From A History of Missouri from the Earliest Explorations and Settlements until the Admission of the State into the Union by Louis Houck (1908). This is a sketch of the house of Pierre Laclede, the first house built in St. Louis proper, constructed in 1764. The sketch is quite detailed (note the village prison in the building attached to the house), considering that the Laclede House was demolished in 1839-1840 and the sketch was published in 1908. Its walls were 2 1/2 feet thick, and it was built of stone, measuring about 34 by 50 feet. In addition to serving as the residence of Laclede, it was the site of the first St. Louis government offices. It was located on the block defined by 1st and 2nd on the east and west, and Market and Walnut on the north and south.
From A History of Missouri from the Earliest Explorations and Settlements until the Admission of the State into the Union by Louis Houck (1908). This is a sketch of the first Catholic Church in St. Louis, built in 1776 of ash posts supplied by the townsfolk, who also paid a man by the name of Juan Cambas to construct the facility for a sum of 1480 livres (paid in deer skins). The home behind the church was built a bit later (in the mid-1780s) for the parish priest. The original church was built in order to house a bell, cast about 1772; the church was demolished in 1833 to make way for the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (colloquially known as the Old Cathedral).
From History of the St. Louis Medical College by T.G. Waterman (1898). The print is an architectural drawing of the newly constructed medical school building at 1417 Locust Street. The St. Louis Medical College moved into the building after working in a smaller structures at 23rd and Lucas, 10th and Washington, and 7th and Clark (see post on Nov. for a photograph of the structure at 7th and Clark, when the college was known as Pope College). The St. Louis Medical College merged with Washington University in 1891, becoming the latter's medical school. The building lasted a few short years, until the YWCA built the current structure at 1411 Locust in 1911, with a cornerstone-laying ceremony by President William Taft.
From Commercial and Architectural St. Louis by George Washington Orear (1891). The St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons was established in 1869, and was reorganized and reopened in 1879. Its primary building was located at Jefferson and Gamble streets. Regular lecture tuition per course was a mere $50, according to Orear. Orear also prominently mentioned the honorary degree he received from the college; the charter for the colleg was revoked on May 23, 1927 after being charged as a medical diploma mill. It is unclear when the building was demolished.
From Commercial and Architecture St. Louis by George Washington Orear (1891). The Grand Opera House originally opened as the Varieties Theatre in 1852, which was rebuilt with a new facade in 1881. However, the building exploded as a result of a gas fire in 1884, and the Grand Opera House (depicted above) was built in its place at 514 Market Street. The Grand Opera House stood as an opera and vaudeville venue until the 1940s, when it was converted into a burlesque operation. It was well-known for its Moresque exterior and its 2300 seat venue. In 1963, the Grand Theater (as it was then known) was demolished as part of the urban renewal project associated with Busch Stadium.
From Centennial History of Missouri by Walter Stevens (1921); image is from 1904. The Missouri Building at the 1904 World's Fair was constructed of staff, a mixture of plaster of paris and concrete. The state buildings were on Government Hill, now the site of the World's Fair Pavilion (built in 1909 using proceeds from the Fair, and often mistaken as an original fair building). The Missouri Building burned and was demolished in November 1904.
From Commercial and Architectural St. Louis by George Washington Orear (1891), a print of Hagan Theater (then under construction) at Tenth and Pine. Orear writes that the lobby of the Hagan was 40 feet wide and 40 feet high with a glass domed roof. The floor was "laid with mosaic tiling, while just ahead will be seen two solid marble staircases, uniting on a turn and ascending to a balcony." The location of the Hagan is now the site of a surface parking lot.
From St. Louis, The Fourth City by Walter Stevens (1911). The photograph is a particularly early image of the then-new Municipal Courts Building. The building was used for decades until the construction of the new Federal Courts Building in St. Louis, at which time the city moved its government offices into the old Federal Courts Building. The current arrangement leaves the Municipal Courts Building in mothball status; as one commenter said on Urban Review STL, "With Kiel and Municipal Courts remaining vacant it gives that stretch of downtown an Athens Acropolis look or Roman ruins - artifacts of some earlier culture."
Earlier culture indeed.
Earlier culture indeed.
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This isn't the usual fare; instead, I created a Google Earth overlay (available here) to demonstrate the extent of Chouteau's Pond and Mill Creek during the 1850s. Chouteau's Pond was a distinct feature of St. Louis until it was gradually filled in with garbage and dirt during the Civil War and Reconstruction. By the early 1880s, virtually nothing was left of the pond.
From United States Bureau of Education: American Schoolhouses by Fletcher Dresslar (1910). Photograph is of Soldan High School, constructed in 1909 and designed by William Ittner. Note the streetcar tracks in the foreground street. The final cost for construction was $630,244. The building is still in use as a magnet high school, named Soldan International Studies High School.
From A Tour of St. Louis by J.A. Dacus and James Buel (1878). In another fine print, Dacus and Buel show off the St. Louis Insane Asylum, which provides "amply and elegantly for the accomodation and care of this unfortunate class of her population, a large proportion of whom have foisted as a charge upon the resources of the city by dishonorable country officials." The St. Louis Insane Asylum was built in 1869, and it remains in use as a state-run care facility. Built St. Louis has a great series of photographs and more information on the structure [here].
From A Tour of St. Louis by J.A. Dacus and James Buel (1878). St. Louis Hospital at Montgomery and Grand Ave., constructed as a replacement for the Catholic hospital at 4th and Spruce. Dacus and Buel describe the hospital as "well-ventilated" and "spacious."
From United States Bureau of Education: American Schoolhouses by Fletcher Dresslar (1910). Photograph is of Sumner High School, constructed in 1908 and designed by William Ittner. Dresslar reports that the construction of Sumner "is especially noteworthy in that the construct price was lower than [Ittner's] estimate." The final cost for construction was $297,823. The building is still in use as Sumner High School.
From Centennial History of Missouri by Walter Stevens (1921); image is pre-1920. The Jefferson Memorial was constructed in 1913 using the profits of the 1904 World's Fair. The building remains in use as the Missouri History Museum.
From Centennial History of Missouri by Walter Stevens (1921); image is of Washington University in St. Louis in 1861. Washington University held its first classes in 1856 at Washington Ave. and 17th Street, and later moved to its present location near Forest Park in the 1890s.
The preceding story was printed in the April 11, 1874 edition of the New York Times (available for free online); the crime occurred at 817 Morgan Street (renamed Convention Plaza/Delmar Boulevard). Fortmeyer was sentenced to 10 years in the state penitentiary, from which she escaped shortly thereafter (I could find no record of her capture). 817 Convention Plaza is now the site of a Holiday Inn.
From Centennial History of Missouri by Walter Stevens (1921); image is dated pre-Civil War. McDowell College was located at the former intersection of Ninth and Cerre streets, now occupied by a large parking lot. McDowell was built originally as a medical college according to designs by its founder with provisions for "defense against mobs" according to Stevens. McDowell College later moved to Eighth and Gratiot (see Christian Brothers College), which in turn was used as a Civil War prison.
From Commercial and Architectural St. Louis by D.G. Jones (1891). Tony Faust Restaurant was among the finest restaurants in the city, located at the corner of Broadway and Elm Street (currently a vacant construction site and formerly the site of Busch Stadium). Faust was the first location in the city to have electric lighting (using arc lamp technology from the 1904 World's Fair) and was famed for its rooftop garden area.
From Commercial and Architectural St. Louis by D.G. Jones (1891). The Globe-Democrat Building, located at Sixth and Pine, was constructed in 1891 and was "equipped with all the latest appliances for modern journalism," according to Jones.
From Commercial and Architectural St. Louis and East St. Louis by D.G. Jones (1891). St. Louis City Hall as it appeared new (construction began in 1890 and finished in 1893). Building is still in use as the city hall, although the tower was removed in 1936.
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From St. Louis: The Fourth City 1764-1911 by Walter Stevens (1911). The image is of the second campus of Christian Brothers College, located at Gratiot and Eighth from 1851 to 1882 (note the early steam locomotive on the still-extant tracks).
From St. Louis: The Fourth City 1764-1911 by Walter Stevens (1911). The image is of the second campus of Saint Louis University (then College), located at Washington and Ninth from 1829 to 1867. The site currently is occupied by the America's Center convention center.
From St. Louis: The Fourth City 1764-1911 by Walter Stevens (1911). The image is of the wholesale district shops located near the riverfront prior the area's demolition in the 1930s and 1940s for the Arch grounds.
From Architectural Record "Notes and Comments" article about William Ittner's St. Louis school building designs (1908). Cote Brilliante School is still in operation as Cote Brilliante Elementary at 2616 Cora Ave., St. Louis, Mo.