A Preservation Plan for St. Louis
Part II:  Property Types

Period 3 - The World's Fair City & the Automobile (1904-1940)

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The most important warehouse buildings still standing are the Cupples Station Complex, located just west of Busch Stadium. Most of this group of ten remaining buildings were constructed in Period III, although the oldest dates from 1894. Several of the warehouses were demolished during construction of Interstate 64. The complex itself was the inspiration of Robert Brookings, a partner in the Samuel Cupples Woodenware Company, and when constructed, the complex was internationally acclaimed as the ultimate in warehouse design. Brookings connected the buildings to the railroad with a system of tunnels and spur lines: raw material could be transported directly beneath the buildings by rail, and brought by elevators to the upper floors, where the finished products were manufactured. The products reversed the journey, returning to the ground floor to be shipped to merchandisers. The savings in transportation costs and time was substantial over the earlier process of goods sent and delivered by wagon from railroad station and riverfront.

Almost exclusively the work of one architectural firm, Eames and Young, the Cupples Station warehouses are unified by material, scale and architectural style. All Romanesque Revival designs, the multi-story, heavy timber structures each display a prominent two-story base with tall arches sheltering multi-light windows, and an intermediate cornice. Above are multi-story piers dividing the facades into window bays, with brick spandrel panels below. Attic stories generally have a row of smaller arched windows regularly spaced across each elevation. Brick detailing throughout is elegant, but restrained; the major ornamental elements are confined to the major entries, which carry classically-inspired stone or terra cotta surrounds.

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