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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 columnns with carved stone panels between the columnns 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.
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.
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.
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.