George Washington O'Rear.

Commercial and architectural St. Louis online

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This book is under no circumstances to be
taken from the Building




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JONES & OREAR, Publishers.



Copyrighted by G, W. Orear, 1888.



« J A ■ ■

V i .

SHE many attractive architectural features added to St.
Louis in the past few years, and the growth of her
commercial and manufacturing interests justifies the publica-
tion of this work, which sets forth many of these improvements
in as brief manner as possible.

1X1 Cj J.iJ-1'' iV7i^*v


mras^ uemox aw©

Then and Now.

In 1763 Mons.

Pierre Laclede

Liguest explored

the Mississippi

Tov river to the mouth of the Mis-



pit — ' soun, noting on nis way

— - particular point to which he

r returned and after marking
the site as was the custom, by cut-
ting pieces from the trees, continued
his way down stream. In the
archives preserved by the Mercantile
— journal of M. Chouteau — is the
following : —

" You will go and disembark at the place where we marked the
trees ; you will commence to clear the place and build a large
shed, to contain the provisions and tools, and some little cabins to
lodge the men." This was said b}' M. Laclede Liguest to M.
Chouteau — the instructions were carried out and the first house
was built on the site of about where Barnum's Hotel now stands.
Thus began the great city we have to-day. The first blow of the
axe occurred on the 15th of February, 1764, and the party con-
sisted of a hand full of men ; on June 15th, 1888, the city of St.



Louis contains 500,000 souls, and instead of cabins, as her
founders had, she is a city of magnificent architecturally built ed-
ifices. St. Louis is situated geographically in the very heart of
the American Republic and besides the location being a central
one as regards the vast extent of territory constituting the whole
United States, the city lies in the very heart of the greatest agri-
cultural area known to civilization, with Illinois on the east, a
state where every foot of soil is tillable, and produces } T early
increasing tons of cereals. With Iowa in the north, a state whose
corn product is the greatest of any
of the states, and with corn the great
American Hog is made. With Kan-
sas on the west turning out yearly
millions of bushels of wheat and
corn and a state whose agricultural
importance is rapidly growing to, if
not already the largest of the states.
With Arkansas on the south turn-
ing out a wealth of cotton from the
soil, and an almost unlimited supply
of yellow pine and other fine timbers
from her forests who can sav but
that St. Louis is happily located.
But these are only a moiety of the
valuable territory that pours its
wealth into the commercial channels
of St. Louis. The states and ter-
ritories lying west of Kansas are
naturally feeders to her commerce, all the states of the Missis-
sippi valley, also, should look to St. Louis as their mart of
supply. A little to the south and west lies the great Empire
state (Texas), the resources of which have not as yet been
determined. With every variety of soil and a temperature equal
to the "glorious climate of California" the citizens of Texas
have hardly a conception to what magnitude their state will yet
attain, and all the trade of that vast empire should flow into the

■..,.-■ \ -

Old Spanish Fort.


gates of St. Louis. Just beyond the Lone Star state lies a region
so rich in mineral and so poor in all that goes to make a progres-
sive race — as viewed by the American eye — that the merchants
or manufacturers who instill into the people of Mexico new ideas
of husbandry, of mining, and of living will turn a trade for Ameri-
can products, and St. Louis products particularly, that will reap
a rich reward. The early history of St. Louis is replete with
interesting incidents, adventures, etc., and if it were not for the
fact that the age in which we live cares not for past ages, some of
them would be referred to. There are a few old scenes of St.

Louis in early days
that will be repro-
duced here, more
for the purpose of
comparison than to
bring to memory
things of a long ago.
While there still re-
mains some few of
the ancient, or
buildings con-
structed in the early
histor}' of St. Louis,
only one or two are
of sufficient importance to be illustrated or referred to. The
present age is of what we have to do, in fact the business world
cares very little for even the day just past, unless perchance dur-
ing its brief existence a stroke of good fortune was made or a
great loss was felt. St. Louis was fifty years ago a frontier vil-
lage ; to-day she is a vast city both in population, commercial im-
portance, architectural grandeur and municipal management,
with a trade reaching out from the AUeghanies on the east to the
limits of civilization on the west.

The struggling light from a world so bright,

Dispels the darkness into clay
The radiant light that makes this world bright

Tends westward on its way.

Old Stockade. House, Third ana Olive.



Streets, Ways and Boulevards.

The wholesale business of the city is not confined to one district
or street as in former times when Main, Second, Third and Com-

R. L. Coleman & Co. German Savings Institution.

View on Third Street South from Pine. Merchants' Exchange on the right.

mercial streets held all the big mercantile houses. In these streets,
however, the bulk of the wholesale grocery is yet to be found ;
also, that of cotton, iron, woodenware, wagon stock, flour mill


furnishing, stoves and tinners' stock, paints, machinery, etc.,
together with the large cotton factors, commission and wool
firms ; besides these in these streets from Elm on the south, to
Morgan on the north, will be found the greater number of hard-
ware houses, paper dealers, saddlery manufacturers and sad-
dlery hardware houses, and some of the great houses handling
plows, agricultural implements and wheeled vehicles. Through-
out this area the handlers of teas, coffees and spices are located
including the principal mills for preparing, grinding and putting
up coffees and spices, In the district bounded by Locust on the
south, Fourth on the east, Lucas avenue north, and Eleventh,
west, are to be found the most imposing commercial structures in
the city. The entire wholesale dry goods business is done in-
ide that boundary ; the bulk of the wholesale boot and shoes
trade ; all of the wholesale hat and cap trade ; all of the wholesale
millinery ; all of the wholesale clothing and gents' furnishing
(distinct lines) ; all of the wholesale plate and window glass; all
of the wholesale woolen goods trade ; part of the wholesale hard-
ware and wholesale saddlery, harness and hardware trade. The
commercial structures on Washington avenue used for wholesale
purposes are monster buildings, presenting fine architectural
features and are the equals, if not generally superior, to buildings
used for a like purpose in any city in the country. This fact also
applies to the many buildings in the streets just adjacent to
Washington avenue.

And yet the grandeur of these palatial wholesale buildings will
in a few years be completely surpassed. The new edifices just
going up, some almost completed, others only partially, while
numerous others are being excavated for, that when finished will
make an array of wholesale houses the superior of any city's boast
in our country. The principal retail thoroughfares are along
Fourth street from Franklin ave. north, to Walnut street south,
Broadway from Elm south to Franklin ave. north, except the three
wholesale blocks between Locust and Washington ave. Olive street
from Fourth to Grand ave. will in a short time be one continuous
hive of the retailer; it is now up to 12th street the home of the



fashionable retail buyer. Franklin ave. from 4th to Easton ave.
and Easton ave. to Grand ave. is perhaps the longest retail
thoroughfare in the U. S. This whole wav is lined with retail
shops and is the most thronged of any of the retail streets barring

In Forest Park.

the two blocks on Broadway from Lucas ave. to Franklin ave.
Market street is also a busy retail mart from Fourth to Twelfth
and from Fourteenth to Twentieth a large amount of retail busi-
ness is done. In the south end from the fish market along Fourth


to its intersection with Broadway, down Broadway to Anna street
there is a tremendous retail business done. It will be seen from
the distance these marts are from each other that the great jams
experienced in other cities by the concentration of their retail
centers is only partially felt in this city and yet all these thorough-
fares are comfortably filled each day of the year. This city is
numbered, each block representing a hundred, and the dividing
line is Market street north and south. The river front gives the
starting point for the number west, therefore the stranger can easily
find the way. Broadway is the main thoroughfare through the city
north and south, beginning at Baden north, runs through the city
between 4th and 6th sts., to Carondelet on the south, giving a
continuous line of car service of some 13 miles for a single fare of

* —

five cents.

The boulevards of St. Louis, are growing rapidly and in a few
years there will be some fine drives.

Grand Avenue from the Water Works on the north river to
Carondelet on the south, will furnish a complete circuit of the
city via the west end.

Lindell Boulevard with its double way set on either side with
foliage, grass plats, etc., from Grand avenue to Kings Highwaj^
(to Forest Park) 100 feet wide with drive way 60 feet wide of
Telford pavement.

Forest Park Boulevard with its 100 feet wide of drive laid out
in park-like attractiveness.

Page Avenue commencing at Grand, thence west for more than
a mile.

Locust st. from 14th, to Grand avenue with its smooth asphalt
and lined on either side with beautiful residences.

Pine st. from 22d to Grand avenue laid with asphalt paving
and handsome residences on each side and West Pine St.
Boulevard from Grand avenue which is being improved rapidly
and will be in the near future, as part of it is now, the handsomest
residence way in the city, are a few of the best drives.

Washington Avenue from Jefferson avenue to Grand avenue
contains many fine residences and is laid with wood paying.



Delmar Avenue from Grand west is another splendid drive
among cosy residences surrounded by ample grounds.

Yandeventer Place is made up of a park in which all the
residences are palatial.

In Forest Park.

Lafayette Avenue from Lafayette Park to Compton Hill, in and
around Compton Hill Reservoir, and along Grand avenue in the
vicinit}-, is one of the fine residence districts.

A few years ago a system of macadam paving prevailed. It
was very unsatisfactory, but the city could not afford to replace


it with the more expensive granite, wood or asphaltum. A law
was in existence providing for the improvement of streets at the
expense of the owners of abutting property up to a certain per-
centage of the value of the property. Under this law finally the
city began the general reconstruction with granite of the streets
in the business portion of the city. As the business section of
the city was improved, attention was turned to the driving streets
toward the west, and their reconstruction with asphaltum and
with wooden blocks laid on a concrete base was begun. This
improvement has been continued since, until St. Louis has finally
almost as perfect a system of street paving as could be wished.

The length and character of the street improvements at the end
of the last fiscal year, April, 1887, was as follows:

Macadam. feet. miles.

Within the former City Limits of 1870 1,134,432 214.85

Within the extended new City Limits of 1876 334,910 63.43


Nicholson (old system) 2,040 .39

Wooden blocks on concrete base 12,433 2.35

Limestone blocks 5,223 .99

Granite blocks 163,345 30.93

A-phaltum blocks 509 .09

A-phaltum pavement (Monolithic on concrete base).. 20,373 3.86

T- lford pavement 41,262 7.82

Total length of improved streets April 1887. . .1,714,537 324.71

Length of improved streets, Jan. 1, 1888, 327.38 miles.

Since the last report of the department there has been added
a number of miles of improvements, while others are in progress
now, so that the record stands thus : —

Street Improvements. — With granite pavement, complete,
33.25 miles; in progress, 7.34. With wood pavement, complete,
2.72; in progress, 1.50. With asphalt, complete, 3.8G ; in pro-
gress, 0.10.

Streets Paved with Wood : — Chestnut street and Washington
av., from Jefferson av. to Grand av. ; Lucas av.. from Beaumont
street to Garrison av. ; Garrison av., from Locust street to Eas-
ton av.

Streets Paved with Asphaltum: — Pine street, from 19th


street to Grand av. ; Lucas place, from 14th street to Jefferson
av. ; Locust street, from Jefferson av. to Ware av. ; Beaumont
street, from Chestnut street to Locust street ; Leffingwell av.,
from Chestnut street to Locust street; Ewing av. , from Chestnut
street to Locust street ; Garrison av., from Chestnut street to
Locust street.

Channing av. from Chestnut st. to Olive st. Leonard av. from
Olive st. to Locust st.

The length of Telford paving on Lindell Boulevard is 1.70 miles

and cost about -$125,000

Bridges built in the Mill creek valley over the railroad viaduct :

12th aud 14th streets, at a cost of 56,000

Jefferson ave., " " " 74,000

18th street — Tayon ave., — at a cost of 160,000

Grand ave., when complete, " " " 450,000

Court House, Fourth, Broadway, Chestnut aud Market Streets



City Government and Buildings.

The City Government is under a mayor as its chief head, who
is elected by the people for a term of 4 years. The present mayor
is David R. Francis, with headquarters at City Hall. The differ-
ent wards of the city are represented in bodies who enact the
various measures pertaining to the general control, improvement

and con-
duct of the
city. These
bodies are
known as
and House
of Dele-
gates. The
d e p a r t-
m e n t s of
the cit}^ con-
sist of a

Board of Public Improvements — which includes a president
of the board ; a

Street Commissioner, under whose supervision, together with
a competent corps of assistants, the streets, ways, alleys, etc.,
are improved, graded and opened ; a

Park Commissioner, having under him the proper force for
the maintenance, regulation and improvement of all the parks ; a
Sewer Commissioner, having the care of drainage under his
management ; a

Water Commissioner, in charge of the water works system ; a

City Hall, Eleventh, Market and Chestnut Streets.



Harbor and Wharf Commissioner, under whose management
the tonnage of the city is looked after ;

The Health Department — under a Health officer, through
whom the sanitary condition of the city is kept in order ;

The Building Department is under a commissioner. In this
department all plans for new city buildings originate and their
construction carried out, besides all plans and specifications for
private buildings must be here submitted and permits granted.
The offices of these different departments are located in the City
Hall building.

The Finance Department is in fact the assessor, collector and
comptroller. The first regulates the rate of taxation ; the second
sees to the collection of the money, the other to the proper dis-
tribution of it. The former are located in the Court House, the
other offices are located in the City Hall.

Custom House and P. O., Olive, Locust, Eighth and Mnth

Thos. Walsh, Archt.



Public Buildings.

The City Hall is a monster barn, built of brick, located at
Eleventh, Market and Chestnut streets, and if it does not fall
down, it will be because luck is in favor of its occupants. The
lot on which it stands would afford ample room for a building
commensurate with the growth and improvement of the city.

The park at 12th and
Market has been sug-
gested by many as the
proper site for a City
Hall, but the city can-
not afford to rob the
people in the center of
the city of any such
place, in fact the city
ought to buy a half
dozen blocks in the
down town poor di-
stricts, remove the rub-
£j*&*y. - ^srvs^ bish anc | improve them

Four courts and Jail. as brea thing places for

the thousands of unfortunate down town residents or hotel guests.
The auditor, register, inspector weights and measures, com-
missioner of supplies, inspector of boilers, department of election
and registration, and counsellor are in the City Hall. The coro-
ner, the marshal, the city attorney and the jailer have offices at
the Four Courts ; the public administrator is in the Temple
building, Broadway and Walnut.

The Court House, located in the center of the city, although
erected many years ago, is as fine a piece of architectural con-


struction as can be found in this country, not excepting the
capitol at Washington. It occupies the entire block, furnishing
apartments for the collector, assessor, tax department of comp-
trollers office, recorder, the several district courts, numbered from
1 to 5, the clerks of the courts, court of appeals, probate court,
the central fire alarm service, law library and sheriff.

The Four Courts, a magnificent building, contains the head-
quarters of the police depart ment, the health department, the
several city courts, the court of criminal correction, first dis-
trict police court, St. Louis criminal court, the jail and hold-
over. The main building fronts on Clark ave. the length of the
block from 11th to 12th sts. and the architectural features of the
structure are grand and imposing. The monster jail building is in
the rear center while the Morgue occupies the northeast corner of
the block, which is the property of the city.

The Custom House. — The government building in St. Louis
has often been pronounced the most substantial in the country.
When the foundations were laid the excavators found solid rock
only partly, therefore the}' were forced to drive piles whose ends
would reach the bedrock. On these were laid immense granite
stones and on these other granite blocks, for the building from
base to dome is of this durable stone. In its spacious halls
are the post office department, whose management is perfection;
the internal revenue collection department of the state, the
United States courts and other sub-United States offices, including
the signal service department, who have an observatory in the
towering dome, the United States circuit clerk, district attorney,
engineers, headquarters lighthouse inspector, inspector steam-
boats, United States marine hospital service, sub-treasury,
special examiner and examining surgeon of pension office, mar-
shal and railway mail service. The United States offices in St.
Louis are the medical purveying dept., 500 North Commercial
alley ; Q.M.dep't., 304 North Eighth street : subsistence dept., 112
South Fourth street; pay dept., 304 North Eighth street ; clothing
dep't., Second near the Arsenal, recruiting office, 908 Pine street ;
cavalry depot, Jefferson Barracks; United States assay er, 210



North Third street; Mississippi river commissioner, survey dep't,
2828 Washington ave.; construction dep't, 2653 Olive street;
lighthouse engineer, 1415 Washington ave. ; supervisor of educa-
tion, 304 North Eigth street ; jury commissioner, 417 Olive street ;
registers in bankruptcy, 506 Olive street; United States com-
missioners and masters «in chancery.

The Fike Department is equal in efficiency to any in the coun-
try. The headquarters are at engine house, 816 N. Seventh

street. The de-
partment has
twent y-s even
steamers, five
Babcock chemi-
cal engines and
seven hook and
ladder companies
in service. O f
men there are
some 328 with 8
officers. There
are four hundred
and twentj'-five
fire alar m sta-
tions all connect-

A Fire Department Building. j Qcr with t h e

central fire station in the Court House and from there to the en-
sine houses. The striking of an alarm unhitches automatically,
the horses, who run to their places at the engine, where in a few
seconds they are harnessed and hitched. There are 185 horses,
27 engine houses, 3 reserve engines and 1 hook and ladder truck
in reserve.

The Salvage Corps is maintained by the fire insurance compa-
nies. It is their duty to attend every fire and protect stocks of
goods from water by tarpaulins or removal. Station Seventh and
Locust streets. Ten men and a captain constitute the force.

City Patrols. — This is one of the few cities having this sys-



tent of caring for unfortunates, and is a part of a most efficient
police department. The little corrugated iron houses around lamp
posts contain a telegraphic and telephone instrument accessible
to policemen onl} 7 , thus to the unfortunate in an accident of any
kind, may be summoned within a very few minutes a patrol wagon
which conveys the person to hospital or dispensary. They are

Police Station in Lafayette Park.

also for the summoning of the patrol in case of arrest or for com-
munication in case of riot.

Police Department. — This department of the city government is
under a Board of Police Commissioners appointed by the gover-
nor of the State and consists of the following: James L. Blair,
Vice-President : Frank Gaiennie, purchasing member, Oliver P.
Gooding, commissioner, Edward Wilkerson, treasurer, Frank R-
Tate is secretary ; Hon. David R. Francis, Mayor of the city, is



Ex-officio President. The Force consists of one Chief , six Captains,
45 Sergeants, 440 Patrolmen, 10 Detectives, 1 Chief of Detectives,
and 25 emergency specials. There are 13 station houses, 5 patrol
wagons and the total worth of real estate
and personal property belonging to the de-
partment is valued at $174,149.84.

Water Works. — The first water works
built in St. Louis, date back to 1830. The
first reservoir was located at Ashley and Col-
lins streets on the east side of Broadway.
The initial point of the system is a cast-iron
tower, __

rising in
the river
at a dis-
tance of
200 feet
from the
enter in-
t o the

structure of this tower, which is
oval in form, 21 feet long by 10
feet wide, with a height of 80 feet,
and its base resting on the bed-
rock of the river. It was sunk
through 20 feet of sand, and its
position is strengthened by rip-rap
rock deposited around the out-
side, while strong ice-breakers still further secure it; the bottom
is filled with concrete to a depth of 24 feet. Water is ad-
mitted into the tower by means of flood-gates placed at dif-
ferent heights, while a strong iron screen prevents the entrance

Water Works with Tower.



of drift or fish. An induction pipe 5 feet 6 inches in diameter
leads to the engine pit of the low service structure on the river
bank. A foot bridge, 200 feet long reaches likewise from the
river tower to the engine house. The low service buildings, on
the margin of the river, consist of engine house with boiler,
coal-storage houses, and a chimney or smoke-tower 125 feet

In Lafayette Park.

high, standing at a distance of 10 feet from the boiler house, with
a connecting pipe passing between upon a brick bridge of 5
arches. These structures are built of brick, with bases, quoins
and mouldings of Joliet stone. The engine room, 50 feet long
and -41 feet wide, is wainscotted with oak and black walnut, and

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Online LibraryGeorge Washington O'RearCommercial and architectural St. Louis → online text (page 1 of 21)