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Eldridge Lovelace, a designer of St. Louis arch grounds, dies

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 | 12:27 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — Eldridge Lovelace, a retired urban planner who helped design the Gateway Arch grounds, died Friday at a St. Louis hospital from complications of surgery. He was 95 and lived in suburban University City.

Lovelace worked in the firm of the late Harland Bartholomew, an engineer who was described as the father of city planning and who advised cities around the country.

Lovelace argued that cities weren't serving their inhabitants and predicted the interstate highway system would result in massive urban sprawl.

He once wrote that urban design should combine small "cells" into neighborhoods and then into districts, which then combine to form the metropolis.

"The objective is an arrangement that permits the individual to know who he is and where he fits into the life of the city," he wrote.

Lovelace oversaw the design of the 90-acre grounds surrounding the Gateway Arch, which was completed in 1965. His firm proposed a walkway over the nearby highway to allow pedestrians a path directly from the grounds to downtown. It was never built but remains an issue today.

"People liked the plan, but the National Park Service didn't want to do it — it wasn't in their budget,'' Malcolm Drummond, a retired partner of Lovelace, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Lovelace was born in Kansas City, Kan., and received a degree in landscape architecture at the University of Illinois.

He spent his entire 46-year career with Bartholomew's firm and retired in 1981.

Lovelace's wife of 66 years, Marjorie Van Evera Lovelace, died in 2005. He is survived by two children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at the First Unitarian Church in St. Louis. His ashes will be scattered in the church's memorial garden, which Lovelace designed.


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