The Nathan Frank Bandstand, which is surrounded by a moat across from The Muny in Forest Park, was built in 1925 and underwent a major renovation in 1993 by Forest Park Forever. In what is probably remembered by only a few, there was earlier effort undertaken in the early 1980's led by Susie Yoder, who was president of the Central West End Association at the time, and Mary Bartley, who would later serve multiple terms as president of the CWEA. The two neighborhood leaders spearheaded the first renovation of the Bandstand in an effort to demonstrate what the CWEA was all about.
With funds generated from a successful CWEA House Tour, and with substantial assistance from the late Leon Strauss of Pantheon Corporation, and late Gabe Alberici of Alberici Construction Co. (both CWE residents), and plans drawn by architect Bill Yarger, the CWEA set out to do what they could to repair the structure which was in an advanced state of disrepair. The St. Louis Fire Department assisted by mucking out pigeon droppings that were 14" deep; the basement was renovated; the ceiling was painted, and lighting was added. When I spoke to Mary Bartley this afternoon she said that there was criticism of the lighting at the time because it is not "of the period." She explained that the cost of wiring the structure was enormous, and that the light fixtures the two women chose were all they could afford (the same lighting remains to this day).
When the renovation was completed the CWEA held a box-supper picnic to celebrate the occasion. The 70-piece U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America, based at Scott Air Force Base, brought their instruments, including a piano, over a temporary bridge constructed by the Parks Department especially for the concert. Because of the "v" shaped ceiling, the acoustics emanating from the Nathan Frank Bandstand were amazing, according to Mary. I am not sure whether another concert has been held there since, but it's fun to think about, isn't it?