Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Washington Terrace Gate

I recently had my picture taken in front of the gates of Washington Terrace. The houses are just as architecturally significant and beautiful as any mansion on the more famous Portland or Westmoreland Places. The color of the brick, combined with the rich black stone creates a harmonious composition just south of the intersection of Union and Delmar.
Gates of these type are spread throughout the city, from Compton Heights to the old Vandeventer Place, to Washington Terrace.
Built right around the World's Fair, when the city was just starting to creep out to where the fair was located in western Forest Park, these houses supposedly housed visiting dignitaries to the fair. I don't know if that's necessarily true, but it makes for a good story, perhaps.
The combination of old world elements, like the rampant lion and the stark, "Norman Revival" architecture of the gatehouse itself, makes a stern message: the titans of St. Louis industry and politics live here, and you're not welcome.
Below is an historic photograph, showing the guardhouse before any of the houses have been built. It's so strange to see nothing but wide open spaces in one of the most intact portions of the city.
The two architects for the gate, Harvey Ellis, designed City Hall, Compton Hill Watertower and other notable buildings, and George Mann designed the recently featured St. Vincent's Hospital off of the Rock Road.


  1. Tom Maher - KirkwoodJanuary 24, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    I could be wrong on the specific gatehouse, but - at one time the trustees of the association allowed a college student or two to live in the gate tower for gratis, in return for yard work done on the "public" areas of the subdivision.
    Dunno if this practice is still followed by this or a similar gatehouse.
    I know it occurred in the '50s, as I had a friend who had a WashU buddy who lived there.
    It would be interesting to find someone who was a resident either of the gatehouse or of the subdivision to comment.

    1. You are right. That was the practice when we moved onto the street in
      1975. But in recent years (the lasts decade) the gate house has been used
      as a police substation, which greatly enhances security.

      - A resident

  2. That would have to be one of the most unique houses in St. Louis if someone lived in there.

  3. Tom Maher - KirkwoodJanuary 24, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    It's listed in the National Register of Historic Places, ppg. 47-8: http://www.dnr.mo.gov/shpo/nps-nr/07000549.pdf
    I did a cursory Search on Google for some "residency" info but found nada. I am positive about my earlier post concerning "student housing" - sure wish I could remember WHICH gate house was involved, though...
    Maybe contact WashU School of Architecture? That seems a natural for a student referral.
    It does have three stories of space.


A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.