In 1850, 54 city blocks that were part of the Union Addition were platted for residential development. This neighborhood northwest of downtown St. Louis encompasses roughly twelve city blocks, irregularly bound by Palm Street to the north, Cass Avenue to the south, North Florissant Street on the east, and North Jefferson Street to the west. The lack of deed restrictions, access to public transit, and architectural diversity attracted many to the neighborhood.
The original plan called for a central, one-block-wide, two-block-long linear park, expanded in length by two additional blocks in 1887. St. Louis Place Park was designed in a Picturesque manner with an open, gently sloping lawn, canopy trees, and curvilinear, intersecting pathways. The city continued to make park improvements until the turn of the century, including regrading in 1896 and adding a fountain in 1898. A statue of Friedrich Schiller once stood on a stone base at the center of a circular pedestrian path in the park’s northern block but was removed in 1975. In the same decade, the park’s fountain was replaced by a concrete splash pad.
As St. Louis’ economy boomed in the early twentieth century, the city’s incoming workforce and emerging middle class settled farther west, leaving vacancies in dense urban neighborhoods like St. Louis Place. Following decades of depopulation and disinvestment, the city began demolishing structures in the 1950s for the anticipated construction of an Interstate 70 connector. Although this plan was abandoned in the 1970s, demolitions continued, and by the mid-1980s almost 30% of the neighborhood’s building stock was destroyed. Recognizing this loss, local developers and community groups began reinvesting in the area, conducting an architectural survey of the Union Addition area and initiating National Register nominations for the Frank P. Blair School (listed in 1982) and the Clemens House-Columbia Brewery Historic District (1984). A nine-block section of the neighborhood surrounding St. Louis Place Park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the St. Louis Place Historic District in 2011.