Midtown


St. Louis University and St. Francis Xavier Church

St. Louis University's first building on its midtown campus was DuBourg Hall, at Grand and West Pine, which was completed in 1888 and designed by Henry Switzer. The modified Gothic style structure was named for Bishop William Louis DuBourg, who founded the St. Louis Academy in 1818, a predecessor school which later evolved into the present University. This lineage entitles St. Louis University to be known as the oldest college west of the Mississippi.

Administration of the college was undertaken by the Jesuits in 1829 when the school moved into a building on a new site at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue. Three years later the college received its charter as a university from the state leqislature.

Growth of the institution caused its downtown campus to become crowded with buildings by the late 1860's and a tract of land at Grand and Lindell was purchased in 1867 as the site of its new campus. When the move into DuBourg Hall was made, the school's enrollment was only about 400.

Since then the history of the University has been one of continuing expansion, with new buildings erected not only on the original block square campus, but on sites in all directions.

Among notable structures built in recent years are the Pope Pius XII Memorial Library, the Griesedieck Memorial Hall dormitory and the Computer Center, all on the west campus. St. Louis University expanded its campus east of Grand Boulevard in 1962 when 22 1/2 acres of slum cleared property in the Mill Creek Valley Redevelopment Area were purchased as part of the school's 150th anniversary program. Busch Memorial Student Center, a Science and Engineering Center, several classroom buildings, lecture halls, an athletic field and extensive parking lots have been constructed on the new campus. This work, as well as acquisition of the Coronado and Melbourne Hotels for dormitory uses, has been accomplished through funding from the Anniversary Development Program. Two older buildings closely identified with the University's history are Chouteau House and the St. Francis Xavier Church, popularly known as the College Church because of its relationship to St. Louis University.

Chouteau House was formerly the residence of Samuel Cupples, founder of the nation's largest woodenware business. The Romanesque style granite mansion at 3673 West Pine Boulevard was built about 1890. It was acquired by the University in 1946 for use as offices and a student center and is now used for adult education activities. It is named for Charles Chouteau who was the first student enrolled under Jesuit administration.

St. Francis Xavier parish was organized in 1840 and its first church at Ninth Street and Lucas Avenue, adjoining St. Louis University was consecrated in 1843. The cornerstone of the present church at Grand and Lindell was laid in 1883 and the building was occupied in 1888.

It is in the English Gothic style, built of native limestone and was designed by architect Henry Switzer. The church was dedicated in 1898 and its tower was added in 1914, when its bells were installed. They were cast in Seville, Spain in 1789 and were brought to New Orleans by Lutherans and later were brought to St. Louis by the Jesuits. The church has fine marble altars and has unusually fine vaulting in the ceiling. A marble tablet in the vestibule commemorates the sparing of the lives of the University's residents during the cholera epidemic in 1849.

Pope Pius XII Memorial Library of St. Louis University was completed in 1959 from designs by Leo A. Daly Co. It is notable as the depository for the only microfilm collection of eleven million pages of Vatican manuscripts.

Interesting facts about the University include the first college operated radio station in 1922 and the first college department of geophysics in the Western Hemisphere.

On the University's south campus, in the vicinity of South Grand and Caroline Street, is its Medical School. Its history goes back to 1836, but it languished until 1841 when it became more firmly established. It became known as the St. Louis Medical College in 1842, when it occupied a house on Washington Avenue near Tenth Street. By 1849, it had a larger home at Seventh and Clark where it did well until it ran aroul of the superstition and bigotry of that time. Because of this, an amiable severance took place between the University and its medical department in 1855. The school existed independently until 1891 when it became the nucleus for Washington University's medical school.

St. Louis University re-established its medical department in 1903 when it acquired the merged Marion-Sims-Beaumont Hospital medical college. A new building, named Schwitalla Hall, in honor of its famous dean, was completed in 1948 and a new medical research wing, Doisy Hall was dedicated in 1968.

The medical school is augmented by two hospitals; Firmin Desloge, a fifteen story institution opened in 1933 and Cardinal Glennon Hospital for Children at Grand Boulevard and Park Avenue. An active expansion program is underway, including a dentistry school wing and additional research facilities, as well as extensive additions to the hospitals.

Washington University's medical school had its beginning in 1891, when the St. Louis Medical College, formerly the medical department of St. Louis University, merged with the Missouri Medical College. The latter school was begun in 1875 at the northeast corner of 23rd and Lucas. After the merger, the combined schools moved into a new building on Locust Street west of 18th Street in 1899 to form the medical school of Washington University.


Image-St. Louis University and St. Francis Xavier Church.