FUTURE HOME OF THE ST. LOUIS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
#2 OAK KNOLL PARK
At the corner of Big Bend and Clayton is Oak Knoll Park, a large wooded area that offers visitors to this passive space 14.5 acres of rolling lawns, mature canopy trees, and a small fountain lake. The second largest Clayton park, Oak Knoll has a rich variety of foliage and even richer history.
In the early 1800’s, around the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the area between St. Louis and Clayton was largely open land. The Kennedy farm occupied 300 acres on what is now bordered by Clayton and Hanley Roads and Wydown, and Big Bend Boulevards. Of the many structures built for the people, livestock, and vehicles that served the farm were a brick home and the largest barn in the county. The farm produced eggs, milk, fruit, and vegetables. The farm was purchased in the 1850’s by St. Louis lawyer Benjamin F. Thomas, who lived there with his family until his children were grown, at which time he divided the land among them.
In 1905 Charles Rice, a wealthy St. Louis attorney, bought the property at Clayton Road and Pennsylvania Avenue (now Big Bend Boulevard) and built an imposing 22-room stone mansion there in 1914. Seven years later, Mrs. Rice’s brother Alvin Goldman began building a second home similar in scale and style that was completed in 1929. The Rice and Goldman families named their estate Oak Knoll where they resided at One and Two Oak Knoll Park respectively.
The Goldman Mansion was also the former home to the original St. Louis Science Center and then later the St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Number 2 Oak Knoll Park a three story, approximately 16,000 square foot, residence is currently under renovation to house the St. Louis Community Foundation which has been helping St. Louis put charity dollars to work since 1915. The Foundation has 500 individual charitable funds that total over $303 million in assets. In 2015 over $60 million in grants were distributed that shape our region, touch communities across the nation, and reach across the globe. The foundation will be leasing the building from the City of Clayton.
When completed the facility will provide second floor office and work space for the foundation staff while preserving the grandeur of the main level for meeting and special events. The beautiful main level spaces will be available for weddings and other special events with a spacious outdoor patio that overlooks the lake and Oak Knoll Park. The project is scheduled for completion early summer of 2016.
Space + Form Architects was chosen to be the architectural firm for the Monsanto Education Center for Sustainable Solutions. The center will be housed in a new building constructed on Rockwood Summit High School’s campus and will include an area where students and advisors can plant row crops to study how plants such as corn and soybeans produce a renewable source of fuel.
The new building will provide space for a Bio-Diesel Fuel Processor, that the students built, and classroom space where students can perform experiments to test and improve the quality of the bio-diesel fuel that they are producing. They are currently producing Bio-Diesel fuel from waste vegetable oil that they collect from the schools kitchen and plan to start growing crops on an area adjacent to the building to use producing Bio-Diesel fuel.
Video from Rockwood School District
Check out this story on KSDK.com.