Walbridge Elementary, in Walnut Park, has some pesky trees in the way that make taking clear shots of its entire front facade difficult. Luckily a photograph from the 1950s shows just what a beautiful composition the school is.
It was designed by Rockwell Milligan and opened in 1922. It continues the Ittner/Milligan firm’s tradition of synthesizing historical styles together, but as usual with many of the elementary schools, and unlike the high schools, the design moves to the south of Europe.
Walbridge’s front portal’s architectural style can be best described as a restrained version of the churrigueresque style, a flamboyant variant of the Baroque expressed by Native American sculptors in Latin America. Compare the portal to the more “pure” Baroque Revival front entrance of Shenandoah Elementary in Tower Grove East. Milligen’s work in this style reaches its apex of complexity in the former Kennard Elementary School.
Taking European American architects’ designs, they combined it with the often florid decoration of Pre-Columbian sculpture. This is a wonderful school, and a gem that is still open.