One local enthusiast made good on his promise to keep safeguarding a Pacific park structure that was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a Route 66 highlight.
Wayne Winchester presented a check March 17 for $125 to Pacific city officials to apply toward future restoration work of the Jensens Point Scenic Overlook at 1039 E. Osage St.
Winchester, who owned Jensens Point from 1991 to 2016, composed a 90-page book entitled “Jensens Point: Stop and Reminisce.”
He pledged to donate $1 per copy sold. He bought Jensens Point as part of a package deal for his next-door WINTEC Pharmaceutical business in 1991. He then became so fond of the overlook, he started preserving the historic property.
“Even when it wasn’t open to the public, people stopped at my office and shared stories about going up to the Point when they were kids,” he said.
Winchester said he was so enthralled with the specialness of the spot, he guarded it with his life. He personally ran off trespassing teenagers on more than a few occasions.
One day, however, a person who stopped at his office turned out to be the granddaughter of Lars Peter Jensen, the president of the Watson-Antire Regionway Improvement Association, whose members advocated for roadside beautification through adding plants and trees, regulating businesses and billboards along the highway, and promoting recreational activities in the region.
The group focused on 35 miles of Route 66, from the St. Louis city limits to the Shaw Nature Reserve Arboretum in Gray Summit.
With labor provided by the Bureau of Homeless Men and the State Highway Department, more than 10,000 new trees and shrubs were planted along this stretch of road by 1934.
The property was dedicated to Jensen in 1941, and Winchester said he received a variety of original, historic photos to include in his book from that kind granddaughter.
The property then was purchased in 2016 by city representatives to become Jensen’s Point Park.
“People really love Route 66 items and locations,” said Winchester. He said his book was purchased by people who live as far away as Chicago, New Mexico and even Norway.
The Civilian Conservation Corps completed Jensens Point in 1939. The park closed to the public in the 1990s and reopened in 2016.
Some of the book sales’ proceeds also go to Moving Kids on the Spectrum, a nonprofit whose staff assists families’ self-directing care for advanced diagnostics and treatments for autism spectrum disorders.
To buy copies of the Winchester’s book, call 636-584-1375.