Henry Shaw | St. Louis Public Radio

Henry Shaw

The Missouri Botanical Garden's Stephen and Peter Sachs museum.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Visitors at the Missouri Botanical Garden are likely familiar with a historic building on the eastern portion of the grounds, where an obelisk stands outside with the words “In honour of American science.”

When philanthropist Henry Shaw founded the garden in 1859, the building served as its first scientific research facility. It contained a library and an herbarium that housed 62,000 specimens. Today, the garden’s herbarium has more than 7 million specimens, one of the largest botanical collections in the world.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

At the end the year, Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis will replace its director for only the fifth time in its 146 year history.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Joseph Leahy recently took a tour of the park with outgoing Director John Karel as he prepares to turn over his stewardship and place of residence after nearly three decades.


Getting The Job

LEAHY: How did you come to be the director of Tower Grove Park?

Henry Shaw at his townhouse at 7th and Locust.
Provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 19, 2013: Nearly 155 years ago, businessman Henry Shaw opened the Missouri Botanical Garden on the hundreds of acres of prairie he'd previously purchased. With the help of pre-eminent naturalist Asa Gray, William Jackson Hooker, director of England’s Kew Gardens, and St. Louis resident Dr. George Engelmann, Shaw created a major and lasting institution.

Commentary: Conservation gifts come in many sizes

Apr 13, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2012 - Missouri's newest state park -- Don Robinson's gift of 843 acres in Jefferson County -- is a welcome addition to an outstanding list of public areas in our region. Don Robinson State Park will forever enhance the recreational, social and educational opportunities for all of us .