Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hidden Gem: Laumeier Art Hike and the Hedenkamp Estate

Taking advantage of the tiny window between my oldest's final day of high school and graduation...

... I stole a couple of hours from my work schedule to sneak off to Laumeier Sculpture Park with he and the pup.  

Few people know that the main grounds of Laumeier are surrounded by miles of gorgeous wooded trails with hidden art installations scattered throughout.  Besides being a shady spot to escape for a workout on a warm day... the element of surprise is oh-too-fun.  You never know what you will bump in to.  It is like one big treasure hunt!

The most intriguing spot on the Art Walk Trail for me?

Hands down, Pool Complex: Orchard Valley, 1983–85 by artist, MARY MISS (AMERICAN, BORN 1944). The NE edge of Laumeier Park contains the remaining artifacts of an old neighboring estate that was known as "Orchard Valley".

The ultimate architectural graveyard!
Per the Henry Shaw Ozark Corridor website, this area was once a cow pasture and stock pond. In the early 19th century, the Hedenkamp Family built a sizable house and converted the existing natural spring pond into a stone and concrete swimming pool. An article titled "Old Pond Converted Into A Delightful Swimming Pool" was published in the August 4, 1934 edition of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat highlighted the project.

I scoured the Internet for a photo of the pool during its heyday.  While I found numerous references to soirees and events held there, no photos found. 

While the house is long gone, some foundation and the artifacts of the pool remain.  During the early 1980's, artist Mary Miss built decking and trellises of treated lumber around the stone pool depression and remaining foundations to create her work titled Pool Complex: Orchard Valley.

Per the Laumeier website:  Miss highlights the ruins of the estate while we explore her pavilions, platforms and staircases surrounding the pool. With the renewal of this dormant structure, and the purposefully evident aging of her own site work, the artist brings attention to the context of history and the continuum of time.

I can't begin to describe the feeling you get as you walk the pool and area.  It is eerie and haunting.  You truly feel lost in time and leave with the overwhelming longing for it to be filled back up.  Maybe some day. 🙂
Very cool "hidden gem" indeed.  See more of my local hidden gems HERE.

Visit and connect with Laumeier Sculpture Park...

12580 Rott Road

Saint Louis, Missouri 63127