Our Park

Think you know the city's greatest gem? Guess again.

Photography by Edward Crim

It’s the nation’s fifth most visited urban park. Each year, it welcomes 12 million–plus visitors—more than Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon combined. Its origins date back to 1876, when a visit was a 40-minute carriage ride from downtown and a budding local author published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In 1904, the park captured the world’s imagination, and 23 years later, it hosted Charles Lindbergh when he did the same. But by mid-century, it had gone from beautiful to bleak.

Now it’s back.

At around 1,300 acres, Forest Park is larger than New York’s Central Park. It is a nexus of fine art, history, and science. Countless St. Louisans have proposed at the Grand Basin, said “I do” in the Jewel Box, danced at the World’s Fair Pavilion, and sledded with their kids on Art Hill—as they did when they were children. The park welcomes women in flowing dresses to the Art Museum, families lugging diaper bags to the Zoo, and fishermen in tattered jackets to Jefferson Lake. It’s where businessmen tee off at sunrise and couples pedal boats at sunset.

And just when you think you’ve done it all, you discover something new about Forest Park.

Editor's Note: This 14-page cover feature is available only in print. Please call Teresa Foss at 314-918-3030 to purchase a copy, or head to your local bookstore, grocery store, or newsstand. Thanks for your interest.

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May 26, 2010 10:11 pm
 Posted by  Dan W

In the article about Forest Park, the Ramblers Rugby Club were the only ones mentioned who play in the park. It may be of some interest to learn that the Missouri Rugby Football Union (the governing body of the sport in eastern Missouri) has played it's matches in the park since 1933. Currently the MRFU consists of 9 men's clubs, 1 women's club, 5 college men's clubs and 6 high school boy's clubs and 1 high school girl's club. All of these clubs play some or all of their matches in the park during the Union's season which runs from September to December and March till June on the Central playing fields north of the Jewell Box. For more information about rugby in the St. Louis area I can be contacted through the MRFU website at

Dan Ward
Missouri Rugby Football Union

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