The comfort of visitors to Tower Grove Park required that structures be provided from whose shade they might admire the views provided for their enjoyment. After extended trips to the most famous parks and gardens of Europe, Henry Shaw commissioned a number of pavilions for these purposes. Eugene Greenleaf, Henry Thiele, and Francis Tunica, three well-regarded St. Louis architects, designed a series of pavilions, most of which were completed in time for the formal opening of Henry Shaw's Tower Grove Park in 1872.
is situated a short distance south of Main Drive, and in the vicinity of the music stand and Concourse Drive. It is provided with hitching posts and well, with a shelter house at the centre, and the whole is surrounded by a light wooden fence of ornamental design. Visitors coming to the park on horseback or in carriages, buggies, etc., and desiring to stroll about in the shade while listening to the music, can leave their horses or vehicles at this spot, where they will be safe and out of the way.
Designed in 1873 by Henry Thiele, the Carriage Stand was originally embellished with hitching posts and surrounded by a wooden fence in the "Chinese Chippendale" style utilized near both the Arsenal Street and Magnolia Street entrances to Tower Grove Park. The fence and hitching posts were eventually removed.
A reflection of the "Chinoiserie" popular in pre-Victorian England and visible in the Chinese Chippendale fencing used elsewhere in Tower Grove Park, this pavilion, in the Anglo-Chinese style -- complete with dragons of sheet metal guarding upper and lower corners of the roof! -- was designed by Henry Thiele. In keeping with the Anglo-Chinese style, the six pairs of columns supporting the concave-hipped roof are painted lacquer red. Appropriately, Shaw and his horticulturist Gurney surrounded the Chinese Pavilion with a grove of Ginkgo trees. The pavilion was restored in 1992 with funds raised by the Friends of Tower Grove Park.
The identical "Cypress" Pavilions take their names not from any material used in their construction, but from the grove of cypress trees that fills the nearby circle in the central drive. They were built in 1870-71 as well houses and gazebos or summerhouses for the accommodation of basket parties.
The design submitted by Eugene Greenleaf for the identical Cypress Pavilions was unusual for Tower Grove Park structures. The pair of small T-shaped open temples with plain tympana are lovely examples of the Classical Revival style. The only embellishments are the red-white-yellow-and-blue color scheme known to have been popular in the Greek originals and the cast iron roof ornament in a fleur-de-lis pattern provided by the T.R. Pullis and Brother Company, a well-known St. Louis producer of iron-work.
Humboldt North Pavilion
This shelter is one of a pair of octagonal pavilions built in 1870-71 following designs by Eugene Greenleaf, and referred to as the "Humboldt" pavilions because of their proximity to the monumental bronze statue of Alexander von Humboldt erected in 1878. The Humboldt North pavilion cost almost $1,000 and is distinguished from its southern partner by its latticed, weather vane cupola, and its gold and dark green color scheme.
Humboldt South Pavilion
Like the Humboldt North Pavilion, the Humboldt South Pavilion takes its nickname from the famous statue near which it stands. Built in 1871, the year before the park opened, it is one of four shelters designed by Eugene Greenleaf for construction in pairs on either side of the main east-west carriage drive through Tower Grove Park. Each of the four pavilions held a well and was from the beginning intended to serve as a pleasant picnic spot. The shelters remain popular picnic spots. Like its northern partner, the Humboldt South Pavilion is octagonal; in contrast to its partner's lattice, the Humboldt South Pavilion's cupola is louvered; its color scheme is gold, olive, and pale yellow.
Lily Pond Pavilion
Designed by Eugene L. Greenleaf, this pavilion was designed in 1872 in an eclectic style, combining some classical features with curvilinear scrollwork tracery and brackets. It is a small rectangular structure, two arched bays by two, but it is elaborately ornamented with pierced scrollwork on brackets, spandrels, and gables, with ironwork along the roof ridge. It is painted gold, brown and green.
The pavilion faces east west, toward the lily pond and Center Cross Drive. A west pedestrian walkway on each side of which are benches and a fountain is in front of the pavilion. The site is well shaded by trees, and is 400' south of the north gate at Tower Grove Avenue and Magnolia Avenues, at the east edge of Center Cross Drive.
Old Playground Pavilion
The children's play-ground and croquet lawn are in the same portion of the park, on the north side of Main Drive; and here is a circular design summer house of considerable size and ornamental design, furnished with seats; trellises radiate from it, planted with honeysuckle and crimson-flowered trumpet vines, and between them are gravel walks.
Built in 1870-71 at a cost of $1,175 following plans by Eugene Greenleaf , the octagonal Playground Pavilion cost is characterized by a distinctive blue bell-cast metal roof topped by a domed cupola and supported on broad round-topped arches adorned with ornamental scrollwork. It was not only its size that made the pavilion the focal point of the original children's playground - the eight trellises and plantings that once radiated from its supporting columns divided the playground area into separate croquet courts.
Is it the wading pool and playground equipment that stand to its east, the bravura of its recently restored color scheme (only partly visible in the photograph below), or the deliberately uneven spacing of the Tuscan columns that form the Pool Pavilion's partly screened loggia that subvert the solemnity of the Neo-Classical style?
Who wants to argue about it when we can instead enjoy both the rich colors that pick out its stylized Doric frieze and massive columns and the sounds of children playing?
Both the Pool Pavilion and wading pool were designed by Ernst C. Janssen , the architect of the later Stone Pavilion . 1914, the year in which they were constructed for $19,000 was a period of much activity and modernization in Tower Grove Park.
Sons of Rest Pavilion
According to David MacAdam's report to the park commissioners (1883), Tower Grove Park's "most important summerhouse (pavilion) is situated near the east gate, on Grand avenue, south of the main drive; is of large size, of substantial construction, but graceful and picturesque in appearance, with seats for a numerous company. In the centre, the roof is oval shaped, with projecting cornice and gables, and on each side there is a lower section of roof, sloping and forming angular projections. Each division of the roof has a fringe of ornamental ironwork along the apex. The roof is entirely supported by columns, between which are arches; in warm weather it forms a delightful retreat, as the air currents flow into and through the shadowed space of the interior quite unobstructed. The floor is neatly paved. The material of the whole structure is wood, except a tin covering on the roof; the finish of the cornice, columns and gables is varied and tasteful."
This pavilion, to which MacAdam referred, is the park's largest, one of several designed by Eugene L. Greenleaf . The name now attached to the bold gold, brown, cream, red, and blue "summer house" arose from the popularity of the shelter and its surroundings among St. Louis's seniors as a shady spot for reading and relaxing, a tradition that continues here and in the air-conditioned Stupp Center nearby.
According to the National Register nomination, "Described by HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey) as a Greek cross, the structure has a tall 3-bay center section with a segmental-arched metal roof; transverse wings of 3 bays each are gabled. The gable areas are ornamented with panels of latticework and grillwork."
The restoration of the Sons of Rest pavilion, completed in 1997, earned it an award from the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, Inc . The award citation reads:
"The Sons of Rest Pavilion in Tower Grove Park was restored in a model public/private effort by Tower Grove Park and the non-profit Friends of Tower Grove Park . The $73,000 repair and rehabilitation project began in fall 1995, financed by the city's 1/2 cent sales tax. Park officials, architect Philip Cotton and the contracting firm Transcon worked together to repair structural damage and recreate the shelter's original paint colors."
A long-term goal of the Park and Friends group had been to recreate the decorative iron work cresting that historically provided the finishing touch to the shelter's design. To enhance the taxpayer-financed structural work, the Friends of Tower Grove Park embarked on a private fundraising campaign. With help from two annual appeals and support from the Clifford Willard Gaylord Foundation, the Friends were able to raise an additional $20,000 to fabricate replicas of the long-missing ironwork.
Despite its use of the squared rubble stone construction familiar from the structures built in parks across the country by the WPA and CCC during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Stone Pavilion is a product of the early 1920s. Like the earlier Roman Pavilion, the Stone Pavilion was designed by Ernst C. Janssen, a prolific architect active in St. Louis and throughout the Midwest from the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the 1940s. This pavilion was constructed by Louis Drabb for $2,900 in 1923; its rubble piers laid in broken courses support a tripartite roof whose pyramid-shaped central section soars above narrower hipped wings.
In the central part of the park, near the south gate, a large summer house may be found, quite different in character from any already mentioned, and called the pigeon or dove-cot house. It has a cupola roof, ascending with diminishing curves. Painted in parti-colors, the upper portion being arranged for pigeons and other birds. The roof is supported by eight double columns, with wide spaces between, and a few seats are arranged under its shadow. The elevated position of the structure and its graceful outlines, render it a pleasing and ornamental object. Its roof is visible from distant points, rising above the billows of green surrounding it, blending harmoniously with the landscape.
In 1892, the Board of Commissioners extended its roof by the addition of the large lower tier supported on iron posts, and closed the roosts. The changes transformed the "Dove-Cot" into today's "Turkish Pavilion.