While browsing through a book from 1888, entitled Commercial And Architectural St Louis, which was something between a travelogue and a tout for specific commercial enterprises in the city, I got some great images of Lafayette Park in the late 1880’s. Consider that these pre-date the Great Cyclone of 1896 that wrecked about everything in the park but the statues and Park House.
Lafayette Park lies in the southwestern portion of the city, and is in the midst of the fine residence portion of the south side…It is under a board of special commissioners, and they, together with the park department, have made it one of the handsomest pieces of landscape architecture to be found in the United States, not excepting any.
During the summer, the city provides a band of music for both Tower Grove and Lafayette parks, and on the days set apart as music days these parks are thronged.
Lafayette Park is not a driving park, so no vehicle being admitted larger than a child’s perambulator, but of these on any fine day there are thousands.
While in the lake boats are plying by the hundreds. Among the statues in this park, those of Washington and Benton occupy a prominent place.
Of the rare and curious plants, creepers, mosses, etc., and of the beautiful foliage, grottos, shady nooks, and other attractive features, a volume could be written. One must see such a place to appreciate it.
Thanks to the source of both text and illustrations:
Commercial And Architectural St. Louis; George Washington O’rear; Jones & O’rear Publishing. 1888