The Cabanne House was the first brick farmhouse west of the Mississippi River. Jean Pierre Cabanne built the house on the site that is Forest Park in 1819.
Cabanne, born in 1773, came to St. Louis from France in 1796 and was one of the founders of the American Fur company, the Bank of St. Louis, and one of the incorporators of the City of St. Louis.
The Cabanne House was built on the Cabanne homestead, which covered extensive acreage including Westmoreland Place, Portland Place, Forest Park Terrace (now Lindell), McPherson Avenue (now Waterman), Westminster Place and 40 acres of Forest Park.
The bricks of the house were manufactured from clay that was taken, formed and baked on the site. It was known as "Pioneer Brick."
The roof of the house had three large gables topped with pineapple finials. The main section had four chimneys and the kitchen had one.
Compared to other farm houses of the area, the Cabanne country house was large. It had to be since it housed Cabanne, his wife and 12 children, eight of whom survived infancy.
Cabanne House remained in the possession of the Cabanne Family until the property was acquired for Forest Park in 1874, except for a brief period in the early 1850s, when it was sold to Alban H. Glasby.
In 1881, the old farmhouse was still standing but was razed a few years later.
In the 1875 Report of the Commissioners, it is stated that "the 'Cabanne House' . . . . . is now used as an office building for the Superintendent's and Engineer's Departments, but will be converted into a 'Lodge' as soon as the new structure, now in progress of erection near Union Avenue, shall be completed."
Due to the extensive use and occupancy by park officials through the years, extensive renovation and modernization of the building has occurred. Minor additions include a garage, trellis, barbecue pit and an artificial well.
An article in the Globe Democrat newspaper dated June 29, 1903, just before the 1904 World's Fair stated that the parkkeeper was furnished a residence in "one of the handsomest Parks in the United States. He is allowed a cow, chickens and everything to be found in a first-class country home."
The house was damaged by fire in 1966 and was vacant until used by the City Beautification Commision in 1967.
In the 1980s, the house was extensively remodeled by the St. Louis Ambassadors and is used as its offices.