The Architecture Links page includes every web site I've ever found that had information even remotely related to St. Louis's buildings. Unfortunately, given the nature of the World Wide Web, that makes it little more than a starting point. For a detailed subject like architecture, there is far more data available in print than could ever be found on the Internet. Much of this information is easily available to the public. If you're looking for data on a particular topic, places to try include:
- The Web. You've got the starting point right in front of you; my site's links page has dozens upon dozens of links to architecture-related sites. Several recommended places to look for specific information (or to find a person to ask quesions of) include the Missouri Historical Society, the American Institute of Architects - St. Louis, Landmarks St. Louis, the Community Information Network (the city's home page), and the grassroots city boosters at Metropolis (especially their mailing list, the StLouIST, which is frequented by lots of people who are knowledgeable about the city.)
- Google.com. Right now this seems to be the best search engine on the web. Type in any phrase and Google will find it for you. It's a great way to look for highly specific information.
- Ebay.com. If you're looking for old images of St. Louis, try a search for "st. louis" along with "postcard", "postcards", "architecture", and "building". You'll come up with hundreds of old photographs and prints of the city, all for sale, and most with scans of the images. I've gained a lot of information on the city's downtown this way.
- Bookstores. Most book stores have a section entitled "Local Interest" that contains all sort of regional books. Some of these will be architecture-related. Even non-architecture books often have photos of architectural interest, particularly if you're after historical pictures. If you don't already have it, buy a copy of George McCue's "Guide to St. Louis Architecture", a terrific handbook of the area's buildings and a good starting point for research.
- The Public Library. The downtown branch of the St. Louis library maintains several voluminous files of newspaper clippings related to local buildings from the last 20 years or so; ask at the Arts desk to see the Building Files for whatever particular building you're interested in. The Central West End branch has a whole shelf full of local books; other branches probably have some as well. Many of these are out of print volumes that won't be found anywhere else; they are definately worth digging through.
- The Mercantile Library. No relation to Mercantile Bank, this is one of the oldest libraries in the country. It's private, so you'll have to sign in and have someone assist you, but if you're looking for older articles on a building, this is a terrific resource. They have the files of the St. Louis Globe going back to the 1920s and earlier (this is where I got the oldest articles on the Continental Building.)
- Missouri Historical Society (Skinker Boulevard). A fabulous and very comprehensive resource. They have all sorts of old records, journals, and newspaper articles, and other resources that I don't even know about myself. The building itself is a treat, as well. Register with the desk in front, then ask for assistance; the staff is very helpful.
- The History Museum (in Forest Park). Their exhibits often contain historical building info, and their gift shop has many books on old St. Louis. If you're after World's Fair info, this is a good place to start.
- City Hall taxation/land deed records. I've never done this myself, but apparently in the basement of City Hall there are records of every land transaction recorded in the city of St. Louis. These can give important clues to a building's ownership. Open during business hours.
- Washington University libraries. You can do a search on their computers for any journal references to your topic. It's likely that the libraries have the journals, as well, or can get it for you. Most of the architecture journals will be housed in the Steinberg Library, in the second floor of the funky 1950s building at the front of campus. To get to the library, go up the steps on the parking lot side of the building. Ignore the glass doors in front of you; go to the left and go in the door that looks like a fire escape. Go up the stairs, turn right at the top. The library is on your left.
You're also welcome to email me with questions; however, be advised that I probably won't have the answer if it's not already on the site. Most likely I'll refer you the the StLouIST. Furthermore, I don't even live in St. Louis anymore, so I can't do much in the way of research on local buildings and architects.
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