On Sunday after I was finished showing property in the Davis Place neighborhood in Clayton I drove down Big Bend with the windows down to enjoy the beautiful weather we have been having for the last few days.  I’m always struck by the life around this part of Clayton.  Its a popular place to live and the proximity to Wash U has a great deal to do with it.  But there is so much to it than that.  When you look around the corner of Big Bend and Clayton there is so much going on.  There are all kinds of shops and restaurants within a couple of blocks.  St. Mary’s Hospital is right up the street and Forest Park is just a few block further up.


With all of these great things that were going on in a semi-urban setting the spot that jumped out the most to me was the park at the northwest corner of Clayton and Big Bend.  This park is called Oak Knoll Park and it happens to be the 2nd biggest park in Clayton after Shaw Park.  On a day when nearly the entire city was bustling the park still managed to look serene and peaceful even with a handful of people city by the lake and gathered at picnic tables.  The park is one of the prettiest sights in area that is spoiled with so many pretty sights and beautiful homes.  I have to imagine this 14 acre park with the beautiful lake is one of the most overlooked features in Clayton because of the more well known parks in close proximity.  This park backs up to the Claverach Park Subdivision and sits directly across the street from the Tuscany Park subdivision as well.  Its only a short walk for most of Wash U’s on campus housing as well.

Each summer Oak Knoll Park is host to Musical Nights, a series of concerts sponsored by the Clayton Century Foundation.  Bands play on the limestone stage next to the pond, and shows are held from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM on the fourth Sunday of each month from June through September.  Events are free to the public, and guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.

The history behind the park is also extremely interesting.  It was also the original home of the Science Center.  It was called the Museum of Science and Natural History and occupied the site from 1962-1985 before relocating to its current location next to St. Louis University Highschool on Oakland Ave.  The St. Louis Artist’s Guild currently occupies the Goldmon Mansion, one of 2 buildings that remain on the property from the original estate that occupied the property until the late 50’s.

More history can be found on the City of Clayton’s website as well as the St. Louis Artist’s Guild website.