Tag Archives: Landmarks Association of St. Louis

Missouri Park and Lucas Place

The small park behind the St. Louis Public Library is called Lucas Park in honor of the family that once owned the land.  In about 1810 Judge J.B.C. Lucas purchased a large parcel of land that includes today’s Lucas Park.

In 1850 the Lucas family developed a new residential neighborhood on their land, which they not surprisingly named Lucas Place. From its conception this neighborhood was intended to be very different with wide building setbacks and deed restrictions banning commercial activities. The new street Lucas Place was also offset 50-feet from the city street grid.


Missouri Park and Lucas Place, from “Pictorial St. Louis”, 1875

A defining feature of Lucas Place was a new green space called Missouri Park, which the Lucas family had deeded to the city in 1854. Missouri Park was bounded by 13th, Olive, 14th and St. Charles streets. The park stretched across Lucas Place preventing through traffic into the neighborhood and was a key element in defining the neighborhood as “a place apart”. By 1875 Missouri Park boasted, “an iron fountain, 116 benches, 368 shade trees, 277 shrubs, and was surrounded by a wooden picket fence.”  It was also the first park in St. Louis to have gas lighting along its pathways.

As commercial development began to encroach on Lucas Place in the early 1880s, Missouri Park was selected as the site for St. Louis’ grandest building of the period, the Music and Exposition Hall. Completed in 1884, this massive building was St. Louis’ first convention center and encompassed the entire 4-acre footprint of the old Missouri Park.  Measuring 146,000 square feet the Exhibition Hall hosted the 1888 and 1904 Democratic National Conventions and the 1896 Republican National Convention. The Music Hall sat 4,000 and was the first permanent home to the Saint Louis Symphony.


Music and Exposition Hall, circa 1890

The Music and Exposition Hall was demolished in 1907 having been replaced by a larger and newer St. Louis Coliseum. The site was then selected for the new St. Louis Public Library, built with a $1 million gift from Andrew Carnegie. Because the Library was designed to use only two-thirds of the old exposition site the northern part of the old Missouri Park was restored to green space and renamed Lucas Park. At the same time Locust Street was cut through the space between the new Library and the restored park. When the street was cut through it resulted in the unusual curve at 13 and Locust streets, which can still be seen today.  By 1918 Lucas Park had been planted with “forty-five thousands shrubs and flower plants…set out in artistically designed beds” and was one of the finest parks in St. Louis.  After 1950, all the old residential buildings in the vicinity of Lucas Park had vanished (except for the Campbell House) as downtown was transforming into an exclusively commercial district.

Like this post? Look for the new exhibit Lucas Place: The Lost Neighborhood of St. Louis’ Golden Age opening March 22 at the Landmarks Association of St. Louis. Exhibit made possible through a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council.


Lucas Park and the St. Louis Public Library, from a circa 1920 postcard.

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Locust Street Architectural Walking Tour

Two boys working at the Inland Type Foundry at 12th (now Tucker) and Locust. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Have you ever taken a close look at some of the buildings as you’ve cruised down Locust Street? We have some spectacular hidden treasures you’ve probably never noticed, and we’re going to host a walking tour next month to give you the inside scoop on some of them. And, in keeping with Campbell hospitality, we’ll end the tour with the usual refreshments and camaraderie.

Locust Street Architectural Walking Tour, Saturday October 27, 1-3 PM

Join Campbell House Museum’s Executive Director Andy Hahn for a walking tour of notable buildings in the Downtown West section of Locust Street. The group will begin at Campbell House (1508 Locust Street), and see the architectural highlights on a 6-block walk. The group will go inside the Leather Trades Artists Lofts and we will receive a behind-the-scenes peek at the staff-only areas of the historic Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Street), where the tour will end. One delicious Schlafly beer is included in your ticket price. The tour begins at 1 PM in the Campbell House Museum garden.

Tour is limited to 25 guests to accommodate some tight spaces at the Tap Room, so make your reservation early!

Tickets are $30, or $25 for Campbell House Museum and Landmarks Association members. Call Campbell House at 314/421-0325 to make your reservation.


  • January 21, 2013: Fundraiser to republish Virginia Campbell’s cookbook at River City Casino. Chef John Johnson is going to cook a multi-course meal with recipes from Virginia’s cookbook. 
  • March 2013:  Restoration tour of Campbell House. We’ll show you the research and work involved in the extensive 5-year restoration. You’ll get to see fascinating pictures of the work in progress, samples of materials used (including carpet and wallpaper), and a visit to the attic, offices and sprawling basement.

Please check the blog, Facebook and our Twitter feed for the official announcements with finalized dates and times on both of these events. Have a great (short!) week, everyone!

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Monday Update (a day late) » 7.24.12

It’s hotter than blazes in St. Louis, but the heat hasn’t slowed us down a bit at Campbell House! (Except for maybe our blogging schedule.)

Hellooooooo Kevin! The west wall will not be painted, but the brick will receive a clear weatherproof coating.

Exterior Renovation Begins
Contractors have begun to prep the house for the big paint job. Kevin has been patiently tuckpointing some of the highest points of the house (up to 60 feet in some areas!) with a lift for over a week now, and when he’s done, the crew will come in to start painting. The shutters have already been removed, and the painters have begun repairing and repainting them in the shop.

Upcoming Tours
We got together with our friends down the street at Landmarks Association of St. Louis a few weeks ago to plot a few events for the fall. We are tentatively planning an outdoor movie night for September, a Locust Street architectural walking tour (that ends at the Schlafly Tap Room for drinks and camaraderie), and a Campbell House restoration tour where you can see the inner workings of our place in either January or February.  As soon as we finalize everything, we will post all of the details for you. Stay tuned.

The new and improved cook’s bedroom.

New Cook’s Bedroom
Since the Campbells did not photograph many of the rooms in the servants’ wing of the house  (including the kitchen and servants’ living quarters),  we were able to interpret these rooms the best we could, based on the original floorplan of the house. The housekeeper’s bedroom has always been staged as a bedroom, but the cook’s bedroom — which had previously housed an exhibit on the servants — has now been presented as a bedroom. Thanks to a bequest from one of our members, we received a beautiful set of furniture of the style, period and quality that would have been in a servant’s bedroom in a house like this. Come down to the Museum to see it in person.

Students trying to interpret Hugh Campbell’s handwriting in a letter to his wife, Mary. (This Hugh is Robert’s brother, not his son.)

Black Rep Summer Camp
We had the pleasure of welcoming about 20 students from The Black Rep Summer Camp last week for our document workshop. After taking a brief tour of the first floor to hear the Campbell story, they came up to the third floor Aviary to play history detective. We gave them copies of Campbell documents to interpret and to share their findings with the rest of the group. These were some of the most enthusiastic kids we’ve had come through the house, and we look forward to seeing them again! Do you need a special educational activity or workshop for your group of children or adults? Give us a call! We’re happy to design a half- or full day of fun and learning. Contact Andy or Shelley at 314/421-0325 to let us start planning your day at Campbell House!

Our Interns
Did you meet intern Hannah? Read all about her here!

Robert’s Irish Breakfast Tea

Campbell House Tea
Looking for a small gift for the person who has everything? Robert has you covered. Come by to pick up a 1-oz package of Robert’s Irish Breakfast tea, a blend we buy from our tea-loving neighbors at the London Tea Room. A favorite with coffee drinkers, it’s strong and bold, just like our Robert. We’re selling it for $5 a package, and that includes a coupon for a free cup of tea or coffee at the London Tea Room. It’s available now in the Museum Store and at the front door of the Museum. Pick up a package to get a taste of Campbell House!

Urban Exploring: Trinity Lutheran Church
Today we took a field trip to Soulard to visit Trinity Lutheran Church. Docent Coordinator Dennis has been a member of this historic church all his life, and he invited Campbell House staff, interns and docents out to get a behind-the-scenes look at everything in the church, including the bell tower. As a teaser, here’s a shot of one of the gorgeous art glass windows in a space behind the choir loft. A full blog post with the church’s history and all of the images will follow later this week.

One of Trinity Lutheran’s art glass windows in a non-public area behind the choir loft.

Stay cool this week, and check back to meet Sydney — one of our wonderful interns — and the full photo essay of our visit to Trinity Lutheran!

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