The Hidden Treasures of Forest Park


Forest Park Forever in conjunction with KMOV-TV, Enterprise Rental and Express Scripts produced an hour long TV show called, The Hidden Treasures of Forest Park.  The show aired Tuesday night.  The purpose of the show was to raise money for the Forest Park Maintenance Fund.  The show was basically an infomercial, complete with pledge breaks.  The face-lift of Forest Park is nearing completion and now Forest Park Forever is concentrating on maintenance issues.

The show, The Hidden Treasures of Forest Park was interesting.  Key segments included articles about the Park’s fish hatchery, the relationship between the Park and the River Des Peres, the Muny’s Saturday midnight dress rehearsals and the Park’s mounted police.  I learned much about this Park, that I thought I already knew well.

The small ponds just east of the Union entrance to the Park comprise the site of the Park’s fish hatchery.  At one time they supplied fish hatches to all of Missouri.  The fish were ferried about the state in a special train car.  Today the ponds are used as an educational tool.  The egrets like them too.  😉

The River Des Peres and the Park have had a love-hate relationship throughout their combined history.  Before the 1904 World’s Fair, when the Park was then known as Skinker’s Swamp, the River Des Peres was an open sewer.  The Fair’s architects decided to bury the river, but because their construction was only temporary, after the Fair the river was uncovered.  Eventually the river was buried again.  Near the fish hatchery ponds is a caged stairwell.  It descends underground.  This is the Park’s access point to the River Des Peres (river of the fathers).

The Muny puts on seven shows in eight weeks.  For every summer, for ninety years now.  Throughout the season, on Saturday night, at midnight they do the one and only full dress rehearsal for the next week’s show.  The Saturday night live performance ends by eleven.  The audience files out and the crew begins tearing down that shows set.  The performance highlighted in the TV show was the 2007 performance of Les Miserables.  This show used the Muny’s giant turntable and there were problems.  They worked them out, got the rehearsal done (by dawns early light) and had the previous shows set reconstructed in time for its final Sunday night performance.  Anne and I were at the Monday night, opening performance of Les Miserables  and enjoyed the show as we have almost every show that the Muny has performed for the last twenty years.

I didn’t really catch the mounted police segment, because I was on the phone donating.  Here is the deal.  For $50 you get, Keeper of the Park status, plus a Forest Park tote bag, magnet, decal, coupon book good for discounts at park destinations (ice rink, tennis court, boat house,  golf course, etc.) and the DVD.  I use the Park a lot.  It is a keeper.

OBTW, this post’s picture shows one of the many new Park signs that have appeared around town, as part of the New I-64 construction.  Although, why they felt the need to put this particular sign up beats me.  In order to read it, you have to be well inside the Park.

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