Monday, April 12, 2010

The Gambles And Lafayette Park

More from the Bryan source that was sent to me by Carolyn Willmore:

As soon as the War was over, there was much activity in buying lots in the neighborhood of the Park. Archibald Gamble died in 1866, but his widow, Mrs. Louisa Easton Gamble, continued to lie in the large brick mansion facing what was then called "McNair Avenue" between Geyer and Lafayette (almost facing Geyer on the south).

This peaked my interest because I knew that Archibald Gamble was the father of Cyclone Club members Joseph and Rufus Gamble. The elder Gamble was also a business associate of Edward Bredell, Sr., the father of Cyclone co-founder Edward Bredell, Jr. The elder Bredell was a member of the board of improvements for Lafayette Park and the family lived in the neighborhood. It was this association between the Bredell's and Lafayette Park, I believed, that led the Cyclone Club to establish grounds in the park. But the Bryan source hinted at the idea that the Gambles also may have lived in the Lafayette Park neighborhood in the antebellum era, establishing a stronger link between the club, the neighborhood and the park.

I asked Carolyn about the possibility of the Gambles living in the neighborhood prior to the war and see sent me this information from Lafayette Square: An Urban Renaissance by Timothy G. Conley:

The first residence built on the Square's south side was the Italianate mansion of Archibald Gamble who had retired from his successful law practice in 1842. No construction records are available because the St. Louis city limits at this time extended only to Second Carondelet Avenue or the present Eighteenth Street. We do know that the house was built before 1851 since Virginia Gamble married Charles Gibson there in that year...

So the Gambles, like the Bredell's, were living in the Lafayette Park neighborhood prior to the Civil War, at the same time the Cyclone Club was playing games in the park. This strengthens the argument that the Cyclone Club established their grounds in Lafayette Park because some club members lived in the neighborhood and had an interest in the success of the new park.

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