By Trish Muyco-Tobin
Hog Hollow, Gumbo, Bonhomme, River Bend…these were some of the names Chesterfield went by prior to its incorporation in 1988. While it’s a newbie compared to other West County communities, the City of Chesterfield has established itself in the region as a leading suburb when it comes to quality of life for the approximately 48,000 people who live there.
You might say Chesterfield is a suburbanite’s dream, with every box store and retail chain imaginable claiming real estate along Highway 40, Clarkson Road and its other main thoroughfares. But what makes Chesterfield shine is its landmarks—institutions and attractions that you won’t see or experience anywhere else in town.
One such jewel is Faust Park, a 200-acre property that was the original estate of Missouri’s second governor, Frederick Bates. The Bates Family’s circa-1819 home, Thornhill, is the oldest standing governor’s home in the state and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s also a Historic Village, a cluster of preserved homes and other structures dating back to the mid-19th century that gives a glimpse into the lifestyles of early St. Louis County settlers. Thornhill and the Historic Village are available to tour on select weekends this summer.
Another standout in Faust Park is the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, where more than a thousand live tropical winged creatures are on display within a glass conservatory.
The Butterfly House, operated by the Missouri Botanical Garden, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018 with a Metamorphosis Gala. The Roaring 20s-themed event on June 23 will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, performers and period cars, among other fun activities. Proceeds will benefit the Butterfly House’s mission to foster a greater understanding of plant and animal relationships in the environment in order to promote the conservation and restoration of natural habitats.
THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
The Butterfly House welcomed its first visitors 20 years ago, and has since earned a spot among St. Louis’ most beloved attractions. In addition to this month’s Metamorphosis Gala, it hosts a number of public events year-round designed for people of all ages and interests.
Butterfly House Yoga
June 12, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
This hour-long session is for all levels, and includes a half-hour meditative stroll, if you come early. $18 ($15 for Garden members)
Paint and Sip: An Evening of Wine and Pairing
June 13, 5 to 7 p.m.
Relaxation is the goal, and no prior painting skills are necessary. Supplies and wine are included with admission. $54 ($45 for Garden members)
Behind the Scenes Photography: It’s a Small World
June 26, 6 to 8 p.m.
This beginner-to-intermediate class allows you to interpret the butterflies, flowers and other small living wonders in the Tropical Conservatory through your lens. $34 ($28 for Garden members)
IN AND AROUND CHESTERFIELD
The Awakening II
Seward Johnson’s aluminum giant, part of the city of Chesterfield’s public art collection, is actually comprised of five individual pieces made to look like a man struggling to free himself from the ground. The sculpture, arguably one of the most photographed pieces of art in the area, is 70 feet long and 17 feet at its tallest point (the giant’s outstretched right arm). We file it under the “creepy/cool” artwork category–and that is why it’s a must-see. Permanently installed adjacent to Chesterfield Central Park in 2009, this is the artwork’s second casting; the original was installed in Washington D. C. chesterfield.mo.us
St. Louis Carousel at Faust Park
Oh, to be a kid again–but you can, even if it’s just for a spin aboard the St. Louis Carousel! The original 1920s merry-go-round is comprised of 60 hand-carved horses, four reindeer and two carriages. Built by the Dentzel Company of Philadelphia, the $30,000 carousel came to St. Louis in 1929 and installed at Forest Park Highlands amusement park. The carousel was later acquired by St. Louisan Howard Ohlendorf, who donated it to the St. Louis County Parks and Recreation department in the 1960s. It was moved to its current home in Faust Park in the mid-80s. stlouiscarousel.com
The ultimate in comfort food in the most comfortable of settings, Annie Gunn’s is an institution with a loyal following. And it’s easy to see why: Chef Lou Rook’s kitchen consistently serves up excellent fare—be it his namesake burger, the grilled, house-made meatloaf or smoked duck breast. The best seat in the house? Anywhere near the fireplace–but not when it feels like 100 degrees outside! annieguns.com