Beaux-Arts design was often used in government buildings. The style provided a symbolism greatly desired by governments of the period: white stone buildings of immense scale with elaborate classical detailing represented the city as dignified, solid, authoritative and responsible.
The Municipal Courts Building, at 1320 Market Street was designed by Isaac Taylor, and constructed in 1911. It was a part of the 1907 Civic League's plan for new government buildings to be arrayed about Memorial Plaza. The four-story symmetrical building in white limestone has a rusticated raised basement. The central bay has a deeply-recessed entry under a round arch flanked by pilasters, with a stepped parapet wall above that interrupts the building's cornice. A Doric peristyle surrounds the main block of the building, and is continued in a range of pilasters on the other facades. The attic story displays triple windows and a heavy cornice with medallions. A balustrade crowns the parapet.
Art Deco Style
Art Deco design was used primarily in commercial and high rise residential structures. During the 1930's, however, it appeared in a short-lived wave of public building design in the United States.
The Federal Courthouse, at the corner of Market Street, and Tucker Boulevard is an Art Deco building. The stone building is on a raised base; a peristyle of multi-story columns with flat, stylized capitals supports a flared cornice. Above, the building steps back slightly at the fifth, ninth and tenth stories, each marked with a simple intermediate cornice, and is topped with a small penthouse. Windows are square with center casements and geometric muntin design.
In the 1930's the Moderne style appeared in a series of new neighborhood police stations constructed in several areas of St. Louis.,
The former Third District Police Station, at 1600 Penrose, in Hyde Park, is a one-story building of strong horizontal emphasis with walls of buff-colored brick. Brown brick marks the foundation and a multitude of string courses at the parapet and openings. A cornice of stylized arrowhead motif surrounds the building, which retains its vertical projecting sign.
Other Government Structures
Before interior plumbing became available to the majority of St. Louis citizens, bath houses were an important public service provided by the city. One of the last surviving examples of this building type is also the last to have been constructed. The St. Louis Avenue Bathhouse, designed by Building Commissioner Albert Osburg in 1937, is located at 1120 St. Louis Avenue. An Art-Deco design, this one-story brick building displays two entrances at each end of the front facade, flanked by terra cotta pilasters and surmounted by triangular hoods. Pilasters with stylized capitals also mark the corners of the building. A wide cornice of abstract ornament is supported by corbelled brick.
Public markets were still a common sight in the early part of the World's Fair City. The former Union Market, at Broadway and North 6th Street, was constructed in 1924, from a design by Mauran, Russell, and Crowell, replacing an older market on the site from 1866. It was not greatly successful, being one of the last examples of an older building type soon to be replaced by chain stores and delivery services. The market building features two-story Gothic arches with pilasters, and filled with decorative glazing. A restrained cornice with corbel table is set above the third story. Union Market closed in 1982; two additional stories were added to the building during its recent conversion to a hotel.
Soulard Market is the last functioning public market in St. Louis City; a market has existed at this site since the early 19th century. The current structure was constructed in 1929, the design of Albert E. Osberg. The main block of the market is based on Brunelleschi's Foundling Hospital, built in Florence, Italy in the Renaissance. The symmetrical building is five bays wide; its first story has a central, arched entry flanked by multi-light windows under a colonnade. The second story also has multi-light windows, grouped in pairs. Above are porthole windows, topped by a Romanesque corbel table under a pyramidal tile roof. Four open-air wings supported by metal posts extend from the main building.