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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Industrial and Manufacturing Buildings

The design of industrial and manufacturing structures changed after the turn of the 20th century. Like other property types, new construction methods of steel frame and reinforced concrete became common; facilities grew larger to accommodate technological advances in mechanization, and the current architectural styles were reflected in the buildings' exteriors. Romanesque Revival, so prevalent in the Victorian period, began to give way, at first to the Arts and Crafts style, and later to modern styles like Art Deco. Under their influence, buildings became more functional in their exterior appearance.


The American Brake Company complex, at 1934 North Broadway, north of Lacledes Landing, was constructed in two phases. The first building on the site was the office facility, a three-story, red brick building in the Renaissance Revival style, constructed in 1901 from designs by Weber and Groves. The building has a rusticated first story. The two-story entry is placed beneath a terra cotta entablature supported by brick pilasters. A semi-circular door head is set above, filled with a decorative roundel. Windows to either side and above are paired beneath segmental arches, also displaying roundels. A heavy bracketed cornice is broken by a central shaped gable. The same ornate decoration continues for the first bay of each side elevation; the remainder of the building has banks of rectangular windows with transoms.

In 1919, Eames and Young designed a factory addition attached at the rear of this building. Far more modern in appearance, the factory has little ornamentation: banks of large windows are deeply recessed into the wall surface; the pilasters between each bank run the full height of the building to a simple parapet.

The millwork and machine building at 1931 North Broadway was designed for the Hall and Brown Woodworking Company by Gerhard Becker in 1910, a St. Louis architect who designed numerous industrial buildings during the early 20th century. The red brick, two-story building, in the Romanesque Revival style, has a three-bay front facade with center vehicle entry. Second story windows of the center bay are round-arched; those of the flanking bays have segmental arches. The bays are delineated with corbelling below a simple, paneled cornice. The first story windows have been infilled with brick. The adjacent building at 1935 North Broadway was constructed for the company a few years later. Of similar scale, it is a subdued representation of industrial Arts and Crafts design: its only decoration paneled spandrels beneath the industrial sash windows, and light corbelling above each bay.

The present Guth Lighting facility, at 2623 Washington, was constructed in 1912. The reinforced concrete structure has red brick walls (currently painted gray). The monumental first story of the five-bay front facade displays recessed industrial sash windows, with heavy mullions and transoms. The entry, placed within the center bay, has sidelights and an entablature. The four upper stories above an intermediate cornice are separated by piers into bays, each containing stacked industrial sash windows and spandrels. A heavy projecting cornice with brackets marks the parapet. The rest of the building is unarticulated, and its slab and pier concrete construction can be clearly seen.


The facility at 1510-1518 North Broadway was constructed in 1905, by Charles Mueller, for the Gast brewery, as an office, depot and stable. The asymmetrical red brick building has two stories; the entry is at the right, and has a stone surround of alternating smooth and rough-faced bands. Windows of both the first and second stories are set in pairs. The dominant feature of the building is a large, brick gable, projecting above the roof line, and interrupting the simple copper cornice. The gable has a tall center window, flanked by smaller windows.

Automobile Manufacturers

By 1910, the automotive industry was beginning to have a major impact on the economy of St. Louis, which was home to many small independent automobile manufacturers. The Dorris Motor Company had a manufacturing and sales facility in St. Louis at 4100 Laclede. It was the first company in the city to produce automobiles. Designed by John Ludwig Wees, the 1912 building is three stories tall and a fine example of the use of Arts and Crafts details in industrial design. The first story of the building is sheathed in white terra cotta, and displays large storefront windows. Above on the second and third stories, industrial sash windows are recessed only slightly into the walls, and delicate terra cotta decoration appears at the corner bays and parapets, and forms a belt course at the second floor level. The facility has been rehabilitated into condominiums.

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