Boathouse History

Boating in Forest Park since 1876.

Since the foundation of the park in 1876, boating has been a popular pastime. So much so that in the mid 1890s the lake at the Boathouse was extended to provide more room for boating.

A financial panic in 1893 gave the city another reason to expand the lake; providing work for St. Louis' unemployed. Beginning in January 1894, the Post-Dispatch conducted a campaign to raise money for the expansion. Six thousand men registered to work on this project. The lake is now called the Post-Dispatch Lake.

With the current restoration of Forest Park, Post-Dispatch Lake has been expanded once again to include new boating lagoons as well as an island devoted to wildlife conservation. Now boaters can travel more easily into the restored Grand Basin at the foot of Art Hill.

The master plan for the park called for a new, year-round boathouse facility. Designed by St. Louis architect Laurent Torno, the new Boathouse is reminiscent of Midwestern boathouse cottages in the early twentieth century.


Click the photos to enlarge.