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Civil Courts Building - St. Louis, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 38° 37.635 W 090° 11.815
15S E 744013 N 4279141
Quick Description: Civil courts building for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri in downtown St. Louis.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 7/8/2007 5:34:48 PM
Waymark Code: WM1TPN
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member JimmyEv
Views: 167

Long Description:

The following is an excerpt from Missouri: A Guide to the 'Show Me' State, 1941 in the St Louis section:

The Civil Courts Building, Eleventh St. to Twelfth St. Blvd. , and Market to Chestnut Sts, faces the plaza's eastern extension.  A 14-story, 385-foot structure of Indiana limestone, it is the city's most controversial architectural medley.  The building  rises in modern office-building style to a setback at the 245-foot level (twelve floor) level.  There it is augmented by Ionic Greek temple, surmounted, in turn, by an Egyptian pyramid roof with two aluminum griffins at its crest.  The architectural peculiarities are partly the result of an effort by city officials to afford a higher accessible point than that reached by the near-by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company Building.  Completed in June, 1930, at a cost of $4,520,000, the building houses the Civil, Circuit, Probate, and Appeals  Courts other public offices.  An observation promenade surrounds the twelfth floor.  At Chestnut Street, on the Twelfth St. Boulevard side, a memorial flagpole with a sculptured stone base, the work of Victor S. Holm, commemorates veterans of the Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection, and China Relief Expedition.


From the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri website:

On February 9, 1923, the residents of the City of St. Louis voted a bond issue in the amount of $87 million for extensive city improvements, including the construction of the Civil Courts Building. The cornerstone of the new courthouse was laid February 3, 1928, and the building was dedicated and occupied on June 21, 1930. (Cost - $4,520,000). The architectural staff of the City of St. Louis Plaza Commission designed it.

Rising 255 feet above ground level, the building assumes the noble design of a Greek temple, a replica of the tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A massive colonnade of 32 Ionic columns surrounds the building, eight on each side. Each column, which is made up of a base, 6 fluted drums, and a cap, is about 42 feet high, 5 1/2 feet in diameter, and weighs about 65 tons.

The material in the columns, as well as the facing for the exterior of the entire building, comprise more than 15,000 pieces of limestone, quarried and milled at Bedford, Indiana. An eagle is perched at each of the four corners of the building above the colonnade. A frieze of griffins encircles the building below the colonnade.

The pyramidal-shaped roof of the building is made of cast aluminum. At the summit, there are two Greek sphinx-like figures, one facing east, and the other facing west. Each has the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle, and the face of a woman, with the fleur-de-lis of St. Louis adorned on the chest. Each measures 20 feet long, 12 feet wide and 12 feet tall. They too are made of aluminum which, together with the aluminum of the pyramidal roof, were connected with the steel framework of the building, serving as a lightning conductor. The two sphinx-like forms, towering 380 feet above the sidewalk, are hollow, the interior of each resembling a room of ordinary size, to which access is gained through an opening at the base.

Except for some of the ornamentation, the design of the Civil Courts Building carefully follows the original design of the ancient tomb; however, at the top, the sphinx-like figures were substituted for the sculpture of a 4-horse chariot driven by Mausolus and Artemisia.

The building remains the Civil Courts building serving the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri. 

Book: Missouri

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 314

Year Originally Published: 1941

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