Carondelet Park

Update: See my return to the park in October of 2018. Added Photo of former statue of DeSoto in July of 2022.

Carondelet Park is the third largest park in St. Louis, and the anchor of the southern end of the city around Holly Hills and Carondelet; it was established in 1876, shortly after the city annexed the southern town.

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Originally, at least partially, part of the Lyle Estate, whose Italianate house you can see above (apparently it’s the oldest frame house in the city), it was also made up of other pieces of property.

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The park’s trees are beautiful, and even in the fading light of the winter sky, it is a beautiful sight; you can spot the houses lining the park through the branches.

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The railroad bridge is quite old, and dates from 1873, I believe.? A butcher who used to serve my parents at the Straubs in Town and Country told us he grew up near here and would taunt the hobos who lived under the bridge back in the 1940’s.

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There was apparently a statue of explorer Ferdinand de Soto in the park, but it was built of perishable materials, deteriorated rapidly, and was removed.

Ferdinand de Soto Statue in Carondelet Park, c. 1906, Missouri History Museum, P0245-S03-00068-6g

5 Comments Add yours

  1. the 59 King says:

    Carondelet Park also may be the area of St Louis most intensively laced with sinkholes — a strong indicator of a cave system underneath (which doubtless contributes to the reason the land was allowed to remain undeveloped).

    Here’s a snapshot of the park itself:

    And here’s the KMZ file of the whole city (requires Google Earth or similar):

    Nice post, Chris, enjoyed it.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      That sounds like a good explanation; did you know that Central Park in Manhattan was created because of the unfavorable building conditions? I need to check the Compton and Dry atlas and see if that tells us anything.

  2. Steve says:

    The original bridge in Carondelet Park was badly damaged int he mid-1970s by an oversize load from the Stupp Brother’s Steel works, hitting it, and damaging it beyond repair. Stupp had been in the bridge construction business for years and so replaced the old bridge (which I used to play under, climbing in the substructure). The old bridge was more beautiful by a long shot, but Stupp did a good job making the new construction as evocative of the old bridge as could be expected given new materials and methods.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:


  3. Lena Reading says:

    Hi! Given the recent events in Carondelet Park, please consider donating to Friends of Carondelet Park. I live on the edge of the park and started a Go Fund Me Campaign…

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