Throughout its entire history, St. Louis City Hall has been sadly neglected by the municipal government — even before it was built. Modeled after Paris' Hôtel de Ville, the edifice was scheduled for completion in 1892, but construction limped along for twelve additional years, paid for by a meager allowance from the Board of Aldermen's general revenue fund. The city finally scraped up enough money to finish it in 1904 — just in time for the World's Fair. Since then, roof tiles have fallen off, paint has chipped and faded, and the exterior walls have become encrusted with mold. Ten years ago then-Mayor Clarence Harmon proposed giving the building a good scrubbing — but, once again, there wasn't enough funding. Despite its current state of dilapidation, city hall remains one of the most beautiful buildings in St. Louis, and somehow representative of the city as a whole: neglected, but never abandoned, and somehow still functioning.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.