Constructed in 1878, the Palm House is the oldest standing conservatory west of the Mississippi River, and the most historically significant building in Tower Grove Park. The Palm House was built to house the park’s ornamental tropical plants, which decorate the park lawns during the summer and are displayed inside the building during the winter. It was designed by famed architect George I. Barnett in the Italianate style.
Over the years, greenhouse functions moved to other buildings and the building suffered from a prolonged lack of maintenance. In late 1996, the Park’s Board of Commissioners approved a plan to completely renovate the 3,800 square foot interior of this architectural gem, and adapt it for public use once again. A one million dollar campaign provided for complete restoration, including the addition of new heating, cooling and electrical systems allowing for year-round use, day and night. The building was renamed the Piper Palm House in recognition of the principal donors to the project, Vernon W. and Marian K. Piper.
A variety of species of palm trees, plus citrus, sweet olive, ferns and other tender plants line the original red brick walks, and surround the six original marble musicians’ busts that once graced the nearby Music Stand. The Piper Palm House is enhanced with native Missouri stone central flooring, historic-design lighting, an elegant custom-built bar, and the handsome Lichtenstein fountain urn displayed in the center of the gallery.
Outside the front doors, the spacious Stupp Plaza overlooks beautifully landscaped lily ponds.
Seating capacity of the Piper Palm House is a comfortable 150 with use of the provided round tables and chairs. More guests can be accommodated at standing events or with combined use of the building and plaza. A year-round brunch/buffet, Café Madeleine, is offered on Sunday’s from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., and is increasingly popular as a refreshing oasis for park visitors.
The Piper Palm House, with its distinctive architecture, soaring ceiling and stately windows is the perfect venue for any social gathering, whether it be a wedding or a birthday party. The plants, which are permanent fixtures in the building, make it a magnificent and beautiful place to hold a celebration.
Authentic horse-drawn carriage service can be combined with Piper Palm House events for an enjoyable and unique experience.
Comparable to the Kensington Orangery in London or the Pavillion du Lac at Park Buttes-Chaumont in Paris, the Piper Palm House provides an ambiance unlike any in the region.
The Piper Palm House and Stupp Plaza are available for reserved use. For more information, call the Piper Palm House at 314.771.4465.