Concordia Park is located in the DeMun Neighborhood on the grounds of Concordia Seminary. The City of Clayton has leased this passive 1.5-acre park from Concordia Seminary since 1992. With gentle rolling hills, open grassy areas, and a canopy of mature trees this park is a lovely place to enjoy nature while sitting at one of the benches or picnic tables provided for visitors.
Located on the grounds of Concordia Seminary, the largest Lutheran seminary in the world, Concordia Park offers a wide expanse of open green space spotted with trees, park benches, and picnic tables. The park provides an attractive view of the sidewalk cafes across DeMun Avenue, as well as a quiet space for visitors to enjoy.
Concordia Park History
Concordia Seminary has been a Clayton resident since 1921. Founded as the First Evangelical Lutheran College in 1839, Concordia Seminary moved to St. Louis from a log cabin in Altenburg, Missouri in 1849. After outgrowing two downtown locations, Concordia selected the Clayton site for a new campus and purchased 72 acres of the DeMun estate on a hilltop overlooking DeMun Avenue and its trolley line. The land had never been broken since King Ferdinand VII of Spain gave it to Julius DeMun, a French fur trader, and his wife Isabelle Gratiot DeMun, the great-granddaughter of Pierre Laclede. In January of 1924, when members of the Lutheran community gathered for the historic ground-breaking, the frozen soil had to be warmed with a fire just to turn the shovel. Approximately 75,000 people celebrated the dedication of the new campus in June 1926.
Gracious neighbor and host, Concordia Seminary has allowed its grounds to be enjoyed by the Clayton community for more than eighty years. The City made this agreement official in 1992 when it leased 1.5 acres at the northeast corner of the property to provide much-desired green space to residents of the densely populated DeMun neighborhood.
The campus features stately stone buildings designed in the collegiate gothic style, including Luther Tower, which rises 120 feet above the magnificent multi-faceted stone archway at its base. Visible from the park, the tower was the central feature of architect Charles Klauder’s original campus design, but it was not completed until 1966. To finish it, the Zell Quarry near St. Genevieve was reopened and scoured for stones to match those used forty years earlier. The tower houses a 49-bell cast-bronze carillon, one of only two in Missouri, installed in 1970. Musicians come from all over the world to give concerts, and on every Tuesday evening in June, the community is invited to gather in Concordia Park to listen to the music that emanates from the tower. Perhaps that’s why the Riverfront Times rated Concordia Park “Best Picnic Spot” in 2008.
Other campus attractions include President’s Plaza, featuring a bronze statue of Martin Luther and a bell cast by J.G. Stuckstede and Brothers of St. Louis, both of which were moved from the second downtown seminary building on Jefferson Avenue; a replica of the original 16’ x 21’ log cabin that housed the seminary in Perry County; The Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, completed in 1992 of forty tons of stone from an old smokestack; and the library fountain, a popular reflection site for both seminarians and campus visitors, and where children that live at the seminary and in the DeMun neighborhood say they like to watch the ducks.