of the inhabitants…”
- 1916 -- Against the wishes of Commissioner Davis, 70 acres was devoted to the zoo.
- 1916-17 -- Beginning of green house location which would later be Jewel Box.
- 1917, June 15 -- Aida opened at the Muny..
- 1917 -- Gas lights for tennis.
- 1918 -- City rejects a request of the Highlands Fire Brick company to mine for clay under the park’s southern edge.
- 1919 -- Taylor R. Young who lived on Oakland Ave. sued the city to stop some uses of southern part of the park. By the time his suit was heard the plans had been dropped.
- 1919 -- The Automobile Club opened an auto tourist camp in Forest Park,
and it is now a picnic grounds immediately west of the zoo on the south side.
- 1920 -- Airmail service from St. Louis to Chicago operated out of the park for one year.
- 1920s early -- Ben G. Brinkman purchased the Highlands from Anton Steuver.
(Note this followed rather closely upon the city’s refusal to give Steuver (who owned Highlands Fire Brick Company) the right to mine clay in the park.
- 1923 -- Court ordered special time to allow black golfers to play. Whites and blacks could not be on the course at the same time.
- 1923 -- River des Peres buried into sewer pipes.
- 1925 -- First fees for golf.
- 1925 -- Triple A opened in the present location as a private club. Each member paid a per member fee to the city equivalent to a year’s pass at the public course.
- 1925 -- Forest Park University was sold and torn down. Later location of the Arena.
- 1926, September. St. Louis Exposition, a mini-version of the World’s Far was held on 45 acres of southern part of the park. Huge loss since it rained the whole 3 week period. 600 booths.
- 1920s – late -- Jewish Orphans’ Home built on Oakland near Hi-Pointe.
- 1920s – late -- Playing fields along the “Aviation Field” constructed across from the Forest Park Highlands.
- 1928-1962 -- George P. Vierheller director of the zoo.
- 1929, Oct. 12 -- The Arena opened.
- 1930 -- Oakland opened from Kingshighway to Hampton. It had already been opened from Hampton to Skinker since 1914 and part of that way since the World’s Fair.
- 1936, Nov. 14 -- The Jewel Box opened.
- 1936 -- Tennis courts on Hampton near park entrance opened.
- 1930s, late -- The Seven Pools Waterfall constructed.
- 1930s, late -- Log cabin of rustic design built on the edge of Post-Dispatch
Lake for the Forest Park Bait casting Club.
- 1941, Summer -- Park housed service men in tents.
- 1948 -- Seating for blacks opened at the Muny Opera.
- 1963 -- Planetarium opened.
- 1965, October -- Triple A and city reach an agreement. Anyone could take a membership at the club, and players could also play by fee.
- 1966, June -- Dwight Davis Tennis Courts opened.
- 1968 -- Missouri Stables closed and horseback riding virtually ceased in the park.
- 1971 -- Ribbon on the Planetarium began as a student prank. Was popular and was continued.
- 1973 -- Beginning of the Forest Park Balloon race.