Penrose Park, St. Louis, MO
Penrose Park, St. Louis, MO

St. Louis,


United States

Penrose Park

This approximately 51-acre park located in the Penrose neighborhood was proposed in the 1907 comprehensive plan by the “Inner and Outer Parks Committee,” whose members included George Kessler and Julius Pitzman. Established in 1910, the space is situated directly south of Interstate-70 and encompasses land and north and south of Kingshighway Boulevard. The park is bisected by North Bircher and Kingshighway Boulevards, as well as east-west oriented train tracks. The southeast section of the space features a velodrome: an oval, steeply banked cycling track.

In the late nineteenth century cycling became popular in the United States and myriad clubs, including the St. Louis Cycling Club, were established. Cyclists toured the countryside of St. Louis County and frequented Forest Park, which, beginning in 1894, hosted a short-lived annual bicycle race that was revived in the first decade of the twentieth century. Park roads were utilized for a 1925 national championship race and in the late 1930s the city constructed an oval racing track in the southeastern corner of Forest Park, partially using federal funds. In 1958 highway officials announced plans to expand U.S Highway 40 along the southern edge of Forest Park. The bicycle track was razed and in 1962 the city donated land adjacent to Penrose Park, for the construction of a velodrome. Installed in 1962, the velodrome was designed by Olympic Cyclist and Schwinn Bicycle Company designer Frank Burlando, measuring 1/5 of a mile long with a 28-degree bank. The track was repaired and resurfaced in 1984 and 2005. After renovations, it reopened in 2019, featuring a new concrete surface. The curved portions of track are set into respective berms, ensuring that the interior is level. The Penrose Park Velodrome is one of just 27 tracks of its kind in the United States. 

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