A Brief History of ShawBy: Staff
The Shaw neighborhood began as a clearing the French called Prairie des Noyers. Much of this expansive natural prairie was purchased by Louisville’s Captain William Chambers in 1816. About the same time, the prairie captivated Henry Shaw, a young man of 19 seeking his fortune. He bought his piece in 1840 to the north and west of Chambers and there he built his country home, Tower Grove House. He also began planning and installing his magnificent garden, now known as the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Shaw began dabbling in residential development building Shaw Place, which was a re-creation of a streetscape reminiscent of his childhood in England. The architectural firm of George I. Barnett designed these houses as a model and standard for the homes Shaw wanted to see built around his garden. They also served as rental property, the proceeds benefiting the Garden. When Captain Chambers died, he left his property to his daughter, Mary Tyler, who sold it in the 1890’s to a Kansas City developer. Tyler’s 235 acres became “Tyler Place, a bon ton neighborhood”. Flora Place was the showcase of the area. Its lots sold for $55-65 per front foot. The entrance gates to the 1897 Flora Place were built at a cost of $9,500. That was $5,500 more than the first home’s sale price. Growth spread in all directions, and many styles of architecture flourished over the ensuing 30 years as Shaw became a fully urban neighborhood.
Shaw contains a variety of housing, from beautiful grand homes to spacious multifamily dwellings. Many churches, schools and businesses also call Shaw home. The Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association assists in strengthening the community by providing communication to the Shaw residents about issues affecting Shaw or St. Louis City in general, promoting the neighborhood, and sponsoring amenities and events such as the Shaw Dog Park and the Historic Shaw Art Fair. Also located in this growing and thriving community is the Shaw Neighborhood Housing Corporation which promotes and improves properties by working with developers, sponsors the Shaw on Show and Fall for Shaw events for realtors to showcase the wealth of housing available, and assists in marketing the neighborhood.
Currently a renovation renaissance is taking place in Shaw. It remains one of the oldest and most intact neighborhoods within St. Louis City’s historic districts. Not only is housing undergoing renovation, but businesses are also. In recent years Shaw has seen the opening of a restaurants such as Thurman Grill, Sasha's on Shaw, Mama Josephines, and Sweet Art. Tower Grove Park, located on the south end of Shaw, is a wonderful place to walk, bike, play tennis, take the kids to the playgrounds or enjoy a wonderful Sunday brunch at the renovated Piper Palm House. The Missouri Botanical Garden borders Shaw to the west and offers quiet beauty as well as numerous events throughout the year. Free or low cost concerts play at Tower Grove Park and the Missouri Botanical Garden during the summer. All this and much more is within walking distance of any home in Shaw.
Shaw is a member of the Garden District and the Grand Visions Coalition. The Garden District, composed of the neighborhoods surrounding the Missouri Botanical Garden, is a long-term revitalization and beautification effort. Grand Visions Coalition’s mission is to promote the housing and businesses located in the neighborhoods surrounding South Grand Blvd.