In 1957, Steinberg Pavilion and Rink opened for the winter season in Forest Park, St. Louis. Inspired by a trip to Wollman Rink in New York City's Central Park, Etta Steinberg returned home with the desire to create an equally charming winter attraction for the St. Louis community. The philanthropically-minded Steinberg family of St. Louis donated most of the funding towards building what would become the Midwest's largest outdoor rink; $600,000 of the $1 million cost to build the project was donated by Etta to honor her late husband, Mark Steinberg. Architect Frederick Dunn designed the rink and pavilion, built into Forest Park's historic River Des Peres topography.
Since its opening, the rink has provided ice skating memories for individuals and families, holding a nostalgic place in cultural memory. Many reminisce about the venue being the go-to place to ice skate in decades past, which also underwent experimentation during summer months with various activities, including shuffleboard, volleyball, square dancing, and roller skating.
In 2019, for the first time in nearly two decades, Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis began discussions to revitalize the complex and surrounding grounds as an extension of the Forest Park Master Plan that was approved in 1995. The project's vision reimagines the Steinberg area as a place for all-season fun that is equitably, environmentally, and economically sustainable and inspires a variety of structured and unstructured activities that are welcoming to all. The current design plan is the result of feedback from more than 3,300 people through stakeholder interviews, online surveys, social media outreach, and in-person open houses to gather community input.
Many envision the future of the site to include enhanced green spaces, food and beverage kiosks, café seating areas, seasonal attractions, water features, and—of course—an improved rink showpiece to be used year-round. The design team is currently creating conceptual designs to present in a community roadshow in Fall 2022.