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

Period 2 - The Victorian City and the Street Car (1870-1900)

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Transportation Structures

By the Victorian period the railroad industry was a major force in the U.S. economy, shaping many cities, including St. Louis. Three important railroad projects were completed in St. Louis during the Victorian period.

Railroad Stations 

Located on Market Street, between 18th and 20th streets, Union Station is one of the most recognizable buildings in St. Louis. Designed by Theodore Link in 1890, the asymmetrical Richardsonian Romanesque station is constructed of alternating wide and narrow courses of stone. Important architectural features include a high pitched hipped roof; a tall clock tower at the building's eastern block; a series of massive arched entries along Market Street, and a profusion of pinnacles and wall dormers. The Grand Hall, the former waiting room, and a series of other ornately-decorated rooms highlight the interior of the building. Union Station at the time of its construction was one of the largest terminals ever built; the train shed, by George H. Pegram, the largest of its kind.

Steel Suspension Bridge 

The Eads Bridge, constructed in 1874, was the first steel suspension bridge in the world, and the first to span the Mississippi River. The bridge was the work of James Buchanan Eads, and was the only bridge he ever designed. Its structure consists of granite-faced limestone piers sunk into the riverbed, which are attached to tubular steel trusses supporting both vehicular and railroad decks. The use of steel instead of traditional cast iron was revolutionary, and laid the groundwork for later advances in engineering technology.

Railroad Tunnel 

In 1874, along with Eads bridge, a railroad tunnel was constructed under downtown from the train depot, then at 11th and Poplar Streets, to the foot of Eads Bridge. The tunnel itself is constructed of brick and stone, with cast iron supports. Today, like Eads Bridge, the railroad tunnel is used by Metro-Link.

Street Car Structures

During the Victorian period, omnibuses and later street cars became an important part of life for city residents. Public transportation allowed the development of residential neighborhoods outside the core city. One of the few remaining St. Louis structures associated with the street car is the Street Car Transformer Station, at 5100 Delmar Boulevard. Like many public structures of this period, the building's utilitarian purpose was deliberately disguised-transformed into a romantic Victorian conceit: in this case, a Romanesque castle. The street facade of the building is tall and narrow, and has three bays; its primary element a projecting, battlemented tower with blind lancet windows and heavy corbelling. Flanking bays have low brick gables and pilasters. Side facades are six bays of tall arched windows, arranged in pairs. The actual entrance to the building was at the rear.

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