Tower Grove Park has received an anonymous gift of $485,000 to fund the renovations of the Park’s stable building, a Victorian structure dating to 1870 and housing the Park’s Clydesdale horse and Shetland pony. The gift is one of the larger individual private donations in the park’s 146-year history. The donor selected the stable out of a love for horses and because of the building’s importance to park history.
“This gift honors Tower Grove Park’s legacy as a Victorian carriage park and helps bring that history to life,” says Steve Kidwell, president of the Tower Grove Park Board of Commissioners. “In a year spent crafting a new master plan with the public, this generous donation stands out as an example of leadership. It helps lay the groundwork for the park’s future by preserving a unique historical treasure for all to enjoy.”
Constructed in 1870 before widespread use of mechanized equipment, the Tower Grove Park stable originally housed working mules. The building is located in the northwest quadrant of the park, just east of the intersection of Magnolia and Alfred avenues. The structure features rustic Missouri limestone walls, a bell tower reminiscent of the Alamo, and an unusual end-grain woodblock floor. While the stable is operational today, the walls display decades of patchwork repairs, portions of the floor have sunk, and the roof suffers from deferred maintenance.
Thanks to the generosity of the anonymous donor, this historic structure will be fully and painstakingly restored to its historic glory. The entire exterior will be tuck-pointed with appropriate materials and stone replacement as needed, including the rebuilding of the bell gable. New roof, windows and doors will be installed, and architectural lighting will be added. The interior floor blocks will be removed and re-set with new subflooring. The building will have all-new electric, plumbing, ventilation and heat. A horse-washing station is being added, and the employee restroom attached to the residence renovated. The site will be graded to improve drainage for both the stable yard and paddock. The end result will be a magnificent renewal of this rare Victorian structure, as well as a more comfortable and accommodating space for both horses and humans.
“The clip-clop of hooves from a horse-drawn carriage ringing out in the park creates a magical connection to the past,” says Executive Director Bill Reininger. “This gift both secures our historic stable building and guarantees the continuation of our excellent standard of equine care. On behalf of the park’s 2.5 million annual visitors, we are deeply grateful.”
Construction will begin in January, weather permitting. During construction, the park’s horses will be relocated to a private facility in Wildwood, and carriage rides will be on hiatus. The park anticipates the completion of work and restoration of carriage rides later this spring. M
Via Press Release