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Webster Elementary School, Renovation Begins

Built in 1908 to replace two earlier school buildings on the circular Clinton Place, and closing in 2007, the William Ittner-designed Webster School is officially seeing new life as apartments. Clinton Place was the southernmost of three circular parks originally planned in the North St. Louis town plat way back in the 1840s, and it was always intended to be a school. Jackson place to the north is still a park, and the northernmost one is still a church. Clinton Street goes to the west, while to the east the interstate interrupts the street grid.

Webster School Grounds, March 1941, Missouri History Museum, P0900-21802-01-4a

While the parcels are still there, circular in shape and all from a legal perspective, when the final Webster School building was built, the curving streets around the school were closed off.

Webster School. Easter Egg Roll, March 1941, Missouri Histroy Museum, P0900-15321-01-4n

The school building almost made it a full century before closing.

It received a strange but not entirely unsuccessful extension out the eastern elevation in the 1960s, for what I assume was a gym.

It’s an interesting school architecturally, recalling the villas of Rome with its twin towers. We see that in the Humboldt School in Soulard.

The architecture is a bit eclectic and a little Tudor Revival.

The backside facing west shows some of the interior demolition work going on as part of the rehab work going on.

The original building consisted of this Italianate building with two flanking wings that faced west down Clinton Street.

Webster School, 2127 N. 11th Street, Photograph by William Swekosky, before 1908, Missouri History Museum, N07061

There was also what I believe to be an earlier building in more of a Greek Revival style that sat in the middle of the circle to the east. Both buildings already appeared in Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis in 1876.

Webster School, 11th and Clinton Streets, Photograph by Emil Boehl, c. 1878, Missouri History Museum, N33356

And both buildings were presumably demolished right before the construction of the current school in 1908.

Webster School, 11th Near Clinton, Photograph by William Swekosky, before 1908, Missouri History Museum, N07060

See another school in St. Louis that underwent a similar transformation here.

5 Comments

  1. It is wonderful news that they will be renovating this beautiful old school.

    • That is a good question. I assume that St. Louis Public Schools would still have them, if anyone.

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