Dr. H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park is the city’s first park, originally dedicated in June 1961, and is located at 10630 Country View Drive.
The City originally acquired land for the park from Dr. H. Phillip Venable and his wife, Katie W. Venable, by the power of eminent domain in proceedings between 1956 and 1960. The Venables opposed the City’s use of eminent domain to acquire their land in both state and federal court, but were ultimately unsuccessful and sold their land to the City.
Both city and court records showed that the people leading the effort to obtain Dr. Venable’s land were motivated by bigotry and racial animus and sought to prevent the Venables from building their home in the City due to their race.
The history of the park’s origins had been forgotten for many years, but the facts were brought to the City Council’s attention in 2019 by members of the public. The Mayor and City Council subsequently held a public discussion on the history of the park.
On December 9, 2019, the Creve Coeur City Council approved Resolution 1467 renaming the park as Dr. H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park. As part of this legislation, the City Council acknowledged and apologized for the abhorrent actions of their predecessors, recognizing the Venables’ noble effort to oppose the misuse of government authority and to preserve their individual rights as citizens.
Pursuant to Resolution 1467, the city will also be considering amendments to its Park Master Plan to incorporate suitable signage, memorial, educational and esthetic features in the park. The City is planning a re-dedication ceremony for the park to honor the Venables and promote further understanding of the history of the park.
The City aims to ensure that both the community and future City officials remember these events while the public continues to enjoy Dr. H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park.