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Old Post Office
815 Olive Street
Architect: Alfred B. Mullet
Designed in the typically heavy-handed Second Empire style, this is the best surviving example of the style in St. Louis, and one of only two of Mullet's buildings to survive (the other is adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC.) The style was meant to project an image of solidity and security in the wake of the Civil War years. When first built, the building caused an outcry due to its then-remote location away from the center of town; however, the business district soon caught up with it.
The Old Post Office survived a long series of challenges to its survival in the 1960s and 1970s. It has been used for the last two decades by both private and government entities; however, the decline of the surrounding area has negatively affected the viability of the building's commercial uses. Its fortress-like exterior (complete with an actual 2-story moat designed to bring natural light to the basement levels) is not conducive to retail activity. It is currently being renovated for the use of Webster University and the State Court of Appeals.
An ornate sculpture group once graced the south entry tower, till it was discovered that pollution was hastening its decay. A duplicate was placed on the exterior, while the original now resides inside the building itself. This happy solution preserves both the building's appearance and original materials, while allowing visitors to inspect the work up close.