The land that is now Bee Tree County Park was previously owned by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company founder, Eugene Nims. In 1929, Nims hired the foremost St. Louis architectural firm at the time, Maritz & Young to design the mansion that was used as a weekend retreat. He and his wife, Lotawana Flateau called the 192-acre estate “Bee Tree Farm.”
The home is still standing today and is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. It was also Nims who established the extensive gardens that are a favorite feature of visitors to Bee Tree Park. Nims passed away on January 30, 1954.
When the Nims mansion went on the market, Lindell Gordon, a St. Louis businessman and trust officer for The Mississippi Valley Trust Company, approached Walston Chubb to help him raise the funds to purchase the land. Chubb was not only a noted St. Louis attorney but was also a leader in preserving open space in the metropolitan area and was founder of the St. Louis Area Open Space Council, a voluntary citizen’s organization. Together the men raised $197,000 through the Open Space Foundation and along with matching funds from the federal government, they were able to purchase the land and give it to St. Louis County for use as a park. The park was opened to the public in fall of 1973 and was dedicated in April 1974.
At the time the park was purchased, Lindell Gordon was fatally ill. A memorial garden now bears his name as well as a memorial fountain with the inscription, “The imprint of a dying leaf is wondrous to behold.” The park also features an overlook and a pavilion which are dedicated to Chubb.
Additional park amenities include a 10-acre lake that overlooks the Mississippi River and is stocked by the Missouri Department of Conservation, a playground, five trails, 11 picnic sites and two picnic shelters. The Lindell Gordon Memorial Garden and Walston Chubb Memorial Overlook are included as one of St. Louis County Parks’ beautiful outdoor wedding sites available for rental.
Bee Tree Park is included in the Mississippi River Greenway.