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A Trip To The Nearest Park

March 27, 2020 Featured, Parks No Comments

On Wednesday I went outside, the temperature was nice and I’d been in our apartment for three full weeks — 21 days! I was going stir-crazy.

I decided that rather than just walk a few feet outdoors I’d take my power wheelchair to the closest public park. On the way there a man was sitting on his front porch. I said “Hello” and he replied the same. He was at least 10 feet away, no social distancing violation. He was the first person besides my husband I’d spoken with in person in three weeks.

The main entrance to Fr. Filipiak Park off the SW corner of 10th & O’Fallon. Patrick Henry Elementary is seen on the left.

Here’s the short text from the city’s page on this park:

In 1979, the Rev. Edward Filipiak, for whom the park is named, was a one-man pastorate on a mission to save his church, built in 1844, from demolition. Archdiocese leaders planned a new building nearby but backed off after some former parishioners organized the Friends of St. Joseph, and the National Register of Historic Places designated the twin-spire structure a landmark.

What you’ll see at this park is a grassy knoll of rolling berms and a few shade trees complete with benches and plaques in honor of Fr. Filipiak and those who’ve lost their lives in the line of work. https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/parks/parks/browse-parks/view-park.cfm?parkID=41&parkName=Father%20Filipiak%20Park

What’s not mentioned is Father Filipiak was brutally murdered in September 1979. His findagrave entry has his photo and a few more details. His murder saved the church, but the 19th century houses that faced 10th Street and backed up to the side of the church weren’t so lucky.

Looking North. A father was playing ball with his two kids. We spoke briefly and from a distance. 
Looking North & slightly East
A plaque honoring Father Filipiak

I think about him and his fight to save the church. If he hadn’t been murdered would the church still be here today?  Or the houses that occupied the land where this park exists — would they still exist.  Anyway, it was just very nice going outside and speaking to other human beings.

Today I’ll be out again but I have to worry about touching stuff and then not touching my face.

— Steve Patterson

 

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