Among the wonders of Forest Park is an Art Deco style conservatory called the Jewel Box. On previous visits to this historic park, we had driven past this giant greenhouse en route to another feature, and I would longingly peer out the window with curiosity of what was inside. I am fascinated with conservatories, and been anxious for the time we would step into this architectural wonder built in 1936. The majestic 50 foot tall greenhouse is on the National Historic Register and has recently undergone a $3.5 million restoration. Renovations better facilitate the publics use for weddings, flower shows and special events and improve the integrity of the structure. Admission to the Jewel Box is $1.
We had a full day planned for Sunday. Church at 8:00, three Forest Park features sandwiched in between late breakfast and late lunch in nearby historic neighborhoods, and back to church for the Andrew Peterson concert. We were thankful for a beautiful day with mild weather.
We could see an interesting looking architectural relic in the distance so we followed one of the paths from the fountain that led toward it. Vandeventer Place was etched across the top of the stone marvel. What was this beauty doing in the park and what stories did it have to tell? Upon further study, it appears this granite and iron entrance gate was placed in 1894 in the influential Vandeventer Place neighborhood where many notable people of St. Louis resided. The neighborhood had been founded 24 years prior.
Unfortunately it was only a matter of time before the dirt and smoke of the city made this area less desirable. The Eastern half of the neighborhood was razed to build the VA Hospital in 1947 and not long after, the Western half was used to build a juvenile detention center. The gates were moved to Forest Park, Jewel Box area in 1950 as a reminder of the exclusive nature of Vandeventer Place, and a piece of history was saved for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.
Our visit to the Jewel Box exceeded our expectations. We were thankful to enjoy the grounds on this beautiful day despite the late winter breeze. Goodbye Jewel Box. Our next visit to see you will be to enjoy your gardens and fountain in the summer.
Our next stop is the History Museum to learn about the 1904 World’s Fair. I can’t wait to share some of the interesting things we learned and show you some of the beautiful paintings.