These over 150-year-old Victorian-aged pavilions were once called “summer houses,” and were places to take shade while walking around the park. Inspired by English pleasure gardens, the park’s founder Henry Shaw envisioned Tower Grove as a place for all classes to mingle.
The pavilions are themed, each with its own colors and one-of-a-kind design. Chinese, Turkish, Cyprus, and Roman account for a few of them. Founder Henry Shaw, was an entrepreneur who attributed his wealth to slinging hardware in St. Louis. Retirement took him to Europe, inspiring his eclectic tastes.
Only eight parks in the United States are National Historic Landmarks, making Tower Grove a special place. It has the highest concentration of Victorian pavilions in the world. In 2021, work began to light up all of the pavilions for the park’s 150th anniversary. Visitors can even rent a pavilion for the day.