Time travelers and history buffs rejoice! Other than watching, or for the sentimental heart, re-watching, the “Somewhere in Time” Christopher Reeves-Jane Seymour movie, where can you spend two days strolling back in time letting your full senses appreciate life at the turn of the 20th century? Stately Victorian mansions, spectacular park gardens, plein air artists, passersby in top hats and petticoat dress, horses clomping along leading carriages, and vintage wool-stocking-gloveless Doubleday-Cartwright rules Base Ball upon a commoner’s field.
Where else, but Lafayette Square?
Two thousand and fourteen marks the 45th consecutive year of the Lafayette Square neighborhood association’s house and garden tour. Hundreds are needed to volunteer and thousands are expected to attend the June 7th and 8th event which has become the neighborhood’s largest public fundraiser. Eighteen Lafayette Square homeowners have graciously volunteered to spruce up and open their homes for this special two day public viewing. Fourteen beautifully restored residences and businesses built between the 1860’s and early 1900’s will be open for touring along with four additional gardens.
This year’s event is expected to be like no other. With great inspiration and inevitably some perspiration, lead by long time residents Patricia Barber and Kathy Marks-Petetit, the neighborhood association known as the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee (LSRC) promises their spring fundraiser will have something for everyone.
“All of our house and garden tours are special.” said Barber. “I have helped in chairing five others in the past and this year we have a very unique opportunity to partner with STL250 and the events marking the 250th anniversary of Saint Louis’s birth in 1764 by Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau. There will be additional activities this year thanks to STL250, so look for their booth at the fair along with free ice cream and snow cones and don’t be surprised if you find a member of the Laclede or Chouteau family strolling by alongside you.”
The event could not be a success without the huge support of volunteers and sponsors. “We are still looking for additional sponsors and in particular we are looking for some special supporters who would like to underwrite our horse and carriage and trolley transport services. It is a great way to advertise your business with the thousands who come to the event,” said Barber. If interested in sponsoring any aspect of the tour, please contact Sue Linhardt (314) 772-4762 or Pat Barber (314) 436-0020.
Volunteers are also needed for house and garden docents, ticket sales, and set up and clean up operations. To lend your volunteer support contact Samantha LeCointre (314) 608-2893 Samantha.LeCointre@gmail.com, or Suzi Jones SuziJ@ymail.com .
In addition to the house and garden tour the event includes a number of activities for all ages:
- Antique Fair and Market: Over 50 booths of antique dealers, arts and crafts, and architectural salvage housewares will be available 10 am – 5 pm, June 7th and 8th along the Lafayette Park at Mississippi Avenue and wrapping around to Park and Lafayette Avenues. For more information or to rent a booth, contact Bill Donahue at BillDon11@aol.com and place “Antique Market” in the email subject line, or by phone (314) 750-1750.
- Plein Air Artists: In partnership with STL250, paintings of Lafayette Square houses and gardens will be available for purchase at a special booth and the artists will be painting live at various locations around the Square throughout the event. For more information contact John Paul Sinisterra at (314) 776-0306.
- Vintage Base Ball Festival: Come see base ball as it was originally played in the 1860’s — with more grit than grace. The St. Louis Perfectos and the Lafayette Square Cyclones host the annual Shepard Barclay Festival at Lafayette Park. Various teams with games starting at 11 am on June 7th and 8th. Bring a blanket or folding chairs. For more information see, http://perfectos.vintagenine.com.
- Lafayette Square in 3D: You won’t want to miss this one of a kind experience at the Daven Anderson gallery at 1410 S. 18th Street. Special photography artist and Lafayette Square resident Rebecca Ormond will display a portion of her 3D photographic exhibit which displays Lafayette Square homes, then and now. See houses as they were in the 1800’s and 1900’s and are now, in an indescribable 3D visual experience.
- Lafayette Park Concert: The Arts Council of Lafayette Square kicks off their free summer concert and movie series with the local band favorite the “Power Play Band”. Concert starts at 6 pm on Saturday, June 7th with lawn seating around the Gazebo in Lafayette Park. For information on the band see, http://www.power2playstl.com/.
For more information about the Lafayette Square Spring House and Garden Tour events and where to purchase tickets go to: https://lafayettesquare.org/event/spring-home-garden-tour/.
Next week’s News Blog feature: OMG, have you seen the transformation going on in Lafayette Park?