Lafayette Square is a neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri, which is bounded on the north by Chouteau Avenue, on the south by Interstate 44, on the east by Truman Parkway, and on the west by South Jefferson Avenue. It surrounds Lafayette Park (see below), which is the city’s oldest public park — created by local ordinance in 1836.
Lafayette Square is The neighborhood is one of the oldest in St. Louis. When it was developed, it was one of the most fashionable places to live. It declined after a tornado devastated the area in 1896. An interesting tidbit about the architecture in Lafayette Square is directly related to that tornado. When the homes in the area were built, most of the homes were three story homes. When the tornado destroyed parts of Lafayette Square in 1896 some of the homes were reconstructed without those third stories.
Later, industrial encroachment and highway construction further weakened the neighborhood. Since the 1970s, St. Louis residents have been buying and renovating the older homes in Lafayette Square. As of 2006, most of the homes have been restored and there are many shops and restaurants.
The architecture in Lafayette Square is unlike anything else that you will find in St Louis. Victorian and French Mansard style homes with soaring ceilings sometimes up to 11 and 12 feet high. The stone work and attention to detail in all parts of construction is stunning. Because these homes were built 100-150 years ago the floor plans are often not modernized unless they have been rehabbed or unless it’s one of the newer construction homes that has been built in the neighborhood.
Lafayette Square has some of the best dining in St Louis, all within a walkable neighborhood. Square One brewery has a great beer and spirits selection and a wide variety of pub food. If you’re looking for a cozy place to sit by the fire in the dead of winter Sqwires has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and plenty of fantastic wine to sip.
Plenty of finer dining options are all within a couple minutes walk. Options like Polite Society, 1111 Mississippi, and Vin De Set, all offer a little more upscale cuisine and a fantastic assortment of wine, local beers and cocktails. One of our favorite places in Lafayette Square is Planter’s House right on the corner of Mississippi and Chouteau. Get the Manhattan. You can thank me later. If you’re only looking for a cup of coffee and some of the best gooey butter cake in town make sure to check out Park Avenue Coffee.
If you are looking for food outside of Lafayette Square, you are just seconds from Soulard and downtown St Louis. Get to a Cardinals baseball game or a Blues game in minutes. Some of my clients even use their golf carts to get around because everything is so close.
There is also easy access to grocery shopping at Fields Foods
Lafayette Square surrounds one of the most beautiful parks in the City, Lafayette Park.
“Lafayette Park was set aside from the St. Louis Common in 1836 and dedicated in 1851 as one of the first public parks, and by far the largest of its era, in the City of St. Louis, Missouri. It is considered by many historians to be the oldest urban park west of the Mississippi. At 30 acres Lafayette Park is one of the larger parks in the city even though it is still dwarfed by Forest Park which is about 46 times larger. Much of the fence and gates that surround the park are original.
There are walking paths throughout the park. Entering on the northwest corner, you can walk 40 yards and turn around and look north at the multi-purpose field used by, among others, a vintage baseball league. The Saint Louis Perfectos are a Base Ball club playing by the rules and customs of the 1860’s. It is the goal of the club to spread the game of Vintage Base Ball and to provide an entertaining and fun atmosphere for all. As a member club of the Greater St. Louis Base Ball Historical Society, players of all ages (over 18) and skill levels are welcome to join the club.
The south east side of the park has the beautifully restored and maintained Park House: The Park House, built in 1867 for use as a police station, now serves as an office for the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee and a police sub-station for the City of St. Louis. It may also be rented for private events. There are a couple statues within the park, one commemorating Thomas Hart Benton, the other George Washington. Then you have the playground complete with new water fountains and sculptures from the late great Bob Cassilly.
These ship’s guns, relics of the Revolutionary War, were originally mounted on the 28-gun British frigate Actaeon. They lay underwater in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina from the time that ship was scuttled in 1776 during the Battle of Sullivan’s Island until the late 19th century. At that time they were raised and purchased by a group of St. Louis veterans who donated them to Lafayette Park in 1897. Lafayette Park is one of the most popular wedding photo places in St. Louis. Among the spots chose are the Elizabeth Cook pavilion, the 3rd in this same spot. And then you have the gorgeous, most serene section of the park at the Rockery, built in 1866. One of two iron bridges remains as one was lost in the tornado of 1896.” – St Louis City Parks Website
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