collection 05

Lost City

A Selection of Glass Plates of St. Louis, c. 1900


Glass plate photo of a not-so-grand riverboat, the hard-working kind used to transport goods like cotton and cattle.


When a good friend from Chicago offered me 5 boxes of century old glass plates, I jumped at the chance to own them. Presented here is a small selection of thirty images, circa 1900 St. Louis, Missouri. These images  represent views lost in time, in this instance, views never seen before. The land east of Washington University can be seen being cleared for the 1904 World’s Fair; and people played and picnicked in Tower Grove Park, one of the finest Victorian Parks left in the United States. The riverfront was busy with the coming and going of riverboats carrying goods from faraway places.

Industry was booming, and it was a grand time to be an American.

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Here you can see a view looking east at Forest Park in St. Louis, MO during the building of the great World’s Fair of 1904.
This photo c. 1902.


This statue still stands today, same spot at the corner of Lindell Boulevard and Kingshighway near Forest Park  in the Central West End, St. Louis.

The Compton Hill Water Tower, the newest of the City's three towers, is located at Grand and Russell Boulevards in South St. Louis. The tower, built on the 36 acre Reservoir Park, was completed in 1898 after a design by Harvey Ellis at a cost of $48,000.

The 179-foot tower is made of rusticated limestone, buff-colored brick and terra cotta. Its walls are adorned with carvings of mythical animals and leaf patterns. Inside, spiral steps take visitors to the top of the tower where an observation deck under a bell-shaped roof of terra cotta tiles offers a 360-degree view of the City of  St. Louis.

During the World's Fair in 1904, as many as 5,000 people visited the tower and promenaded in carriages through Reservoir Park.


In this composite,  c. 1902, you can see Washington University at the left. This young family looks over the bare land which is now Forest Park to observe the coming construction of the 1904 World’s Fair.


A rare view of Brookings Hall at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.  c. 1902. The man is unidentified.


A farm house in St Louis, c. 1902.

A simple, elegant St. Louis farm house at the dawn of the 20th century.


A team of horses grade the land for the coming construction of the 1904 World’s Fair.  Photo c. 1901-2.


St. Louis, 1900. View from the roof.

This church still stands today, more than 100 years after it’s construction.


The old City Art Museum, established in 1881 as the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts, a department of Washington University.  The Museum was initially located in a neo-Renaissance building at 19th and Locust Streets in downtown St. Louis under the direction of artist Halsey C. Ives.  Though the building is no longer, it’s collection has gone to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University.



Early view of the Saint Louis Art Museum.


To read more about these century old found images on The St. Louis Beacon, please click here: Photographic Treasure Finds Its Way Home by Robert W. Duffy