Lafayette Square is a neighborhood in St. Louis surrounding Lafayette Park, the city's oldest public park created in 1836. The neighborhood is one of the oldest in St. Louis. When it was developed, Lafayette Square was considered one of the most fashionable places to live. Since the 1970s, St. Louis residents have been buying and renovating the older homes in Lafayette Square. Most of the homes in the area have been restored and there are many shops and restaurants throughout Lafayette Square.
Beginning as a French village in 1764, the land surrounding St. Louis had been common pasture for village livestock and had been privately owned. In 1835, when the land was under American rule, Mayor Darby gained permission from the state legislature to begin selling the commons. The Board of Aldermen set aside 30 acres of this land for community recreation, which is known today as Lafayette Square.
Created in 1838, Lafayette Park spans 29.95 acres. The park was named in honor of Marquis de Lafayette, a French statesman who served as a volunteer under General George Washington in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
The land was formally dedicated as Lafayette Square, the name that became associated with the neighborhood surrounding the park, in 1851. In 1854, the park was officially renamed to Lafayette Park. Lafayette Park contains cannons part of a British warship that bombarded Fort Moultire in Charleston Harbor during the Revolutionary War. In 1972, Lafayette Square was declared a historic district by St. Louis. It has biking trails, a duck pond with a fountain, a children's playground, various decorative plants, and a gazebo that can be rented for picnics and private events.
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