Eugene Nims House, Bee Tree County Park

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Bee Tree Park is the former estate of Eugene Nims, the founder of Southwestern Bell. The house served as a summer residence, and the design features large entertainment rooms and less private space than would be perhaps normal. Logically, the open spaces provided great views over the Mississippi River. It was designed by famed architects Maritz and Young.

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Bedrooms each possessed their own sleeping porches, as you can see above.

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This is probably one of the more elegant Maritz and Young houses I have seen, and its setting amongst the river bluffs adds to its character.

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I would assume the barn and presumably a spring house are original.

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South of the house up in the bluffs, I came across these two depressions. Are they man-made, or natural? I couldn’t tell.

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. CfR says:

    Granted, it can be hard to tell from photos, but I would venture to guess those depressions are the early starts to sinkholes.

  2. Alan says:

    At least one of the depressions if not both are man made. There are the remains of a foundation in one of them and they are fairly close in proximity. I live about a third of a mile from the park and have been regularly walking and running the trails for 25 years. Thanks for the photos. There is also some interesting stuff on the trail to the north of the house but one has to look closely!

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Alan, I noticed the remains of what looked like a foundation as well.

    2. Carlie says:

      Alan, do you know if the trail you’re referring to is now closed? I visited the park today and there are only 4 marked trails, all headed towards or around the lake. https://www.stlouisco.com/ParksandRecreation/ParkPages/BeeTree says there are 5 trails but then https://www.stlouisco.com/ParksandRecreation/Trails/BeeTreeTrails only lists out 4 so i wondered if one had closed. If so, do you know why it closed? Is it still at all accessible?

  3. A la says:

    The trail I was referring to that had the depressions is still open. I walked it about a month ago. The trail to the north is still open. It leads to a couple of benches with overlooks of the river. There was a informal trail to the north of that that one could carefully take down to the river.

    1. Alan says:

      Miss typed my name.

  4. ROBERT FOOTE says:

    The County continues to allow this lovely structure to deteriorate. I hope they can find the funds to at least do some weather-proofing to reduce water infiltration, until a proper overall restoration plan can occur. The grounds, particularly in the rear present some potential liabilities, as well. My fear is that an accident could force the County to erect a fence around the building. A larger fear is that they will just let the damage continue until the structure becomes dangerous, whereupon a decision to demolish is issued. For anyone with too much time on their hands, Wash U Library has the original architectural plans.

  5. ME says:

    Unfortunately those with means to save this and other similar structures do not see a value in preserving anything they cannot profit from. I always thought this would make a great event space for private parties, etc. Especially since the grounds are used regularly for photography. Another idea could be a winery / restaurant similar to what was created in one of the old service bldgs in Francis Park in South city.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Wow, I might have to make a trip down to the Nims House and check it out again. I didn’t realize that it had deteriorated so much since my last visit. Thank you for alerting me to this.

      1. ROBERT FOOTE says:

        Chris, I hope my comment wasn’t overly alarmist. I’m not aware of any dramatic change in the condition from that noted in your 2015 photographic record (or even my own from 2017 or 2018). However, as you are well aware, a substantial structure can appear to be relatively immune from serious deterioration – until it’s not. And restoration costs certainly aren’t a linear function with age when moisture infiltration is an issue. I really hope that some remediation can be done, so that the public’s access to the building’s exterior doesn’t need to be restricted. There is something about being able to lay one’s hands on the stonework, and imagine what it would have been like to have been on-site during its construction. Thank you so much for your work.

        1. cnaffziger says:

          I still think it’s best to get out ahead of this before it gets to the point where it’s serious.

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