812 Olive Street
Architect: Tom P. Barnett Co.
Developed by Edward Mallinckrodt as downtown’s first office building with an enclosed shopping arcade, the Arcade Building (also known as the Arcade-Wright Building) envelops the earlier Wright Building (1906) at the northwest corner of Eighth and Pine streets, designed by Eames & Young. Master of the picturesque and eclectic Tom P. Barnett designed the new building in the Gothic Revival style, a stylistic idiom well-suited to the two-story vaulted arcade inside. Construction began in 1917 while World War I claimed America’s steel supply, so the Arcade was built in reinforced concrete. Briefly, the building was the world’s largest reinforced concrete building. The exterior today retains the building’s characteristic lancet arched retail and entrance openings, with ornate bosses, terra cotta tracery at the top of the northern section, and dramatic bay windows facing Eighth and Olive streets. Gone is the original terra cotta cladding on the piers that terminated in projecting gargoyles above; the piers were reclad in brick during the 1930s after failure on the terra cotta anchoring.
The Aracde closed its interior in 1979, and the last retail tenants (and most of the brass fixtures, including exterior and interior lights and the building’s name plaques) were gone by the time the Pyramid Companies purchased the building in 2001. Pyramid started rehabilitation in 2007, but stopped when the company closed its doors in 2008. Today, a new redevelopment plan is close to being set while the City of St. Louis has resumed interior demolition work.
The brochure published here is an undated promotional publication of the Isaac T. Cook & Company, which managed the Arcade Building. Cook & Company maintained its office in the Arcade Building upon its completion in 1919. This brochure includes illustrations of the new building as well as several floor plans. Notations on the plans come from Arthur Fuldner, agent for Oreon E. & R. G. Scott, from whose files the brochure comes.
Preservation Research Office:
Deadline for City’s Arcade Building RFP is September 30 (2010)
This page written by Michael R. Allen with Laurel Morris.