St. Louis Beyond the Arch

This tour starts at the Gateway Arch and includes a variety of monuments, historic buildings, and other sites designed to give a representative look at the history of St. Louis. While the tour only includes a fraction of the museums and landmarks in the city, it concludes at the City Museum.

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Gateway Arch, St. Louis
The Gateway Arch is a monument to western expansion and is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial which pays tribute to the Louisiana Purchase. Intended to revitalize the crumbling St. Louis riverfront, city boosters envisioned a memorial park and monument as early as 1933. Construction began in 1963 and the arch was completed in 1965. At 630 feet, the Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. It is also the world's tallest arch.
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Basilica of St. Louis, King of France - The Old Cathedral
The Basilica of St. Louis King of France, affectionately known as the Old Cathedral, was the first cathedral west of the Mississippi River and until 1845 the first and only parish church in the city of St. Louis. The church was founded in 1770. It sits just west of the Gateway Arch and is surrounded by the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial grounds. It is the oldest building still standing in the city of St. Louis that remains in the hands of its original owner.
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Dred and Harriet Scott Statue
On April 6, 1846, a slave named Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, sued for their freedom from their slave owner Irene Emerson in the St. Louis’ Old Courthouse. The case itself spanned nine years, and at its conclusion saw the decision favor of Ms. Emerson by way of retaining the services of Dred and Harriet Scott. The Supreme Court decided the case in 1857; Chief Justice Roger B. Taney announced the decision in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford. He stated that Americans of African ancestry were not eligible to be citizens, based on the historical claim that they "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." This meant that Americans of African descent, whether free or slave, were not American citizens and could not sue in federal court. Furthermore, The Court also made clear its intentions to uphold slavery in the United States by ruling that Congress lacked power to ban slavery. Finally, the Court declared that the rights of slave owners were constitutionally protected by the Fifth Amendment because slaves were categorized as property. As a result, the issue of slavery further divided the North from the South and thus expediting the start of the Civil War. It is therefore believe that this case is one of the most important ever to be tried in the United States. On the south lawn of the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, the Dred and Harriet Scott Statue depicts the pair as close, holding their heads high, hands held together for loving support. This was a trying time for the Scott's, a time which would test their character and resolve.
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Old Courthouse - Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
The Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis is one of America’s most important historic sites. The courthouse used to be a combination of a federal and a state courthouse. The courthouse building was the tallest building in Missouri until 1896, when Union Station was built. Today it is one of the centerpieces in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, together with the mighty Gateway Arch. It features restored courtrooms, a decorated dome, Dioramas, the "Gateway To The West" film and galleries depicting the history of St. Louis. Over the past 150 years, Old Courthouse remained as one of the St. Louis’ most prominent architectural landmarks.
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American Hotel and Theatre Building (St. Louis, 1907-1953)
Constructed in 1907, this thirteen-story "skyscraper" was once the pride of downtown St. Louis with its ornate lobby, luxury hotel, and the city's most prestigious theater. The theater discontinued the practice of booking vaudeville acts shortly after completion in favor of Broadway touring acts and other high-brow entertainment, boasting that the American Theatre was "only legitimate theater" in the city. The hotel offered 275 rooms and hosted American presidents such as Harry S. Truman.
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The Wainwright Building
The Wainwright Building at 709 Chestnut Street is a 10-story, steel frame, red brick office building constructed in 1890-1891 and still operational today. It was designed by the distinguished American architect Louis Sullivan in collaboration with his partner Dankmar Adler. It was built for a wealthy St. Louis brewer, Ellis Wainwright, and named for him. Though not, of course, especially tall by today's standards, the building was one of the first American skyscrapers and was one of the reasons Sullivan came to be called "The Father of Skyscrapers." It was in an article describing this building and his artistic intentions for it that Sullivan coined the famous phrase "form... follows function." The building has received widespread critical and popular acclaim since it was first constructed and it has been called a "highly influential prototype of the modern office building." Sullivan's protégé, Frank Lloyd Wright, said that it was "the very first human expression of a tall steel office-building as Architecture." It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in May 1968, and is currently owned by the State of Missouri.
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Ambassador Theatre
Ambassador Theater Building was a seventeen- story office building incorporating a six- story theater. Ambassador Theatre was the first six story luxury movie palace downtown St. Louis, originally constructed with three thousand seats, and reported at the opening in 1926 to be the most costly theater built to that date. The building was designed by Chicago architects C. W. and George L. Rapp, in French Renaissance style. Anchoring the corner of Seventh and Locust Streets in the heart of the Central Business District, the building completed Seventh Street's prestigious corridor of office buildings which began development with the Wainwright Building two blocks south of the Ambassador.
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The Arcade Building, St. Louis
When it was completed in 1913, the Arcade Building offered a grand two-level indoor shopping space (known as an "arcade" in the early 20th century) from Olive Street to Pine Street. These arcades were located in every major city and offered a grand shopping concourse, a precursor to the shopping malls of the late 20th century in some regards. The St. Louis Arcade wowed visitors to the city with its ornate entrances and vaulted ceilings that featured tiled roofs and chandeliers. Above these two stories, the Arcade Building features two towers that housed offices for decades before the building fell onto hard times along with other historic downtown buildings. The building was renovated in 2015 and is now an apartment buildings for artists (at cheaper rates) and others. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
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The Old Post Office (St. Louis)
Located on an entire city block in downtown St. Louis, the Old Post Office (sometimes known as the United States Customhouse and Post Office), dedicated in 1884, was one of five grand Federal buildings ordered constructed in the aftermath of the Civil War. (The other four buildings were located in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati – none of them are still standing.) The St. Louis building was designed by architect Alfred B. Mullet in the Second Empire Style (the same style as that of the Louvre in Paris), and is one of the few remaining buildings in that style. It housed not only the Post Office and the Custom House, but a wide array of government offices. In 1957, the building was declared surplus property by the Federal government. Threatened with demolition, it was saved by a public-private partnership established near the end of the 20th Century. The Old Post Office eventually became a mixed-use facility (which it remains today), in which governmental organizations and private enterprises share use of the building. It was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
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Century Building, St. Louis (1896-2004)
The Century Building was a ten-story neo-Classical building that stood across from the Old Post Office in St. Louis, Missouri. Constructed in 1896, it was used as retail space, offices, and a 1,600-seat theater. Noteworthy tenants included Kinloch Telephone, the Equal Suffrage League, and the St. Louis branch of the White Star Line. It gradually fell into disuse during the second half of the twentieth century, like many buildings in the downtown area. In the early 2000s the Century Building became the source of much controversy over plans to demolish it and build a parking garage in its place. Despite petitions and lawsuits, the Century Building was demolished in October 2004. Today the 9th Street Garage stands in its place, providing parking space for downtown businesses.
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Bell Telephone Building, St. Louis
This historic building was constructed as the St. Louis headquarters of the Bell Telephone Company in 1899.
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Orpheum Theater
This handsome theater was built in 1917 by St. Louis millionaire Louis Cella. Architect Albert Lansburgh designed the building in the Beaux Arts style. As such both the interior and exterior are highly decorative. The theater, which can seat 1,500 people, operated as a venue for vaudeville acts until 1930, when Warner Brothers bought and converted into a movie theater. By that time, the popularity of vaudeville acts was in decline; movies began to take over as a major form of entertainment in theaters. The Orpheum reopened in 1960 as the American Theater and became a performance venue. Artists such as Pearl Jam and Alicia Keys performed here. Real estate developers Michael and Steve Roberts eventually bought the theater, invested money into renovation, and changed the name to the Roberts Orpheum Theater. In 2012, they sold it to another developer, UrbanStreet Group, which then sold it to the current owners, Jubilee World, which presents Christian-themed music, in 2016.
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Sit-ins at the Stix, Baer, and Fuller Department Store, 1949-54
The St. Louis Chapter of CORE led sit-ins throughout the city between 1949 and 1951. The sit-ins that attempted to integrate the lunch counter at Stix, Baer, and Fuller were the largest of these protests. Continued
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Christ Church Cathedral (St. Louis)
Christ Church Cathedral is an Episcopal church which was constructed at its present location beginning in 1859, with the opening service held in 1867. (The eight-year delay was primarily due to the Civil War.) It was designed by New York-based architect Leopold Eidlitz in the Gothic Revival style, emulating the style of the English 14th Century. It is constructed in a cruciform (i.e., cross-shaped) plan and is made of Illinois sandstone; a tower and porch made of Indiana limestone were added by 1912. The interior of the cathedral is most renowned for four features: the steel church bells, dating from 1912; the large combination pipe and electronic organ, built in 1965; its imposing stained-glass windows; and the sculpted wall rising over 30 feet behind the main altar, called the reredos. The cathedral still functions as a local parish, as well as a diocesan seat. The structure was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
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Central Branch, St. Louis Public Library
Constructed in 1912 at the location of the former St. Louis Louis Exposition and Music Hall, this grand library has served as the central branch of the public library system for over a century. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks of the city and underwent a major renovation project that was completed in 2012. It was designed by one of the foremost architects of the day, Cass Gilbert, who designed other prominent buildings such as the Woolworth Building in New York City, and the Supreme Court in Washington D.C.
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Soldiers Memorial Military Museum
The Soldiers’ Memorial, located between Market and Pine and 13th and 14th Streets, is the first of the two war memorials in St. Louis completed in honor of World War I veterans. Soldiers' Memorial Military Museum was dedicated by Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a memorial for veterans and as a museum for preserving a historic collection of military artifacts, on October 14th, 1936. Two museum galleries contain a collection of military-related objects of both local and national historical significance, such as photographs, posters and printed materials, uniforms, flags, medals, firearms, edged weapons, and a range of war-time memorabilia from the battlefront and the homefront. The building was designed by St. Louis architectural firm Mauran, Russell & Crowell in a stripped Classical style, with a severely simplified form and limited ornament. Notable features include the massive stone columns with carved stone panels between the columns that bear the faces of war veterans. On the north and south sides of the building are large stone statues of winged horses and martial looking men and women, representing courage, loyalty, vision, and sacrifice.
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Peabody Opera House
The Peabody Opera House, formerly known as the Kiel Opera House, is a historic performing arts center in St. Louis, Missouri. The 3,500-seat complex was built in 1934 and originally was named the Municipal Auditorium. Over the next six decades it hosted many notable events including a campaign rally for President Harry Truman and concerts by the Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack. The Opera House closed in 1991 and sat idle for two decades. It reopened as the Peabody Opera House in 2011 after a $79 million restoration. Today the Opera House hosts concerts, musicals, lectures, and comedy acts.
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Campbell House Museum
Since opening in 1943, the Campbell House Museum has served the greater St. Louis area as one of the nation’s premier historic property museums. The house served as a family home of Robert Campbell from 1851 to 1938. The Museum preserves not only the Campbell’s house, the family home of Robert Campbell—a prominent figure in the history of St. Louis and of the American West— but also the family’s collection of original furniture, fixtures, paintings, letters, objects , thousands of pages of family documents, and unique album of 60 interior photographs taken in the mid-1880s. In 2000, the Museum began a meticulous restoration project that returned the building to its opulent 1880s appearance, when the house was one of the centers of St. Louis society. The museum is considered to be one of the best preserved mid-Victorian house museums in the United States.
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City Museum
Established in 1997, St. Louis's City Museum is built largely from repurposed architectural and industrial objects. This children's museum is housed in the former International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District of St. Louis. The 600,000 square-foot museum is an eclectic mixture of children's playground and museum with fantastical caves, funhouse exhibits, rides, and surrealistic architectural wonders made from discarded materials and unique objects.

This tour was created by Sara Norton on 05/10/17 .

This tour has been taken 575 times within the past year.

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