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The North Gate Entrance - Magnolia Avenue

The north entrance is not as elaborate in character as that on Grand avenue, but is second in importance, and owing to the contiguity of the music stand and concourse, the plant house, the Shakespeare statue, the gate house and a villa, intended as the residence of the Superintendent, built within the two hundred feet strip, forms a prominent feature in a most interesting park scene.

In its general design this north entrance is somewhat similar to the main entrance on Grand avenue, but the columns, etc., are not so massive in character, and there is less metallic ornamentation. The smooth, round shafts adorning the carriage gates, and the terminal points of the railing, formerly assisted in supporting the galleries of the dome of the Court-house. During the course of alterations ordered by the old County Court in 1870, before the separation of city and county, with a view of improving the light and appearance of the dome, some of the interior columns were removed, and, in accordance with the request of Mr. Shaw, were transferred to the park and utilized in the ornamentation of this gate-way. The design for this entrance was by the Comptroller [Henry Shaw], and the iron work by Messrs. Pauly & Bro., of this city.

The extensive documents that survive for the earliest period of Tower Grove Park reveal that it cost Henry Shaw $38 to have the four stone columns, stone piers, and coping he had rescued from the remodeling of the Old Courthouse transported to Tower Grove Park to become part of his design for the splendid Magnolia Street entrance. Even with this creative recycling effort, the gate's construction, supervised by Francis Tunica , and including two gatehouses (demolished in 1913), cost $12,000. The stonework alone - excluding the recycled columns - cost over $3,400, not including the cost of the limestone itself. The cost of the ironwork for the north gate was still higher, although, John May gilded the arrowheads on the gate for only $20.

Such expenditures were appropriate to the entrance that opened directly onto Tower Grove Avenue, the direct route to Henry Shaw's own country house and his beloved Missouri Botanical Garden, a street that by 1883 already connected "directly with the Manchester Road and the street system of the city.

The recumbent stags near the north gate are also works of decided merit. They were designed and executed in Berlin, and were imported for the ornamentation of the gate-ways by the Board of Commissioners, and are made of zinc, which is much less expensive than bronze, but when kept carefully painted is almost as indestructible.

The two zinc sculptures raised to the viewer's attention by stone piers are indeed among the most striking features of the Magnolia entrance. One is shown to the left in photographs made for use in a stereoscope. Note the Chinese Chippendale fencing -- this style was also used for fences near the Arsenal Entrance and the Carriage Stand.

"To the north of this is a handsome villa of nine rooms, built within the two hundred feet strip, intended as the residence of the Superintendent of the park. The house is ornamented with bay windows, wide porches and balconies, and has a turret and observatory in the centre.

Like the Magnolia entrance itself, the round-arched Italianate style of the villa in which Tower Grove Park's Superintendents have resided since Shaw's death, forms a splendid contrast to the pointed arches and stepped gables of the Gothic-Revival Kingshighway lodge. Like the latter structure, the residence is tentatively attributed to Francis Tunica, (who also supervised its construction at a cost of some $11,000!). The elegant "Superintendent's" villa was the first structure to be built in Tower Grove Park --its bricks were in place (and painted white "after the Italian manner") by 1869. Various changes have been made since then, most notably the ornamental iron fence that was added in 1905 and the partial enclosure of the east porch still later. Since the late 1970's, this building has been referred to as the Director's Residence.

Since the late 1980s efforts have been underway to re-establish the landscaping appropriate to a mid- to late Victorian residence. With the assistance of the Garden Club of St. Louis, appropriate foundation plantings have been installed, a kitchen garden -- complete with chickens! --, orchard, and croquet lawn established.

 

The South Gate Entrance - Arsenal Street

This entrance was reconfigured in 1888 and no longer matches the description provided by MacAdam five years earlier. The 1870 entrance had cost only $3,000 and was designed for pedestrian use with provisions for its later expansion into a carriage entrance. The 1888 remodeling was designed by the well-known architectural firm of George I. Barnett & Sons, who were also responsible for the adjacent gatehouse.

The South Gate Lodge was the last park building completed during Shaw's lifetime; like the refurbished entrance, work on it was begun in 1888, just one year before Shaw's death. It was designed in the Romanesque revival style by George I. Barnett, the architect from whom Henry Shaw had commissioned both his city house (originally at Seventh and Locust; moved to the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden under the terms of his will) and his country house (the "Tower Grove House" that is now surrounded by the Botanical Garden) in 1849, as well as the Palm and Plant Houses in Tower Grove Park. Its construction - at a cost of more than $20,000 (almost twice that of the Superintendent's House built twenty years earlier) - was supervised by James Gurney, Sr., and completed in April 1889.

From 1976 to 2003, this building housed the Park office. It is currently leased to "The South City Open Studio and Gallery for Children".

 

The East Gate Entrance - Grand Boulevard

Two gateways for carriages, exit and entrance, about eight feet apart, and forty feet distant on each side is a gate for pedestrians. From the pedestrian gates, a stone wall with a coping of dressed limestone supporting an iron railing of graceful design, curves outward to the line of the street, and terminates against a column of cut limestone blocks resting upon a base of red granite blocks, and rising to a height of nearly thirty feet, with moldings and cornice of stone, surmounting which is a resting lion, of zinc.

The pedestrian entrances have double gate-ways. On each side of the gate-ways stand a stone pier, with cornice, and above it a ball of red granite. The double carriage gate-ways lie between two massive piers composed of oblong blocks of dressed limestone resting upon a base of granite, with handsome moldings and cornices, surmounted by griffins facing each other.

"The construction of the entrance we have briefly described was a difficult and expensive piece of work, as a considerable amount of filling-in (some 30,000 square yards of earth were moved!) had to be done in order to effect a satisfactory grade. The stonework of the piers and walls was executed in the most careful and artistic manner, with a view to permanence and beauty. The Comptroller of the park [Henry Shaw] designed this entrance; the iron work was executed by Messrs. Shickle & Harrison of St. Louis.

The metallic figures ornamenting this entrance were executed at Berlin, . . . imported for the ornamentation of the gate-ways by the Board of Commissioners. The lions couchant are particularly worthy of notice. They are modeled on the celebrated weeping lions of Antonio Canova (for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome), and the expression and pose are strikingly natural.   Both the lion and griffin sculptures installed in 1872 were cast in zinc.

 

The West Gate Entrance - Kingshighway

This entrance consists of two double gates for carriages, with side gates for pedestrians, and from the latter, curving walls extend to the line of the avenue. The distinguishing feature is formed of two octagonal towers, one on each side of the carriage gates, about forty feet in height, with battlements built of rough-faced stone. All the masonry work of this entrance, the towers, the curving walls, and the gate-keeper's house on the north side of the drive, is of dark grey limestone; this imparts a gothic character to the whole design.   The plan is copied from the works of John Claudius Loudon, the great English author on gardening and rural architecture.

Both the King's road (the name used by Henry Shaw in 1872) entrance and its attendant gatehouse were begun in 1870. The design of both structures is now attributed to Francis Tunica, who certainly supervised their construction. Although the latter was completed in the same year, work on the entrance itself lasted into 1872. Like the south or Arsenal Street entrance, the Kingshighway entrance was enlarged before Shaw's death, presumably because the city's expansion had increased traffic even from those directions farthest removed from the heart of St. Louis. In 1879-80, only seven years after the park opened, pedestrian gates designed by George I. Barnett and Isaac Taylor were added to the Kingshighway entrance.

MacAdam noted that both the plan and elevation of the entrance lodge were derived from the Encyclopedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture first published by the Scottish landscape designer and architect John Claudius Loudon in 1833. Henry Shaw owned a copy of the London edition of 1846, and may have provided it to Francis Tunica. 1870, the date of construction, is carved above the rectangular bay window on the inside gable of this tiny Gothic Revival villa. The window itself is inscribed "TGP" (for Tower Grove Park). An escutcheon in another gable bears Henry Shaw's initials.

Despite renovations in 1908 (when the annual report to the commissioners of Tower Grove Park indicated that the gate lodge had been "completely renovated"), in 1957, and again in 1970, the Kingshighway gatehouse remains a splendid example of the Gothic Revival style.