Sculptor Charles Keck produced this handsome monument of Dr. Edmund Babler out in the state park that bears his name. I could have sworn I already photographed this park at some point, but I guess I was wrong.
Babler is way out west, in the middle of Wildwood, and I’m glad it’s here, because it prevented a lot of development that would have happened otherwise. By plopping down right in the middle of the western portion of St. Louis County, it made the areas to the west of it extremely isolated, requiring a long drive on Wild Horse Creek Road. To this day, there are still primarily horse farms out on that road, and I think it will probably stay that way for a long time.
And what I find interesting is that, even though there are more people out at the park right now due to the pandemic, Babler has become more and more desolate over the last twenty years that I’ve been going out there. I don’t know why; in the same time period, Castlewood has been swamped with visitors.
Keck’s style of sculpting the granite and bronze is interesting; the monument dates from 1938, but avant-garde sculpture was already prominent in Europe and America, but public art was still relatively conservative. The bronze of Dr. Babler is still relatively conservative, but the artist takes more liberty was the stone figures behind him.
There is a broad, open field out in front of the statue, just up the hill from the entrance off a sweeping road that spurs off Eatherton Road.
The Citizen Conservation Corps was instrumental in building many of the roads and shelters in the park, as part of the New Deal which helped bring America out of the Great Depression. This monument is dedicated to them.
The shelters are built in a rustic, almost Adirondack style and are located throughout the park in strategic locations.