Wildwood is city of 68 square miles featuring beautiful panoramic views and scenery. Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Wildwood sits at the doorstep of metropolitan St. Louis, blending a touch of city and country living unmatched in the St. Louis region. Wildwood is steeped in educational excellence, character, and natural beauty. Our community offers a diverse mix of residential and business settings, as well as being home to highly rated and recognized schools. We proudly preserve our rich history while we build Wildwood’s future through vision and planning.
Babler State Park (formally, Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park) is a state-managed public recreation area located in the northwest section of the city of Wildwood. A large bronze statue of Dr. Babler greets park visitors. The state park’s 2,441 acres offer opportunities for hiking, picnicking, bicycling, horseback riding, and camping. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
The park was created in memory of Edmund A. Babler, who was born on October 11, 1874, in Appleton City, Missouri. He graduated from Missouri Medical College, now known as Washington University Medical School, in 1898, became a general surgeon, developed a large private practice in St. Louis. The stories say that he spent the majority of his time devoting himself to charity cases and took much pride in his work for the unfortunate. His premature death at age 55 from pneumonia was a source of great sadness for his admirers and family. His funeral was one of the largest ever held in St. Louis.
Moved by the public sympathy and respect, Edmund’s brother Jacob L. Babler began searching for a way to preserve his brother’s memory. Being a successful business graduate from St. Louis Law School, known today as Washington University, he had extensive investments in farm land and real estate. On August 20, 1930, Jacob Babler and his younger brother Henry Babler gave 868 acres of land to the State of Missouri, to be named the Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State park. These were difficult and trying times in the world, and although they continued to give more land to the state between 1934 and 1936, Jacob had to seek the help of friend John J. Cochran, Congressman, in order to obtain federal aid for the state in order to develop the park. This aid came in the form of designating two Civilian Conservation Camps (CCC) to be stationed within the park to develop the property. With the help of Conrad Wirth, Director of the National Park System, plans were developed to establish a trust fund that would support construction, maintenance, and operations at the park. A state bill was passed to formally accept the land and was signed by Governor Lloyd Stark on June 23, 1937. The park was formally dedicated on October 1, 1938 at a ceremony in which Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, spoke before an assembly of 3,500 guests. This was when the statue of Dr. Babler was unveiled in its current location.
Jacob Babler continued throughout the rest of his life to support the park dedicated to his brother, and the Missouri State Park system as a whole. He sponsored a proposal before the Constitution Convention of 1944, resulting in a fund developed to earmark $400,000 a year for 15 years to be used to acquire and develop additional land in the Missouri State Park System. Overcoming the lull of park development during the Great Depression and World War II, some of our most popular Missouri State Parks were acquired and developed between 1946 and 1960. Jacob L. Babler’s support of the park system earned him the title of “Father of Missouri’s State Parks.”
Rockwoods Reservation is a 1,843 acres (746 ha) state forest and wildlife conservation area in St. Louis County, Missouri. It was established in 1938, making it one of the oldest Missouri Department of Conservation areas.
Being located close to a major urban area and in a rapidly developing suburban area increases its significance as a nature reserve. Rockwoods supports a diverse array of native plant and animal life and contains geologically interesting rock formations and ecologically important springs and caves. Rockwoods Reservation is not a pristine wilderness untouched by human hands, however; remnants of extensive former limestone, clay and gravel quarrying operations are hidden in the dense second growth hardwood forest. Most of the original forest was clearcut to feed lime kilns.
Rockwoods Reservation adjoins St. Louis County’s 1,724 acres Greensfelder County Park to the south, which itself abuts the state’s 1,388 acres (562 ha) Rockwoods Range Conservation Area. Taken together, these three parcels constitute a contiguous green belt of almost 5,000 acres. The 14.5-mile Greenrock Trail is a hiking trail that crosses all three areas with one terminus in Rockwoods Reservation.
There are six trails in Rockwoods Reservation:
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