Dr. H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park

Venable Park Commemorative Artwork & Park Master Plan

The City of Creve Coeur is in the process of creating a park master plan to evaluate the needs and develop a plan for improvements in Dr. H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park, including commemorative artwork honoring Dr. Venable. There are several opportunities, both in person and online, for the public to submit comments on the draft master plan and commemorative artwork proposals.


The three concept proposals for the commemorative artwork to be installed in Dr. H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park are available for public review through October 15, 2023. Members of the public can review and submit comments in one of three ways:

  1. Attend the open house in Venable Park (10630 Country View Drive) on Thursday, September 21, from 4:00–6:00 p.m. or on Saturday, October 7, from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. in Venable Park, located at 10630 Country View Drive.
  2. View the informational boards on display in the Creve Coeur Government Center lobby between Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., or the Dielmann Recreation Complex lobby any day of the week, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. 
  3. View the commemorative artwork proposals online through October 15, 2023.

Comments collected during the public review period will be shared with the Venable Park Memorial Jury, who will then make a final recommendation to the City Council. The final decision on which proposal to select will be made by the end of the calendar year, with installation anticipated for 2025.


The public is invited to provide feedback on the draft master plan at a public open house on Saturday, October 7, from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. in Venable Park, located at 10630 Country View Drive. Staff will be present to discuss the draft master plan, which identifies opportunities for improvements in Venable Park such as a new splash pad, new tennis and pickleball courts, new play equipment for 2-5 year olds, exercise stations and additional parking. HDR, Inc., developed the draft master plan based on community feedback and input from the city's Parks and Historic Preservation Committee.

Those unable to attend the open house may view the draft master plan online through October 15, 2023.


Dr. H. Phillip VenableDr. 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 held a rededication and community celebration for Dr. H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park on September 18, 2021, 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.


A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available for individuals, nonprofits, religious institutions, schools and businesses of any size who are looking to take an active role in honoring Dr. Howard Phillip Venable.

Sponsorships are available to fund the commission and installation of a permanent memorial in honor of Dr. Venable that will be placed in the park at a later date. The memorial will have an educational component that will tell the story of Dr. Venable and educate park visitors of the past injustice. 

Additional Resources


Singer, James, and Ellen Kunkelmann. "Reckoning in Creve Coeur: Venable Park." Gateway: The Magazine of the Missouri Historical Society, vol. 40, no. 1, Spring 2020, pp. 6-17.

Norfolk, Bobby. Public reading of The Venerable Dr. Venable/The Last Caregiver Part. September 18, 2021, Dr. H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park Rededication, Creve Coeur.


KMOV Ch. 4 | September 18, 2021 | Creve Coeur dedicates park to Black medical pioneer

KSDK Ch. 5 | September 18, 2021 | Creve Coeur rights a wrong of institutional racism

St. Louis Jewish Light | September 21, 2021 | Creve Coeur rededications park to Black doctor who faced injustice

St. Louis American | September 23-30, 2021 | Creve Coeur park renamed in honor of pioneering Black doctor

Nine PBS: Living St. Louis | October 4, 2021 | Venable Park Renamed to Reconcile Racist Past

PBS News Hour | October 14, 2021 | Decades after a Missouri town seized a Black doctor's home, his relatives sought to reclaim his land—and his story

Kodner, Sofie. "Broken Heart Park." 99% Invisible. Podcast audio, March 8, 2022.


Howard Phillip Venable Oral History. An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 1 hour and 16 minutes. Website & Audio File / PDF Transcript

Dr. H. Phillip Venable oral history interview by the Missouri Historical Society, August 28,1987 (below).

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)