Aloe Plaza, St. Louis, MO
Aloe Plaza, St. Louis, MO

St. Louis,


United States

Aloe Plaza

This approximately three-acre plaza is located at the western terminus of the Gateway Mall, bound by Eighteenth, Twentieth, Chestnut, and Market Streets, sloping towards the latter. Following the approval of a bond issue in 1923, multiple blocks between Market and Chestnut Streets were cleared to accommodate Harland Bartholomew’s 1919 plan, which reimagined the area using City Beautiful principles. Funds from the bond issue were used to construct the plaza, which opened in 1932. The perimeter of the rectilinear space was planted with an alleé of canopy trees, while symmetrical north-south oriented paths met at its center and encircled a garden. During the 1930s the original plan was altered to accommodate Carl Milles’ fountain, The Meeting of the Waters, commissioned by Edith Aloe. The fountain was dedicated in 1940 and the plaza was named in honor of Edith Aloe’s late husband, Louis Aloe, the former president of the Board of Alderman. The long, rectangular basin features two facing human figures that symbolize the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, surrounded by a symmetrical arrangement of both real and mythical creatures that seem to dance and leap out of the fountain. Axial jets placed behind each human figure, propel liquid straight up into the air while angled spouts located on the creatures themselves project water in various directions. Milles determined the placement of the bronze figures and the jets, detailing the piping dimensions to control the water velocity and patterns, while allowing changing light and wind to influence the work. The fountain is flanked by compact turfgrass panels, which are punctuated by benches and edged by mature trees. The plaza was replanted by Layton, Layton, & Associates in 1954. The balanced plaza is juxtaposed by the asymmetrical Memorial Plaza to the east and offers views of the historic Romanesque Revival Union Station across Market Street.  

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