Former Harris Teachers College

Normal schools, where teachers were trained to teach in primary school education, were located throughout the State of Missouri. My own alma mater, Truman State, was long a teachers college. Harris Teachers College, built according to plans by William B. Ittner in 1905, was the location of the white teachers’ college in St. Louis. The African American teachers’ college was in The Ville, and known first as Sumner and then Stowe Teachers College. They combined together in 1954 after education was desegregated.

This is one of the more unique of Ittner’s designs, and I’m sure he was seeking to differentiate with his plan and ornamentation for this building since it was for secondary education as opposed to his normal St. Louis Public School commissions.

The central portal, which has long been a hallmark of Ittner and Milligan schools, is made of cut stone, and not terracotta.

It is sort of a mix of Tudor and Classical Baroque Revival elements, though that is not really adequate in the description of this wonderful blending of styles.

The head over the door is clearly Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.

The two twin flanking classroom wings are also beautiful, and they are not lacking in ornament, either. The focus on natural light was a hallmark of Ittner designs.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. My parents attended Harris in the late 40’s. Where in St. Louis is this located? Laclede? Off of Lindell? Thank you.
    Martha Rankin

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Harris Teachers College was located on South Theresa Ave just south of Park Avenue.

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