Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Westward Expansion

Westward Expansion

As we await the supposedly impending doom of the New I-64 reconstruction/closure, let's consider just how many major institutions of the St. Louis community that once were located close to the Mississippi River, have relocated at least once in their history. Most have moved west, although some south and some north.

  • Washington University was originally founded as Eliot Seminary in 1853, with classes beginning in 1856 at 17th and Washington near the edge of what is today the Loft District. Of course, its current campus along the city-county line was built beginning about 1900, used as headquarters for the 1904 World's Fair, then occupied by the university by early 1905.

  • Saint Louis University started out much earlier, in 1818 near Market and 2nd Streets (on the Archgrounds today). It was called St. Louis College at first. When the Jesuits took over it moved, in 1829, to 9th and Washington. Interestingly, in 1836 the college first considered a "suburban" relocation, to property it had purchased just uphill from what is now East Grand and North Broadway (then called Bellefontaine Road) -- hence the neighborhood is called College Hill even today. SLU did not relocate at that time, but instead remained downtown until 1888, when it moved again to 221 N. Grand, the current location of its main offices, DuBourg Hall. Again, in the early 1960s there was talk of moving the campus to some property donated by the Frost family in Berkeley, MO. Instead, the property was sold to McDonnell Douglas and the proceeds used to expand the main campus eastward into the Mill Creek Valley redevelopment area, hence the entire campus today at Grand and Lindell is called the Frost Campus.

  • Maryville University started out in 1872 as a Catholic, women-only boarding school located at what was then a rural location: Meramec and Nebraska in Dutchtown. It moved to its current location near US 40/I-64 and MO 141 in Town & Country, MO in 1961. The former building became Augustinian Academy, the St. Anthony of Padua parish high school for boys, closed in 1972, burned shortly thereafter, and was demolished in 1973. The site today contains the Maryville Gardens senior apartments and post office, built about 1977-78.

  • Fontbonne University started out, also as a Catholic, women-only institution, but much later: 1923. It was located at the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet motherhouse, 6400 Minnesota, until the present campus at Big Bend and Wydown in Clayton opened in 1925.

  • Also, the sisters' girls-only Catholic high school, St. Joseph's Academy, was located at that same location roughly from its founding in a two-room log cabin in 1836, until 1925 when it also relocated to the Fontbonne campus. However, the growth of the two institutions meant the high school relocated even further west in 1954, just thirty years later, to its present location at S Lindbergh and Litzsinger Rd. in the West County suburb of Frontenac MO.

  • Another sister institution, St. Joseph's Institute for the Deaf, also has origins at that log cabin in 1837, and continued at various locations, including the Carondelet compound, until relocating to a complex at 1483 82nd Blvd. in University City in 1934. The complex was expanded in 1956 and 1967, but ultimately sold to another denomination with the Institute's relocation in 1997 to the extensively renovated former Kangaroo shoe office/warehouse complex at 1809 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield. Although I must have missed something on this one, because the 1997 Post-Dispatch article on the move describes it as the school's"eighth [location] during its 160-year history." The school's website is surprisingly missing most of that history.

  • OK, so this posting is incredibly Catholic-centric; I'll try to cover other religious and secular institutions' past locations and their dates of moving out west in future posts.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Walkers will notice a medallion set into the sidewalk at 17th and Washington marking the spot of an early Washington University.