Tower Grove Park to Enter New Era of Restoration with Facility Core Enhancements from Trivers

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Considered to be the best and most complete example of a nineteenth century urban park design remaining in the United States, Tower Grove Park in St. Louis is one of only seven parks designated as a National Historic Landmark. Trivers recently celebrated the park’s 150th anniversary with a commitment to helping it usher in a new era of restoration that will ensure it remains well-preserved for generations to come.

To better understand the history of the park and its different eras, the Trivers team analyzed all the former directors. Beginning with Henry Shaw—who donated the land in 1868—park director vision has encompassed inspiration, enhancement, mobility, recreation, maintenance, stabilization, and preservation. With Executive Director Bill Reininger, it now includes restoration and a vision for the future.

“All of the park directors had a focus, whether it was first establishing the park or making thoughtful changes to improve it,” said Trivers Principal Amy Gilbertson, FAIA, LEED GA. “As Tower Grove Park enters a new ‘build’ era, Trivers is continuing its relationship with the park by serving as the lead architect for key facility core enhancements.”

These facility core enhancements—an essential component of the park’s Master Plan—will play an important role in maintaining and operating the park and add revenue-generating resources. They include:

  • Construction of a new Event Support Building that will house seven public restrooms and a catering kitchen to support events in the Piper Palm House as well as pop-up food or beverage events.
  • Conversion of the underutilized Director’s Residence Garden into a premier, revenue-generating event space.
  • Construction of a new Operations Support Building that will provide a catering kitchen for the Director’s Residence Garden event space, a garden-facing event stage, and patron restrooms. It will also include new restrooms, equipment storage and interior workspace for the park’s operations crew.
  • Replacement of an insufficiently sized Head House attached to the park’s central greenhouse. The new Head House will offer functional off-season support for the growing area within the greenhouse.

Although each of these projects is shovel-ready, Tower Grove Park needs supporters to make leadership gifts that will help position them for groundbreaking. According to Tower Grove Park Director of Development David Lauber, the park has raised about $4.5 million of the $6.5 million total cost.

“The St. Louis region has stepped up its support of Tower Grove Park in recent years, and now we’ve got a bit further to go in delivering these exciting projects,” Lauber said. “The state of Missouri has awarded the park 50 percent tax credits to cover a significant portion of the remaining need, which can help donors have a greater impact at a lower out-of-pocket cost.”

To ensure these new and renovated structures complement Tower Grove Park’s historic environment, Trivers and the design team have engaged with St. Louis’ Cultural Resources Office and the State Historic Preservation Office as well as other park stakeholders.

“Honoring the history of a place or structure does not have to mean stifling new design opportunity,” Gilbertson said. “We need to remember the stories of our past and understand original design ideas while also creating new interventions that keep a place relevant and exciting and allow it to continue to serve the community.”

Trivers’ relationship with Tower Grove Park began when it was selected to restore and preserve its equestrian stable that was built in 1868. As one of the oldest buildings in the park, the stable modifications were based on historic preservation standards and considerations for future use. They included improvements to a small office for park staff members as well as a home for a Clydesdale horse, Shetland pony and several chickens.

In 2021, Trivers also helped restore the park’s Old Playground and Turkish pavilions, which are each about 150 years old, to their original condition. Trivers’ work on the pavilions received the AIA Honor and Craftsmanship Award from the American Institute of Architects of St. Louis, a Most Enhanced Award from the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, and a 2023 Palladio Award from Traditional Building.

The latest facility core enhancements will enable Tower Grove Park to continue serving as the anchor and economic stabilizer of several business districts and historic neighborhoods.

“We love Tower Grove Park,” said Gilbertson. “We plan picnics and outings and volunteer at events like Plant It Forward, a bi-annual campaign that helps maintain the display beds. Also, many of us live in the surrounding area, so we spend a lot of time in the park with family and friends. We hope our involvement in the restoration of Tower Grove Park will have a positive impact on the community and provide a welcoming and accessible space for everyone.”


To learn more about or donate to these projects, please contact Emily Malloy at 314-771-4410 or