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Suburban Garden

The Garden at the Wellston Loop

  Get Ready for the 1904 World's Fair!!

{The location Suburban Garden was the early homestead of Christian and Marie Kienlen, located about six miles West of St. Louis on the St. Charles Rock Road.   Later it was the country home of Erastus Wells near Kienlen and Easton Avenue.}

1884 John C. Jannopoulo immigrates from Greece to St. Louis.  He settled in St. Louis, where his uncle was the Greek Consul.  For several years he ran his uncle's tent and awning business, then, in 1895, he opened what was to become one of St. Louis's most successful summer resorts, the Suburban Garden on land that was part of the Kienlen and Wells estates. Jannopoulo offered his clients not only plenty of cheap beer but also musical theatre, drama, and vaudeville.

In the late 1890s in St Louis a new variation began to emerge from the German Style "Beer Garden", it was an Amusement Center for the entire family. These were usually established near the end of transportation lines out of the city. You could escape the heat, smells and pollution of the city for a few pennies transportation cost. You did not need to have a horse or hire one.  New communities grew up near the these transportation loops.  The homes could be designed without carriage houses or stables. Retail businesses thrived near these loops that were located in Maplewood, University City, Wellston and Florissant.

In 1895 John C. Jannopoulo opened the Suburban Garden at the Wellston loop and, in 1901, he opened Delmar Garden at the Delmar loop.   These sites gave World Fair visitors a pleasant place to go for family amusement away from the formal fare offered at Forest Park Fairgrounds.

Suburban Garden patrons would leave St. Louis from Grand Avenue in St Louis for a 12 mile ride to the Amusement Center for plays, dancing, swimming, exciting rides and plenty of popular and stimulating refreshments.  The families would arrive at Wells Station on the Narrow Gauge Steam Railroad.

1899 -June 6 NEWS Tuesday night at the Suburban Garden is designated "Elks Night"  Davenport Daily Leader  (For full article click here )

1905 -July 3 NEWS St. Louis laughs at Governor Polk over Sunday Liquor laws. "Most Drunken Boisterous Day
Since Closing Order"     Chicago Tribune

1906 - June 27 NEWS Oil discovered near the Suburban Garden Theater at the St. Louis and Suburban Railway Company. 
Newark Daily Advocate

1906 - July 16  NEWS Sunday Liquor laws violated at various St. Louis County parks.  Suburban Garden and Delmar Garden are among those named.  Chillicothe Constitution, Chillicothe, MO

1907- June 16 NEWS Amelia Bingham now playing at Suburban Garden.   Virgina Harned begins her four week engagement June 23.   The Washington Post

1907- June 23 NEWS  "The Modern Lady Godiva"  Presented in St. Louis by Amelia Bingham at Suburban Garden she will delight and impress a very large majority of theater goers" 
 The Washington Post

1908- March 7 NEWS  Virgina Harned has been engaged for part of the summer season at Suburban Garden..
The Mansfield News

1909 - June 21 NEWS  Miss Amelia Bingham is in a new double role.  A new strange melodrama at Suburban Garden in St. Louis.  The New York Times

1909 - August 9  NEWS  Rear end collision between two crowded Streetcars near Suburban Garden. Seven were hurt.
The Nebraska State Journal

1909 - August 12  NEWS  A minister gives a twenty minute talk at Suburban Garden.  Rev. Meeker said: " I see no difference in speaking three miles or three feet from a dance hall" - " - - the devil you know, never goes on vacation"    The New York Times

1909 - August 15  NEWS  A new play was produced in St. Louis at Suburban Garden with Marguerite Clark in the Leading part. -----   The Washington Post

1909 -  Marguerite Clark starred commendably in Barrie's play "Peter Pan" on the stage at Suburban Garden.

1909 - 
August 16 "The arrival of Countess Venturini in St. Louis marks the first time a recognized foreign star has made her debut in America outside of New York City." - - - - "Her engagement at Suburban Garden follows that of Marguerite Clark." Oakland Tribune

1909 - August 28 NEWS "PULPIT IN A GARDEN"  and Countess Venturini's production of "Frou -Frou"
       The Mansfield News

1909 - September 30 NEWS   "Prize Fight Promoters Arrested" at Suburban Garden.   Nebraska State Journal

1909 - October 5 NEWS     "Police Must Prove Fight Charge. at Suburban Garden."  New York Times  

1909 - December 12 NEWS  Miss Frances Sayre gets a big  legacy.  She was booked at the Suburban Garden in 1908.
The New York Times

1909 - Some stars of Stage and silent films that played at Suburban Garden in 1909 were: King Baggot, Marguerite Clark, Amelia Bingham, John Barrymore, Wilton Lackaye, Wilbur Higby, Countess Venturini   Photos are here.  "Playbills for the entire 1909 season of the Suburban Garden Theatre can be found at the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, Missouri."

1910 - May 6 NEWS Missouri Banker's Convention.  The Suburban Garden will be thrown open to delegates and visitors for the evening.     Wall Street Journal

1910 - New  building completed for Wellston Central School. (See post card to the right.)

1911 - May 21 NEWS Amelia Bingham has been engaged for a five week season at the Suburban Garden, St. Louis
    The Indianapolis Star

1911 - August 13 NEWS   Orrin Johnson stars at the Suburban Garden in "Father Jerome", a new play by Mrs. Gustave Froman.     The Syracuse Herald

1913 -  June 28 NEWS  "Bio"Miss Adrienne Kroell made her first appearance at Suburban Garden. 
Frederick Post, Frederick, Maryland

1913 - Summer Season St. Louis and the Suburban Garden again beckoned to Marguerite Clark, and with, the coming of the summer season of 1913, she again returned for the forth time to head a stock company. This season was different, the Oppenheimer Brothers, who controlled the the Suburban Garden changed the name to the Marguerite Clark Theater for their city's favorite summer star. Near the end of June, she yielded to John Barrymore who was to be the next "stock star" for three weeks, opening with "The Fortune Hunter"


1921 Suburban Garden does not exist. The site is barren.

"1921 -"Press release"  THE GAS ENGINE Published 1921 Gas Engine Pub. Co. " A deal was closed by the Universal Motor Truck and Traction Engineers Co., of St. Louis, MO for the erection of a manufacturing plant on the old amusement grounds of the Suburban Garden. The company will manufacture the "Timberlake" truck."    [Did not happen,] 
    The Suburban Garden area stayed empty for years. At night, we could hear the lonesome squeal of streetcar wheels navigating the curving return loop where there was once the laughter and cheers from the amusement park. 

The street then-named Timberlake is now called James H. Harvey Lane)

"Under The Anheuser Bush"  1903 Edison Recording  click above

ADDED 03/302007 !  I located a "Map" of sorts,  it is a "Fire map ", you can now pinpoint where this popular place was located. Some street names have changed, but east of Audrey Ave. and Kienlen Ave, or about a block west of Hamilton Av. and Kennerly Ave. will get you there. Link to Map : Click here
You can zoom in or out, see menu bar at top.
    For those that use coordinates.. try this
      38.6799N, -90.2832W near center of Garden

We have not yet found photos for Suburban Garden.... so  . . We have temporarily included below some postcard images for the "sister" amusement park located at the U. City Streetcar Loop. Both family amusement parks were built and operated at the same time by John C. Jannopoulo and his business partners. These images will be identified as "Delmar Garden"

We do know the Wellston Suburban Garden had a beer garden, scenic railway ( a type of roller coaster), carousel, swimming pool, dance floor, skating rink, bowling, billiards, dinner theater, a larger theater for plays, boxing events and large group meetings.   Delmar Garden had nearly the same attractions.


One Cent Postcard postmarked
 2 Feb, 1912, St. Louis, MO

Click photo to enlarge view


1904-1905 Delmar Garden
Click photo to enlarge view

1904-1905 scenic Railway
Delmar Garden.
Click photo to enlarge View










1910  New  building completed
for Wellston Central School

click Photo to enlarge

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