Category Archives: Beaux-Arts

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri


I like the Nelson Atkins building a lot; it’s from that period where Neoclassical architecture in America became much more serious, severe and more modern.

Anchored by the standard four colonnades on each front, it recently saw a massive expansion project that we will look at later.

Bas-relief panels illustrate what is presumably the history of Kansas City.

The original smokestack and shuttlecock make an interesting pair of opposites.

Near North Riverfront

I love the area of the riverfront north of Laclede’s Landing; anchored by the slender Cotton Belt Warehouse (see it here, here and here), the area yearns for reinvestment.

Also, I realized I had photographed this warehouse in the past as well. It is a legacy of the area’s importance in the storage of produce and other foodstuffs.

This old power plant, shorn of its smokestack, is another interesting building sitting along the riverfront.

But the Ashley Street Power Plant never ceases to amaze me; it is an ornate building, built in the Beaux-Arts style, and is a temple to electricity, and now steam.

Tazewell County Courthouse, Pekin, Illinois

The Tazewell County Courthouse is a fantastic example of Beaux-Arts architecture in the early Twentieth Century, and is also listed on the National Register.The building was designed by the firm of Deal & Ginzel, a partnership between John Deal, an experienced builder turned architect, and the more classically trained architect Roland Ginzel.The firm built numerous public buildings throughout central Illinois, including courthouses and high schools.I love the detailing on this building, including the huge, ornate, almost baroque entrances on all four sides of the building.It’s a stern building, without any frivolity or even a dome like so many courthouses in the Midwest, but it makes for a powerful presence in the middle of downtown Pekin.

AT&T Exchange Building

Built in stages, the Bell Telephone Exchange, or AT&T, depending on how you look at, is an interesting example of early 20th Century utility architecture.Showing the influence of the Beaux-Arts style, this building could have easily just been a giant brick box.But clearly its builders believed that people deserved better than that, and this building is much more ornate than it needs to be functional. I love the two telephone booths that still stand inside the fence.