A major change in the streetscape occurred in 1926-1927 with the construction of St. Joseph's new City Hall and the development of the area southeast of Frederick Avenue between North 10th Street and North 12th Street as a park. This Civic Center park was a part of the George Burnap master plan that created St. Joseph's ambitious park and boulevard system in the 1920's. The Civic Center grounds were to contain a music hall and art gallery that were never completed. Construction of the Civic Center resulted in the loss of the large Irish-American Hall and several other buildings, while adding a monumental public building to the architectural resources of the area.


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Circa 1927

A Civic Center general plan including this proposed War Memorial was found in the basement of City Hall.
The watercolor on canvas site plan is dated 1922 and was the work of George Burnap and Jacques Greber.
The Wyeth-Tootle Museum has a copy of the site plan in their Eckel exhibit.
Photo #2 is a partial site plan photo for reference.
George Burnap was a central figure in the St. Joseph parkway system design
He brought in noted French architect and city planner Jacques Greber.
The 1927 memorial rendering pictured above is by Greber
The description above & photo #2 was supplied by Max Guenther
Photo #1 - 1927 St Joseph News Press photograph

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Circa 1926
11th & Frederick

Originally, this park was called Smith Park

It was named for the original city planner Frederick Smith

It was the first park dedicated in St. Joseph

Pictured in photo #19 are Leona Townsend with Pat, Mike and Ramona Townsend

The name was later changed to Civic Center Park

Photo #1 - Civic Center Park, originally called Smith Park
Photo #2 - Dolphins on fountain in Smith Park, now called Civic Center Park
Photo #3 - Dolphins on fountain in Smith Park, now called Civic Center Park
Photo #4 - Smith Park viewed from the Francis St Methodist Church bell tower
Photo #5-16 Taken in 2013 by David Osgood
Photo #17 - Dolphin fountain in Smith Park
Photo #18 - Dolphin fountain in Smith Park
Photo #19 - Civic Center Park with Budweiser white mules before 1955
Photo #20 - 1926 photo of the new Smith Park
Photo #21 - Early postcard of Smith Park
Photo #22 - 1913 postcard of Smith Park
Photo #23 - People hit the spindle fence with cars, this is a photo of a spindle repair
Photos #5-16 taken in 2013 by David Osgood
Photo #19 donated by Butch & Dea Allen


Feel free to email me with any photo donations, comments or questions
Rick Drozd

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