Shaw’s City House

Originally located at the southwest corner of 7th and Locust streets, Henry Shaw’s city or “winter” house was moved to the Missouri Botanical Garden after his death in 1891 (Harriett Scott died in an alley dwelling behind Shaw’s house). Honestly, by 1891 his house would have been surrounded by the first skyscrapers and I wonder how much time he was actually spending at this residence; it was certainly not the residential neighborhood when he first built the manse. A newspaper article at the time estimated his wealth at around two million dollars, but clearly he felt no need to build an enormous house, preferring to keep his smaller city home and country villa from before the Civil War.

It’s actually sort of an interesting story; the probate court judge agreed that Mr. Shaw’s last will and testament, which required that his house be disassembled and rebuilt where it is today was “burdensome” and expensive, but that that his wishes had to be carried out regardless, to the tune of $10,000. The original house is on the right or north side, and the first five arches of the loggia, visible in Compton and Dry are original.

As can obviously be seen (and the brick is slightly redder) the loggia was expanded to the south, and a matching pavilion was added to the south. You can see how the cornice below the roofline is simpler than the original house to the north.

It now functions as a library, apparently, as well as offices. I have described it as Italianate, though that seems a bit insufficient.

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