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St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center

Designed by William Rumbold–who also aided in the design of the Old Courthouse–when St. Louis was still in St. Louis County, the giant edifice that was once called the Insane Asylum dominates the southwestern portion of the city, on the highest elevation.

I love the front colonnade; its columns are far too large for the size of the pediment, but that’s what I love about American architecture: always breaking the rules in favor of innovation. It is also not original, but built slightly later.

Accompanying a group of middle schools students, I was given access with the children to the cupola, which contrary to popular opinion, was not the location of the head doctor’s office. It is a stunning structure, and along the way, as you can see above, craftsmanship was everywhere, even in closed areas.

The cupola is reached by a work of art in itself, a free standing spiral staircase, held up by only the central iron post covering with wainscoting.

The view, of course, is spectacular.

5 Comments

    • Seems to mostly have been former employees and painters who left it behind. It’s fairly common to see this type of “employee register” tucked away in the rafters of many old buildings I’ve visited.

  1. Thanks for posting this. I live in the neighborhood and have been curious about the view from the dome. Do you know why the dome is not lit up at night? I thought at one time it was.

    • Inside or outside? I saw all of the light fixtures to illuminate both inside and outside. I am not sure why they stopped doing it.

  2. Thank you so much for the interior photos. I have always wanted to go inside this regal building.

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