Studio of J.C. Strauss at 3514 Franklin Avenue, 1899

From the Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). In this image, we see the castle of Mr. J.C. Strauss, St. Louis photographer. He had this building custom designed as his studio, located at 3514 Franklin Avenue (near enough to Vandeventer Place to be the darling of the city's elites). Although it burned in the first year of the 20th century (after being built in 1896), the building was lovingly rebuilt in much the same style. Today, the site is a parking lot.

17 Westmoreland Place, 1902

From "Palaces of St. Louis," National Magazine (Volume 17, October 1902). The home of John T. Davis at 17 Westmoreland was described as a "red granite chateau" by Mr. Hoch in the National Magazine. 17 Westmoreland was more than a mere chateau, however. It boasted of being the first Missouri home to be landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead when built in 1894. The home was and remained the most expensive ever built on the street, and possibly was the most expensive home ever built in St. Louis. Julius Hunter et al in Westmoreland and Portland Places note that the "cutting of the pink granite alone would have cost a fortune."

Update: In 1894, 17 Westmoreland's construction costs exceeded $800,000. In the spirit of determining the price of the home in today's dollars, I found that using the GDP deflator, the cost of the building would have slightly exceeded $18.5 million. Using the Consumer Price Index, the home would cost approximately $21 million. Only one home is on the market in the St. Louis metropolitan area that exceeds a $10 million price; no other homes have sold in the last 60 days for greater than $10 million. The current estimated value of 17 Westmoreland is around $1.3 million, which is, considering construction costs, quite the bargain.

Later, the home was inhabited by Dwight Davis, the namesake for the Davis Cup tennis championship. In a stroke of tragedy, the masterwork was not seen or long inhabited by designer or patron - original homeowner John Davis died of Bright's disease in 1894, while the architect died the previous year. However, the home is now in the capable hands of Mrs. Mary Strauss, the owner and restorer of the Fox Theatre.

Lionberger Building (Warehouse), ca. 1890

From the Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). The Architectural Club sponsored a yearly exhibit in which architects from across the country were invited to display their most prominent subjects or recent buildings. St. Louis buildings featured prominently in the catalog. Above is the Lionberger Building (Warehouse), designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge from designs by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1887-1888.

The building was executed quite nicely from Richardson's plans, and fronted Washington Avenue, but extended down 8th Street to St. Charles Avenue; the warehouse extended west along Washington to about midblock. Tragically, this masterwork was gutted by fire in 1896, too late for another Richardsonian Romanesque temple of commerce to be erected in its place. It was one of only a handful of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge or Richardson commercial buildings to be built in St. Louis. Within decades, the site was occupied by the building that now serves as the Renaissance Grand Hotel.

A description of the fire from the Middleville Sun (Mich.) in 1896:

Ely-Walker Dry Goods Co. Burned Out
Loss $1,500,000.

Fire Monday gutted the mammoth seven-story granite building at the southwest corner of 8th street and Washington avenue, St. Louis, Mo., occupied by the Ely-Walker Dry Goods Company. The loss will be close to $1,500,000. One human life was sacrificed and several people were hurt.

The fire was one of the worst the St.Louis department has had to cope withfor a long time, and for a while it looked as though the Washington Avenue wholesale business district would be wiped out.

The building burned was known as the Lionberger Building. It fronted on Washington Avenue, running north along 8th Street to St. Charles, and extended west on Washington Avenue to the middle of the block. The firm's enormous stock of goods was recently increased by immense purchases from the East, and consequently every inch of available floor space was occupied by great piles of dry goods of every description for the spring trade.

The insurance on the stock is about $1,000,000. The building was insured for $200,000. It was owned by the John Lionberger estate and was built about eight years ago at a cost of $500,000. Before the blaze was mastered one fireman, George Gaultwald, was killed by a falling wall at the 8th Street end of the building, and during the fire several other firemen were more or less seriously injured.

Bell Telephone Building, 1889

From American Architect and Building News (January 1889). The American Architect was a marvelous trade magazine that included multitudes of sketches of buildings then under construction, in planning, or recently built. This sketch depicts the Bell Telephone Building (also known as the S.G. Adams Building) in a heliotype print from its designers, Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge. According to Built St. Louis, this firm was a successor to the recently deceased Henry Hobson Richardson, noted in earlier posts. The Bell Telephone Building has survived and thrived in recent years as the home of City Gourmet (City Grocer) and as a loft residential building.

For recent photographs, visit Built St. Louis:

5065 Lindell Boulevard, 1902

From "Palaces of St. Louis," National Magazine (Volume 17, October 1902). The caption reads, "A Marble Palace in Forest Park Terrace, the Residence of Mr. C.S. Hills." So far I have not yet found the location for the home, excepting that Forest Park Terrace was at times another name for Lindell Boulevard facing Forest Park. Another photograph of the home is in American Architect and Building News (May 1900), which lists C.S. Hills as Colonel Charles S. Hills. The Missouri Historical Society has a photograph of the home, ca. 1899. Civil War records show that Colonel Hills was a commander of Iowan regiments during that terrible conflict.

Update: I have located Colonel Hills' house. It was located at 5065 Lindell Boulevard, and has been demolished and is now a vacant lot. It appears that Colonel Hills' garage is now part of 16 Westmoreland Place, as 5065 was absorbed into an expanded Westmoreland plot and an extant building remains on what would have been the site. See the St. Louis Assessor's records for the plot.

Portland Place, 1900

From "Palaces of St. Louis," National Magazine (Volume 17, October 1902). This expansive view of Portland Place shows Frederick Wellington Ruckstuhl's Mercure s'amuse (Mercury Amusing Himself) in the center median.

27 Vandeventer Place, 1890

From Whitehall Buick's Photostream (2009). The image depicts the home of John R. Lionberger at 27 Vandeventer Place, since demolished. The home was designed by the famous Henry Hobson Richardson of Boston in 1886, and the home was finished by 1888. The Lionberger family was related to Richardson via marriage. Richardson's designs are renowned; however, the home of John Lionberger was among his final designs. Tragically for St. Louis, Richardson designed only three homes in the area, and only one remains (the Issac H. Lionberger house at 3630 Grandel Square). Interestingly, the home at 3630 Grandel Square was of an unfinished design; Richardson passed away from a kidney disorder while working on the plans.

For more information on Henry Hobson Richardson:

For a Bing Bird's Eye View of the only extant Richardson home in St. Louis:

For the Google Earth Vandeventer Place Pack:

40 Vandeventer Place, 1887 and 1902

From "Palaces of St. Louis," National Magazine (Volume 17, October 1902). The home of Mr. Henry Clay Pierce on Vandeventer Place, now lost to demolition. The home was said to have cost in excess of $800,000 when built for the oil magnate in the mid-1880s. Pierce fought a losing battle against Standard Oil for control of both the Mexican Fuel Company and the Waters-Pierce Oil Company in the early 1900s. Another view of the home in sketch form from The American Architect and Building News (July 1887):

A colorized original version of the above sketch from 1887 is available for viewing or purchase on St. Croix Architecture at

4510 Lindell Boulevard, 1902

From "Palaces of St. Louis," National Magazine (Volume 17, October 1902). The home of Mr. William F. Nolker at 4510 Lindell Boulevard was listed as "A Rhine Inspiration on Lindell Boulevard" according to Mr. Hoch; it currently serves as the home for the archbishop of St. Louis. Nolker built the home in 1891, died in 1906, and the home was sold to a new family in 1917. Shortly after buying the home, Mr. and Mrs. Julius Walsh created -- wait for it -- the cocktail party. Mrs. Walsh hired a professional drink mixer to provide cocktails in the backyard and lower levels to entertain her and some 50 guests before dinner. Yet, however socially successful the Walsh family might have been, they eventually sold the mansion to none other than the archdiocese in 1923. It has served since then in the capacity as the home of the archbishop of St. Louis, and even played host to Pope John Paul II in 1999.

For more information, see

1 Westmoreland Place, 1902

From "Palaces of St. Louis," National Magazine (Volume 17, October 1902). The above photograph is of 1 Westmoreland Place, with the caption of "An Italian Palace; the residence of Mr. J.C. Van Blarcom, 1 Westmoreland Place". Other homes in subsequent posts rely on the following information: A certain Mr. Edmund Hoch with photography by Mr. George Stark produced a fabulous trove of information about the residential masterpieces of early 20th century St. Louis. As Mr. Hoch explained, "St. Louis has, as stated, palaces -- palaces of a kind that would enrich and beautify the world -- palaces with palace grounds and palace surroundings -- the like of which, in number and richness and beauty of setting, the country outside St. Louis has little idea of." Although not every home was identified with its address, I have attempted to track down those which were not listed. Each home in the article included its owner, which often assists in finding the location.

Wydown Boulevard, 1917

From Problems of St. Louis (1917). Double streetcar tracks lined by trees down the center of the boulevard on Wydown. Currently the center strip is a walking path.

Lindell and Locust, 1917

From Problems of St. Louis (1917), a report from the City Plan Association. The "Lindell Cut Off", as it was called, was a street connection made from Locust Street (shown above) to Lindell Boulevard (apparently "quite popular" according to the CPA). In the photograph above, Locust Street continues west on the right, while the Lindell Cut Off is the street at left. The Cut Off was created in 1915, but has subsequently been in-filled with parking for the building at the diagonal. The building with the signage and towers in the center (at the diagonal) still stands, but lacks its ornamentation. Here is a current view via Bing Maps:

On Rapid Growth of St. Louis, 1907

From A City Plan for St. Louis (1907), "[By 1937], the city will contain a population of a million and three-quarter inhabitants, and the limits of the city will no doubt include Webster, Kirkwood, Clayton, University City, and a number of other suburban towns." City planners should avoid having no doubts about the future, it seems.

River Des Peres Plans, 1907

From A City Plan for St. Louis (1907). This cross-section of the River Des Peres included roadways and streetcar lines, with lovely shrubbery and trees. The Civic League also advocated purchasing hundreds of acres of low-lying land near the River Des Peres, both to facilitate landscaping but also to avoid flood damage. How prescient.

Views of Kingshighway, 1907

From A City Plan for St. Louis (1907). The top image depicts the southern terminus of Kingshighway, near Caldwell Street, along the Mississippi River. The lower image is Kingshighway as it looked along Forest Park (on the left) with its characteristic boulevard landscaping already in place by 1907. The absence of gridlock, dozens of traffic signals, and the skyline of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital is stark.
A few interesting points about the image at top: first, Kingshighway Boulevard no longer exists at this location. The initial plan for the city suggested that Kingshighway would extend from its current roadway, then jog southeast at what is now Bellerive Boulevard. Bellerive for many years was known as Kingshighway South, or some variant of that name. However, with the building of Interstate 55 and other issues, the linking of Bellerive as an integral portion of Kingshighway faltered and then disappeared.

Cabanne Neighborhood, 1907

From A City Plan for St. Louis (1907). A lovely photograph of the final days before the automobile dominated St. Louis neighborhoods. Here, a horse-drawn carriage moves down tree-lined streets in the Cabanne neighborhood. The Civic League was emphasizing the beauty of narrow roadways, ample trees, and wide sidewalks. For a photograph tour, visit:

Mullanphy Park, 1907

From A City Plan for St. Louis (1907). The two photographs depict dozens, if not hundreds, of children playing at the Mullanphy Park Playground and Garden, then being leased by the city from the Mullanphy family. Later purchased by the city for a public park, it no longer seems quite as vibrant, but soon might in light of recent developments in the area. The park is extant at 10th and Mullanphy in Old North St. Louis.

Franklin and Grand Avenues, 1908

From Comfort Stations for St. Louis (1908). Again from the Civic League, a view of what might have been. Here is the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Franklin Avenue, slightly north of Grand Center. The Civic League suggested a mighty monument to St. Ange (Captain Louis St. Ange de Bellerive), the first French commandant of St. Louis. St. Ange established a proper government at St. Louis in 1766 when he arrived, and he created the first official system of land grants for the area. Interestingly, underneath the monument to St. Ange would have been a system of lavatories. The message being sent by putting St. Ange atop a large public toilet is, at the very least, intriguing.

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Post Office Building, 1908

From Public Comfort Stations for St. Louis (1908), a report from the Civic League of St. Louis. This depicts proposed public toilets in underground areas next to the Post Office Building at 815 Olive Street. The Civic League was a great proponent of public restroom facilities, and, as stated in the caption, it believed that the ample sidewalk space provided room for stairwells into underground toilet areas.

Deville Motor Hotel, 2009

A view of the Deville Motor Hotel, host of swanky parties and loving apartments for the elderly, from Postmodern Sleaze's Photostream (2009). Goodbye, beautiful. You did your best. I'll miss you.

St. Louis City Hall, 1904

From The World's Fair, St. Louis, U.S.A., 1904 (1904). Again from Mr. Reid, here is St. Louis City Hall from an interesting angle. Keeping in mind that the building was constructed in 1894, it is fascinating to see it surrounded by new landscaping, wide sidewalks, and virtually no surrounding structures. The open grass, landscaping, and trees have been replaced with a particularly splendid parking facility.

View of Broadway and Olive, 1904

From The World's Fair, St. Louis, U.S.A., 1904 (1904). This splendid booklet from Robert Allan Reid is a wonderful compendium of images of the fair and of St. Louis from more than a century ago. Reid chose Broadway (looking toward the intersection with Olive) for inclusion among the images as a typical scene on St. Louis downtown streets. None of the buildings, streetcar lines, or telephone wires are extant.