Locale and Topography
To the west of Midtown, along the City's central corridor, is a broad area known as the Central West End. It is bounded on the north by Delmar Boulevard, on the south by Oakland and Chouteau Avenues, on the west by DeBaliviere Avenue and its projection across Forest Park and on the east by Vandeventer Avenue. The land is gently rolling in character with relatively flat inclines except for rather hilly terrain within the park.
West of Union Boulevard and north of the park, the land was part of a Spanish grant made to Madame Marie Louise Papin in 1776, in answer to her request for a 'farm on the banks of the River des Peres. After the Louisiana Purchase, her holding was surveyed and numbered as Survey 378, containing 2720 acres. South of this, most of Forest Park laid within a nine square mile tract known as Gratiot League Square. East of Kingshighway, the present area of the Central West End comprised a series of long narrow surveys which originally had been French farm tracts in the Cul-de-Sac and Grande Prairie Common Fields. By the middle of the nineteenth century most of this land was held by Peter Lindell, William McPherson and the estate of Nathaniel Pendleton Taylor.
Survey 378 and Gratiot League Square had been platted by that time into a series of long, east-west strips each about a 1000 feet in width. Within the area now contained in Forest Park, these strips were owned by Pierre Chouteau, Jr., Jules De Mun, John C. Cabanne, Thomas K. Skinker, William Forsyth and Alban H.- Glasby. In 1854, Glasby attempted to plat the town of Hockessin in his acreage along what is now the west side of Kingshighway, southward from Laclede Avenue, a move which apparently was unsuccessful. Cabanne was also the owner of a dairy farm which covered the area now bounded by Lindell, Kingshighway, Delmar and Union. Between the present Lindell and Delmar, west of Union, the principal land holders were Forsyth, James C. Kingsbury and Larkin Deaver. During the 1870's, these large tracts were subdivided and those east of Kingshighway were platted for residential uses by the early eighties.
19th Century Development
Compton and Dry's 1875 pictorial atlas shows the Central West End area as largely semi-rural. East of Kingshighway, some streets had been laid out in Lindell's Second Addition, while to the west the principal avenues were Union in a north-south direction and the Olive Street Road, now Delmar, running to the west. A few large houses are shown along Lindell Avenue and Bates Avenue, now Duncan Avenue. Levin H. Baker occupied a large house with a mansard roof on the northwest corner of Lindell and Taylor and T. J. Peter resided in a similar house on the south side of Lindell, west of Sarah Street. They were the only houses then fronting on Lindell between Spring Avenue and Kingshighway. A large Italianate mansion on the west side of Cornelia (Newstead) at Maryland Avenue was the home of Nathan Coleman.
On either side of the present Duncan Avenue to the east of Euclid, were two large country houses and farms occupied by John T. McCune and J. W. Booth, respectively. On the west side of Euclid, was the Merriman place and across Kingshighway just south of Laclede Avenue was the old John P. Cabanne country home, which was used as a park cottage in 1875. This brick house was the earliest structure built in the area, constructed in 1819 and unjustifiably razed by the park department in 1881. A more densely populated portion of the vicinity was located around Clayton and Manchester roads, west of the Rock Spring area. To the north of Lindell and east of Kingshighway, the land was very sparsely settled with Washington and Delmar terminating at a diagonal stretch of Olive Street Road running from the present Olive and Pendleton to Delmar and Taylor.
The largest house in this section was that of George P. Dorris at the southwest corner of Kingshighway and Delmar, occupying a large estate with pretentious stables. North of the park and west of Kingshighway, where Portland and Westmoreland Places are now located, was the Cabanne dairy farm. Along the west side of Union Avenue were a number of country houses, closest to Forest Park was the Waterman family home, a large Victorian mansion with a square tower. At the southwest corner of Delmar and Union was the home of Daniel Bell, whose estate was later developed into Washington Terrace. A single track railroad line ran along the present right-of-way of the Wabash (Norfolk and Western) Railroad. Near the present DeBaliviere Avenue entrance in Forest Park was the Pavilion, a restaurant in a converted former farm house. It was reached by a long drive over the new park roads.
Urban development in the Central West End began at its eastern end during the 1880's. Lindell was the first street to experience housing construction in the area of Peter Lindell's Second Addition which had been platted in 1865, but had to await the City's westward expansion for its build up. Lindell Boulevard reached its zenith as a street of fine homes by the nineties when it was lined with large mansions as far west as Kingshighway. Development of the areas to the north and south of Lindell began in the early 1890's and it was during this period that the private places in the area were established.
The largest of these were Portland and Westmoreland, which were destined to eclipse Vandeventer Place as the best of their kind. They were platted in 1888, by Julius Pitzman, for the Forest Park Addition on the old Cabanne dairy farm acreage. To their north as far as Delmar, such as Dorris Place, Delmar Boulevard Addition and Oakland Place were laid by 1892. The success of the private places in the area led to the opening of other such streets as Lenox and Hortense Places by the turn of the century. A large share of the credit for the enhancement of this part of the City is due to the advent of the World's Fair. This ultimately led to the urbanizing of the area as far west as DeBaliviere Avenue, the Fair's main entrance.
Kingsbury Place was platted by Pitzman in 1902, to adjoin Washington Terrace on the south. Most of this development west of Union was in the form of large houses in these private places. Construction of the many apartment buildings such as those on Pershing, Waterman and other streets did not take place until after the Fair. One of the last sections to be built was along the south side of Pershing from Union to DeBaliviere, where most of the apartments were erected between 1915 and 19925. The character of Lindell Boulevard started to change during the 19920's when the large mansions began to give way to high-rise apartment buildings, east from Kingshighway. Further east, the change occurred in the form of commercial uses and rooming houses in the section from Boyle to Vandeventer.
Major religious and institutional uses such as the New Cathedral and the hospital complex on South Kingshighway, had a profound impact upon the Central West End areas in their vicinity, creating needs for auxiliary uses nearby.
Forest Park, which has played a major role in the history of the West End, began as a visionary dream of Hiram W. Leffingwell. He was a real estate man who had been instrumental in the founding of Kirkwood and the establishment of Grand Avenue. Leffingwell astutely assumed that the direction of the City's growth would be westward and that his proposed park would ultimately be surrounded by an urbanized area as it is today. In 1870, he had a plan prepared for a 2754 acre park more than a mile west of the City and secured 1890s aid from Nicholas M. Bell and other state legislators to back the idea in the legislature. In spite of intense opposition from owners of land in the proposed park site, Bell finally secured enactment of the bill in 1872.
The property owners resorted to legal action and succeeded in having the bill declared unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court. After an unsuccessful attempt to obtain authorizing legislation in 1873, amid much criticism concerning the park's remoteness and size, Leffingwell finally gained support from two holders of major tracts in the site, William Forsyth and Thomas K. Skinker. By reducing the project's size to 1380 acres, with assurance to these owners that only part of their tracts would be acquired, with resultant increases in the value of their remaining land adjacent to the park, the bill was successfully steered through the legislature in 1874. It provided for an appraisal by impartial experts and determination of an appropriate fee and also for authorization by the County Court for a bond issue to finance the purchase. Opposition was still encountered from a group of land owners led by Charles P. Chouteau and William D. Griswold.
This time the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the bill and declared it to be definitely in the public interest. Later the park site was acquired by condemnation for $799,995 and was placed under the jurisdiction of a Board of Park Commissioners on April 27, 1875. An interesting facet of the acquisition of Forest Park was provision for the concurrent creation of Carondelet and O'Fallon Parks to placate criticism from citizens in those parts of the City. The dedication of Forest Park took place on June 25, 1876, at its main entrance, then at Chouteau Avenue and Kingshighway, with elaborate ceremonies. Plans were prepared for improvement of the well wooded tract with roads, lakes and bridges. Up to the turn of the century, only the eastern portion of the park was developed and its use by the public was aided by streetcar lines, which reached the park by 1885. In the 1890's, an elaborate Victorian bandstand was built and a race course was laid out in the park's northwestern corner, reached by the Lindell Railway at its station near DeBaliviere Avenue.
A popular park rendezvous of the period was the Cottage, a restaurant located on a hill east of the present location of the zoo. The biggest event in the park's history was the 1904 World's Fair which was located in the previously undeveloped western portion of the park and resulted in the landscaping of that park area. The eastern portion of the park, which is the part within the limits of the Central West End area, has seen several important installations since 1915. These include the Municipal Opera, which began in 1919 in the outdoor theater that was constructed two years previously for an opera presentation during the international convention of Advertising Clubs. Also in this part of the park is the Jewel Box, completed in 1936 as an outgrowth of the park's greenhouses and the more recent McDonnell Planetarium, opened in 1963.
Another recent facility is the Steinberg Memorial Skating Rink, completed in 1957 and used for both ice and roller skating in season. The 'Triple A' club was originally located in the park's western section in 1897, and was removed to its present site in 1902, to make way for the World's Fair. It has a nine hole golf course and courts for tennis and handball with clubhouse and locker facilities. Two unusual events which took place in the eastern portion of Forest Park were the Gordon Bennett Balloon Races in 1907 and the Greater St. Louis Exposition of 1926. The balloon races were held near the park's Chouteau Avenue entrance and were the first of a series which lasted until 1916. The exposition was held on the old flying field across from the Forest Park Highlands amusement park and was a well attended civic event of its time.
The southeastern corner of the park has been considerably altered in recent years by the construction of the Daniel Boone Expressway and the Kingshighway relocation. To a lesser extent, the park's northeastern section was also changed by the building of the Forest Park Parkway.
Housing and Architecture
Central West End is primarily a residential area with an intermittent mixture of commercial, industrial and institutional uses. With the exception of large single family homes in private streets and along the main boulevards, the residential buildings are principally apartments, flats and rooming houses. The flats and rooming houses are located in off-the-boulevard areas north and south of Lindell. Large apartment buildings are generally located on Lindell or West Pine Boulevards or at some other intersections such as Newstead and McPherson. A concentrated section of large and medium sized apartments is situated along Pershing Avenue from Union to DeBaliviere and on Waterman, west of Belt Avenue. Another area of multiple dwellings is along Delmar west of Union and on Clara south of Delmar. Some of the large apartment hotels such as the Gatesworth, Congress and Senate, have been converted into domicilliary homes for the aged.
The east side of Kingshighway, facing Forest Park, presents a distinguished skyline of fine apartment and hospital structures. Some of the large single family structures in the area between Newstead and Vandeventer have been converted into multiple occupancy uses such as rooming houses. A trend toward the replacement of large houses by high-rise apartments and nursing homes has been occurring on West Pine and to a lesser extent on Laclede Avenue.
None of the old houses that appear in this area in the 1875 pictorial atlas has survived until the present. The oldest houses still extant date from the early 1890's, and many from that period have been supplanted for many years. One of the first to go was the William K. Bixby mansion which occupied the present site of the Chase Hotel until about 1920. Typical of the demolition activity which has become prevalent since the 1920's was the wrecking of five large houses in the 4400 block of Lindell in 1960. These included #4499, built in the nineties for E. E. Stanard, head of a milling firm; #4487, a three story, rough cut, brown stone mansion, formerly the residence of the Goltra family; and #4475, once the home of James G. Cahill an organizer of the St. Louis Stock Exchange.
On the south side of the street, two mansions were razed to make way for the headquarters of the Optimist Club International. These were #4490, for many years the home of the founder of the Lammert Furniture Company; and #4498, which was the old August Gehner home. Houses such as these contained as many as sixteen rooms with grand staircases and oversized halls. Paneled living rooms, bedrooms with fireplaces, marble bathrooms and servants' quarters in these houses were symbolic of an opulent by-gone era. Another factor influencing demolition of the large houses was economic, that is razing to save taxes and maintenance costs. An excellent surviving example of the large houses of this period is the official residence of the Catholic archbishops of St. Louis at 4510 Lindell Boulevard. It was completed in 1894, as the home of William F. Nolker, a prominent banker and brewer.
After his death in 1906, the house was sold to Julius S. Walsh who resided there until 1923. In the following year the large gray stone mansion was purchased by the Archdiocese of St. Louis for the home of the then Archbishop John J. Glennon. Several older apartment buildings in this area have been converted into condominiums, including the A.B.C.D. apartments at Kingshighway and Laclede and the Pierre Chouteau at 4440 Lindell. A new condominium project is underway in the 4500 block of West Pine. The 4400 block of Laclede Avenue has been rehabilitated into a block of restored single family residences, Laclede Place.
West of Kingshighway, Lindell Boulevard faces Forest Park with a row of distinguished mansions, most of which were built prior to 1920. Typical of these is the one at #5115 which was designed for a daughter of James B. Eads, by architect James P. Jamieson, and #5145 to which an art gallery was added by Breckenridge Long in 1917, after the design by Guy Study. To the north of Lindell, extending from Kingshighway to Union Boulevard, are Portland and Westmoreland Places. These private streets contain some of the City's finest examples of residential architecture, most of which were built between 1890 and 1930. Some typical examples include #1 Westmoreland Place, which was designed for J. D. Van Blarcom in 1895 by architect W. Albert Swasey.
Later it was the home of J. C. Moon, a pioneer auto manufacturer. At #16 is a house in the French Gothic style designed in 1914, by James P. Jamieson, and #23 was designed in the Federal style by architect Gale E. Henderson in 1952, one of the most recent built in the Place. The Italian Renaissance style mansion at #1 Portland Place was designed in 1909, by Tom P. Barnett for Edward A. Faust. It is notable for its entrance hall with twin curving stairways inspired by those in the palace of Lorenzo de Medici. At #40 Portland Place is a large home built for George Warren Brown, the shoe manufacturer, in 1897, after designs by St. Louis architect Theodore C. Link. Entrance gates on Kingshighway for Portland Place were designed by Link, while those at Westmoreland were the work of Eames and Young.
West of Union Boulevard, said to have been so-named by adjacent property owners who were Northern sympathizers during the Civil War, are the private streets of Kingsbury Place and Washington Terrace. They were platted in the early 1890's for the Bell Place Realty Company by Julius Pitzman and are also notable for their entrance gates on Union. The Washington Terrace entrance was designed in 1894 by George R. Mann and Harvey Ellis. White stone classic style gates and a fountain at Kingsbury Place were completed in 1908 from the design of Barnett, Haynes and Barnett. A nude bronze statue of 'Awakening Spring' which graces the center of the ensemble is the work of sculptress, Clara Pfeiffer. Pitzman, the well-known surveyor built his home at #6 Kingsbury Place in 1901 and was the innovator of the center parkway design used on many of these private streets.
At the southwest corner of Lindell and Union in Forest Park, is the former park commissioner's residence. This Victorian style house, with fourteen foot ceilings, was built about 1877.
Elsewhere in the Central West End are several beautiful streets which feature large architecturally distinguished houses. Among these are: Westminster, from Boyle to Taylor; Maryland Avenue, from Newstead to Euclid; Waterman, from Union to Belt and Pershing, Hortense and Lenox Places. Of special interest here is #4446 Westminster Place, the boyhood home of author T. S. Eliot and the house at #2 Hortense Place, which was the home of Major Albert Bond Lambert, for whom the municipal airport is named.
Fullerton's Westminster Place Addition, which was developed in the 4300 and 4400 blocks of that street in 1891, is especially rich in fine residential architecture. Most of these mansions were designed by such well-known St. Louis architects as W. Albert Swasey, Barnett, Haynes and Barnett and Weber and Groves. These houses are examples of the finest abodes of the affluent at the turn of the century and many have been restored to their former high standard.
Plans to erect a new Roman Catholic Cathedral to replace the old one near the riverfront, date from 1871 when Archbishop Kenrick inaugurated such a movement. The block bounded by 22nd, Pine, 23rd and Chestnut Streets was purchased as its site; however, no construction was undertaken at that time. In 1896, action on the idea was again begun when the present site of the Cathedral at Lindell and Newstead was acquired by Archbishop Kain. A new parish was formed and a chapel and rectory were built at Newstead and Maryland Avenues. The chapel was planned as the beginning of a cathedral in the style of a Roman Basilica, but planning was forestalled financially by losses caused to Church properties by the tornado of 1896. The idea was revived by Archbishop Glennon in 1905, and a fund of $600,000 was raised to promote the movement. An architectural competition was held with the stipulation that the design was not to be in Classic, Gothic or Renaissance styles.
Plans in a combination of Romanesque and Byzantine styles by Barnett, Haynes and Barnett were declared to be the winner in 1906. Ground breaking ceremonies were held on May 1, 1907, and the cornerstone was laid on October 18, 1908, following a parade and ceremonies which included reading of a papal blessing. The church was to be one of the largest in America and included four lateral chapels at a cost of $100,000 each. Consecration ceremonies took place in October, 1914, after which the old chapel was demolished.
The new Cathedral's exterior was then complete with a length of 380 feet, a width of 212 feet and the height to the top of the dome was 220 feet. The great dome was inspired by the Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and was the crowning glory to the magnificent structure. Work on the interior then began and proceeded intermittently for many years as the arches, walls and columns were given a sheathing of marble or a covering of mosaic. The latter work was done by the Tiffany Company of New York. Central point of interest in the interior is the high altar of white marble surmounted by a baldachino of silver filigree, which is supported by onyx columns and decorated with mosaic work. Decorative work on the last of the four chapels was completed in 1926, in time for ceremonies marking the centennial of the foundation of the separate diocese of St. Louis.
Title of Cathedral of St. Louis was given to the new building on October 18, 1914, at which time the old Cathedral became the Church of St. Louis of France. Cardinal John Glennon was buried in a crypt in the Cathedral following his death in 1945. Adjacent to the Cathedral complex is the circular Chancery office building which was constructed in the 1960's. Its form was designed to complement that of the Cathedral. Also adjoining the Cathedral are its parochial school whose present buildings were built in 1965, and its rectory at 4439 Lindell, which was completed in 1941, at a cost of $275,000. The rectory is faced with Minnesota granite in the architectural style of the nearby Cathedral.
The parish of St. Bernard, Abbott was organized in what was then the town of Rock Spring, on January 16, 1874. First services were held in a private residence until a five acre church site was purchased and the house was fitted for use as a church and school. The southern portion of the church property was sold for building lots in 1875 and on June 11, 1876, the cornerstone was laid for a new church. St. Bernard's parish was dismembered in 1885, to create St. Henry's parish and again in 1892, to form that of St. Aloysius. A new school and hall was built in 1890, followed by a new rectory in 1900, and work on a new church building was begun at that time. It was modified Gothic in style and was dedicated in 1912. Due to dwindling of the parish, and a changing neighborhood the church was abandoned and razed in the early 1970's.
Second Baptist Church moved westward from Locust and Beaumont Streets to the southeast corner of Kingshighway and Washington Boulevards in 1907. The Lombard Gothic brick structure with its 215 foot bell tower was dedicated on October 18, 1907. It was designed by Mauran, Russell and Garden and consists of two buildings connected by loggias. Together with St. John's Methodist Church and Temple Israel, it formed a group known for many years as 'Holy Corners.' In 1954, the Second Baptist Church moved again to the old Wade Childress estate at Clayton and McKnight roads in Ladue. The old church was acquired by the Gospel Assembly Congregation.
Congregation B'nai El moved from Spring and Flad Avenues to the former Central Presbyterian Church at Delmar and Clara in 1930. It occupied that building for many years before another move to its present temple at 11411 Highway 40 in St. Louis County. The Clara Avenue structure is now occupied by a black congregation. Temple Israel, following the westward trend in church movements, removed from its old home at Leffingwell and Pine to its new Temple on the northwest corner of Kingshighway and Washington in 1908. This Roman style temple in the Corinthian order is modeled after the Church of the Madeleine in Paris. Another westward move was made in recent years to a new temple at 10675 Ladue Road. A church hall, that was built west of the Temple on Washington, is currently occupied by the Lincoln public high school.
Third member of the 'Holy Corners' trio was St. John's Methodist Church at the southwest corner of that intersection. This Italian Renaissance style building was completed in 1903, from plans by architect Theodore G. Link. It is constructed of Indiana limestone with a classic design interior which has undergone several renovations in later years. These included a new chancel in 1946, and new stained glass windows in 1967. While its neighbors have relocated, St. John's has elected to remain at its old corner and undertake the responsibilities of an urban ministry.
First Presbyterian Church was located at the southwest corner of Sarah Street and Washington Boulevard from 1888 to 1928, when a move was made to its present location at 7200 Delmar in University City. Prior to 1888, it had occupied a large church at 14th Street and Lucas Place since 1855. After the westward move in 1928, the Sarah Street Church became the home of the Giddings Presbyterian Church named after the founder of Presbyterianism in Missouri.
At the northwest corner of Taylor Avenue and Westminster Place, is the imposing building of the Second Presbyterian Church, which is that congregation's third home. Moving west from 17th and Locust Streets, it occupied a chapel on this site in 1896. It was designed by architects Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge of Boston, and contains a recently discovered stained glass ceiling in its attic. Cornerstone laying ceremonies for the massive Romanesque style church were held in 1899, with completion of the structure one year later. It is the work of Theodore C. Link who also designed several mansions on the two block stretch of Westminster, east of the church, in a subdivision known as Fullerton Place. Several additions have been made to the church, culminating in the educational building, which was completed in 1931.
The church, which decided in 1961 to remain at its present location, was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and social achievements. Westminster Presbyterian Church at the southwest corner of Delmar and Union Boulevards was designed by Albert B. Groves and completed in 1916. It is an example of 16th century English Gothic architecture and is constructed of Bedford limestone. This church was formerly the Grand Avenue Presbyterian, which was located on the present site of the Fox Theater. The present name was re-adopted when it moved into a chapel on the Union and Delmar location in 1914. In 1906, the Central Presbyterian Church moved from Lucas and Garrison Avenues to a new home on the southeast corner of Delmar and Clara. After liquidation of its debt, the new church was dedicated in 1926. Four years later, Central Church merged with the Clayton Church, which was also under Southern Presbyterian control and sold the Clara Avenue building to the B'nai El Jewish Congregation. The combined churches occupied the new Central Church near Clayton and Hanley Roads.
The Second or Grand Avenue United Presbyterian Church began as a mission of the First United Church in 1881. It originally occupied a frame building near Grand and Clark Avenues. This was replaced by a brick church at 3602 Forest Park Boulevard in 1895. In 1902, a group left the church to form the Gibson Heights Church and in 1923, the name of the Grand Avenue Church was changed to Second United Church. A move to a new location on Chambers Road in Dellwood was made in 1953, at which time the old church was sold to a Pentecostal group. It was later razed.
St. George's Episcopal Church was located at the north-west corner of Olive Street and Pendleton Avenue from 1892 until 1928. It relocated there following a disastrous fire which destroyed its large stone edifice at Beat and Chestnut Streets. The chapel at the Pendleton site was built in part with stones from the burned out old church. After a long period of troublous times, it was decided to merge St. George's parish with that of St. Michael and All Angels on Wydown Boulevard, west of Skinker. This was done in 1928, at which time the new church was renamed as the Church of St. Michael and St. George. The Pendleton Avenue building was later acquired by St. Stephen's Luthern Church. In 1910, Trinity Episcopal Church purchased the former St. Mark's Memorial Episcopal Church at 4005 Washington Avenue. Originally, the St. Mark's congregation was located at the southeast corner of Washington and Vandeventer about 1889. Trinity Church remained at 4005 Washington until 1935, when it merged with the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and occupied its building at Euclid Washington, where it is presently located.
The Church of the Redeemer was organized in 1891 on Pine Street near Garrison in a building which now houses the Berea Presbyterian Church. In 1903, a new parish house was built at Euclid and Washington, where services were held until 1910. In that year, it merged with St. James Church then at Goode and Cote Brilliante Avenues. This church was built in 1900, by E. C. Simmons as a memorial to his daughter and was removed and re-erected at Euclid and Washington in 1910, to become the new home of the Church of the Redeemer. In 1935, Trinity Church merged with it and has since occupied the old Redeemer Church building.
St. Stephen's Lutheran Church was organized in January, 1930, as a result of work by Dr. Walter A. Maier of Concordia Seminary and the Students Missionary Society. The former St. George's Episcopal Church at Olive Street and Pendleton Avenue was purchased for $29,500 and extensive renovation work was undertaken. In 1952, an addition was constructed on the west side of the church building.
The Unitarian Church of the Unity at 5007 Waterman Avenue was completed in 1917, at a cost of $45,000. Its site had been purchased with proceeds from the sale of its old building at Park and Armstrong Avenues. The church was designed in early English Gothic style by William B. Ittner. It has been merged with the First Unitarian Church and bears that name. By 1902, the First Church of Christ Scientist had outgrown its old church on Pine Street east of Leffingwell and services were held temporarily in the Odeon Theater. In 1903, the present site at Kingshighway and Westminster Place was purchased and construction of the new church was begun. It is a simplified Italian Renaissance structure designed by Mauran, Russell and Garden, that was occupied in 1904, and dedicated in the next year.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 4949 Forest Park Avenue was completed in 1930, and a large gymnasium and educational building was added to the west of the church in 1961.
The site of the Maryland Gardens apartments on the east side of Taylor Avenue between Maryland and Pershing Avenues was formerly the location of the Academy of the Sacred Heart-Barat Hall, more familiarly known as "City House." This institution moved here in 1893 from its old location at Broadway and Convent Street. The Italian Renaissance style chapel was the work of architects Hellmuth and Hellmuth. The school was closed in 1968, and the buildings were razed later in the same year, despite neighborhood efforts to keep it open. Rosati-Kain High School for girls at 4389 Lindell was Lindell was the first archdiocesan high school in the City. Beginning as two schools in 1911, which merged in 1912, the school moved from Grand and Lucas in 19919. Initially occupying the old Joseph M. Hayes mansion on its present site, the house was moved to 216 North Newstead, and the present school building was erected about 1920.
An English Tudor design school structure on Lake Avenue between Waterman and Westminister is now occupied by a private educational institution known as the New City School. The building, which was built in 1902 for Mary Institute, was occupied by that school until 1930, when it moved to Ladue. It was later the home of the Luthern High School. Another new school is Crossroads, which is located at 4532 Lindell. It moved there from Laclede Town several years ago. It is privately operated.
The oldest public school in the Central West End are is Marquette, at 4015 McPherson Avenue, which was built in 1894, with additions in 1895 and 1899, from designs by A. H. Kirchner and William B. Ittner. Eugene Field School at 4466 Olive Street, was also designed by Ittner in 1898-1900; Rock Spring School at 3974 Sarpy Avenue, also the work of Ittner, was completed in 1899, with an addition in 1906. It replaced an earlier school which dated from about 1870, before the Rock Spring area became a part of the City of St. Louis. Two neighboring schools, the Stix at 226 South Euclid Avenue, and the Elias Michael School for Crippled Children at 4568 Forest Park Avenue, were designed by R. M. Milligan in 1922 and 1924 respectively. Stix School is a successful example of the new magnet school concept.
McAuley Hall at 325 North Newstead Avenue is a home for elderly women operated by the Sisters of Mercy. Named for Catherine McAuley, foundress of the order, the home is situated on the site of the former home of David R. Francis. When Francis was president of the 1904 World's Fair, many distinguished guests were entertained in his mansion. Across the street at 330 and 332 North Newstead are houses which were erected by Francis as homes for his children. A prominent institutional element in the Central West End is the medical center complex made up of Barnes Hospital and its associated hospitals, the Washington University Medical School, Jewish Hospital, and various other related schools and facilities.
The nucleus for this internationally known center was the Washington University Medical School which moved to its present site from its old location on Locust Street west of 18th in 1914. This school was formed in 1899, following a merger of the St. Louis and Missouri Medical Colleges. The latter institution was founded in 1840 and the former became independent from St. Louis University in 1855. Late in 1914, the newly constructed Barnes Hospital was opened and the St. Louis Children's Hospital moved to Kingshighway from Jefferson Avenue. This was the beginning of the present medical center which has since experienced a record of continuous growth and expansion.
Barnes Hospital now occupies the 18 story Queeny Tower, which was completed in 1964, and the large East Pavilion building built in 1971. The new West Pavilion will be completed in late 1980.The Children's Hospital has made additions in 1944 and 1954, and the St. Louis Maternity Hospital building dates from 1925 with an addition in 1967. The nearby Oscar Johnson Institute was originally finished in 1929, with a new addition in 1974. Other affiliated hospitals include Renard (1953 and 1962), Bernard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital (1951), Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (1930, 1956 and 1970), and the David P. Wohl, Jr. Memorial Hospital, whose first section was opened in 1951, with additions in 1955, 1959, and 1967.
The Barnes Hospital School of Nursing at 416 South Kingshighway, was opened in 1915, and added new additions in 1920 and 1927. The Medical School north and south wings, built in 1913, were joined by a central addition in 1950, and structures on McKinley Avenue in 1968. Its Spencer T. Olin Residence Hall at 4550 Scott Avenue is a ten story dormitory completed in 1959. The school has also taken over the old buildings of the Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children built in 19928, and vacated when that institution moved to St. Louis County. The complex has several parking lots, including one on the former site of St. John's parking lots, including one on the former site of St. John's Hospital, and two garages. A large underground garage that is built beneath a portion of Forest Park south of the hospital complex, was opened in 1975.
The Jewish Hospital on Kingshighway at Forest Park Avenue was opened in 1927, following a move from its old home on Delmar west of Union. It, too, has had a record of expansion with the addition of the Mark C. Steinberg Memorial in 1967, and the Forest Park Pavilion in 1974, besides earlier annexes in 1954 and 1960. An adjacent garage was built in 1971. The nearby Moses Shoenberg Memorial Nurses Home was completed in 1928 and enlarged in 19965. Central Institute for the Deaf at 800 South Kingshighway is housed in a structure which was built in 1928.
As a result of this continuing expansion, the Medical Center has attained status as one of the nation's largest and finest hospitals - teaching and research facilities - and is one of the City's largest employers. Since 1975, the Center has sponsored the Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment project in its vicinity. This program calls for extensive rehabilitation of existing housing, construction of new dwelling units, commercial rejuvenation and improvements in traffic and general neighborhood appearance. One of the first tangible results of this effort is the new $12 million Blue Cross headquarters building, a six-story structure on Forest Park Avenue west of Newstead, which was completed in 1976. Proximity of the Medical Center has caused the addition of several medical office buildings and nursing homes in the area. Notable among the latter is the circular high-rise Regency Nursing Home at 4560 West Pine Boulevard, which was built in 1965. The former Frisco Hospital at 4960 Laclede Avenue has been converted into the Parkside Towers Nursing Home and at 4930 Lindell is the Lindell (formerly Park Lane) Hospital, originally constructed in 1939.
Some other new projects in the Medical Center area include a new laboratory facility for Monsanto on Clayton Avenue, rehabilitation of the Euclid-Laclede business area and the creation of a private street in the 4400 block of Laclede Avenue. Among new institutions in the Central West End are the Cardinal Ritter Institute which has site headquarters in a former motel at 4483 Lindell Boulevard, where it also operates a complex for senior citizens. Another former motel, the Diplomat at Kingshighway and Waterman, is also used for housing senior citizens. It is operated by the United Church of Christ and occupies the site of the old Usona Hotel of World's Fair days.
In a different field is the new Psychoanalytic Institute on Forest Park Boulevard. Library service to this area is provided by the Jacob Lashly Branch Public Library at 4537 West Pine.
Commercial and Industrial
Development of commercial districts in the Central West End has followed the familiar pattern of evolution due to the accompanying creation of adjacent residential areas and adequate transit routes. Streets carrying streetcar lines - generated commercial strips and caused concentrations of stores at transfer intersections. Thus, the commercial character of streets such as Olive, Euclid, Maryland and Delmar developed and neighborhood shopping centers were created at corners such as Euclid and Maryland, on Olive at Boyle, Sarah and Vandeventer and at Taylor and Delmar. Special circumstances caused concentrations of certain types of shops at some of these intersections such as Maryland Plaza and Gaslight Square. Their eventual decline was influenced by economic and environmental factors, particularly in the case of the latter where the incursion of tawdriness and crime led to the entertainment center's demise.
Originally housing antique shops and music studios, Gaslight Square saw a buildup of quality restaurants and night spots which reached its zenith in the early 1960's. Maryland Plaza has suffered the loss of several of its prestige shops in recent years, following the pattern of emigration to new centers in St. Louis County. However, a redevelopment plan for the area is currently being promoted by an area group. Central West End's geographical situation in the City's central corridor, its interlacing by major streets and the proximity of Forest Park sparked its development as a major hotel center. This trend began with the Buckingham (later Kingsway) Hotel at the time of the World's Fair and climaxed with the Chase in 1922 and the Park Plaza in 1931.
The Chase Hotel and apartment group was designed by Preston J. Bradshaw, who designed many such structures during the 1920's, including the Coronado, Gateworth, Fairmont and Melbourne. The Park Plaza was the work of the architectural firm of Schopp and Baumann. While strong in hotels and apartments, the area did not generate any major theaters, probably because of the nearness of the midtown theaters on Grand Avenue. Neighborhood movie houses in the area included the Congress on Olive east of Sarah and the Delmar and West End Lyric on Delmar near Euclid. During the open air movie era, the City's finest such establishment was the West End Lyric-Skydome at Taylor and Delmar.
This area also featured the deluxe Cicardi's restaurant which flourished in the 1910-1925 period, being replaced by the Roosevelt Hotel. The Racquet Club at 476 North Kingshighway was built in 1907, for social and sports activity. Taylor and Olive was known for its doctors' offices in the Lister Building and Euclid and McPherson was famous for exclusive decorators, confectioners and fine shops. On Washington near Euclid were prestige automobile dealers for cars such as Pierce-Arrow. At present hopeful signs of commercial rejuvenation in the Central West End can be seen in the nearly completed state of Maryland Plaza and in the rehabilitation of the intersection of Euclid and Laclede.
Industrial activity in the Central West End is generally within the area bounded by Taylor Avenue on the west, Forest Park Boulevard on the north, and the Daniel Boone Expressway on the south. It extends eastwardly toward Grand Boulevard. Centered along the Wabash (Norfolk and Western) Railroad, the district is intensively built-up with a deficiency of space for parking. There has been a considerable turn over in industrial uses in the are. For example, the former Ford Motor Company assembly plant is now the Goodwill Industries store and the Independent Packing Company has been replaced by the Missouri Pacific freight terminal and yards. The area was and is characterized by a wide variety of uses and sizes of industries and there is no one predominating industrial use.
Railroads and Transit
Railroad service through the Central West End began with construction of the Wabash Railroad, then known as the St. Louis Kansas City and Western, shortly after the Civil War. Originally running at grade, the line has since been rebuilt in an open cut through Forest Park to Union and Lindell and thence westward to Delmar Station. It is now part of the Norfolk and Western System. Two of the many horse car lines operating in the City eventually penetrated into the Central West End by the 1880's. These were the Lindell Railway Company and the Missouri Railroad Company. The Lindell line reached Grand Avenue by 1878, and extended its tracks to Vandeventer in 1880, by way of Washington, Lucas and Delmar, returning over a loop on Finney to Grand.
In 1892, it ran west on Finney to Taylor and thence west on Delmar to DeBaliviere, and south into Forest Park, looping at the pavilion which later became the field house for golfers and tennis players. Another line of the Lindell Company came out Chouteau Avenue to Kingshighway in 1882, and by 1896, was extended westward along the south side of Forest Park. This firm also built cross-town lines on Vandeventer, Sarah, Euclid and Taylor by the early 1890's. All of its lines were electrified by 1890. After the transit consolidation of 1899, the Lindell east-west routes developed into the Delmar and Page lines.
The Missouri Railroad horse car line was built west on Olive Street to Grand by 1865. In the late 1880's, this line became a cable operation as far west as Sarah Street and was extended west to Kingshighway via Boyle and Maryland Avenues in 1889. This line ran a horse car during night hours until 1896, and ceased cable operations in 1900. Its cable line curves made necessary the angular cut off at the corners on Boyle at Olive and Maryland. These provided for a wider radius for the cable turn thereby lessening strain upon the cable. This route later became the Maryland-Olive line after electrification in 1901, and in 1949, the streetcars were replaced by buses. Another branch of the Missouri Railroad became the Laclede streetcar line in later years. It ran out Market Street and Laclede Avenue to Kingshighway and into Forest Park to a loop at a pavilion near Lindell.
It was electrified in the early nineties when the extension into the park was made. This portion was later abandoned when the Laclede line became a part of the Forest Park line in the 1930's. The Missouri Railroad also operated a branch on Vandeventer Avenue to Tower Grove station and later to Shaw's Garden. Another part of the Forest Park line was the old Lindell branch along the southern edge of Forest Park, which was later known as the Market Street line on Chouteau and Oakland Avenues. The former University line was built for the World's Fair and was later extended westward to Big Bend Boulevard. Double deck buses were run on lines on Lindell Waterman and Delmar-Washington by the People's Motor Bus Company after 1923.
The basic characteristic of the Central West End in recent years has been one of change. Large single family homes have been converted into multiple dwellings or have given way to apartment buildings. Expansion of the medical center and its redevelopment plan for the area augur well for the future, along with plans for the renaissance of Maryland Plaza. Erection of the Maryland Gardens apartments and rehabilitation of the Convent Garden apartment building are hopeful indicators of things to come.
The battle against vandalism and crime may be won by vigilance and action by progressive elements in the community. The area's assets of central location and urban convenience should attract new middle income residents to give the Central West End a favorable outlook for the future.
Scharf, J. Thomas - 'History of St. Louis City and County' - 1883
Stevens, Walter B. - 'St. Louis the Fourth City' - 1909
Compton & Dry - 'Pictorial St. Louis' - 1875
City Plan Commission - 'Community Development Plan Report' - 1973
Landmarks Association - 'The Elegant West End Tour Guide' - 1963
United Railways Co. - 'When St. Louis Moves' - 1926
Board of Aldermen - 'St. Louis Rapid Transit Report' - 1926
Chamber of Commerce - 'Forest Park and its History' - 1943
City Plan Commission - 'Central West End Report' - 1964