The Crossroads of the World: Grand and Gravois

South Side National Bank, 3606 Gravois Avenue, Photograph by W.C. Person, Paril 26, 1929, Missouri History Museum, N33145

Inspired by a World Wide Magazine visit to the intersection of Grand and Gravois, I photographed the old South Side National Bank. It’s been turned into condos or apartments. It was going to be demolished for a Walgreen’s but cooler heads prevailed.

It’s sort of St. Louis’s own shorter version of the Empire State Building.

The whole intersection used to be much more urban, but the two northern corners have been demolished; on the northeast is a gas station and on the northwest is a White Castle.

View of the Corner of Grand and Gravois, December 18, 1944, Missouri History Museum, N37008

Further south down Grand, there are more suburban style storefronts that have various tenants, such as this one below which moved into the old Aldi’s that took over the Shop N’ Save in Gravois Plaza when the latter was bought out by Schnuck’s.

Update: As a reader stated in the comments below, the building below did in fact open as one of a chain of Route 66 medical marijuana dispensaries in March of 2021.

I have no idea what is going on below with this former fast food restaurant.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Dan Lewis says:

    Pete Parisi and World Wide Magazine, alas he left us much too soon.
    I remember the Grand corridor well from back in the 1960’s, I’d ride the bus with my Grandma to shop in that area, she banked at the South Side National Bank. I believe there was a roller rink that we went to in the buildings that used to be where the White Castle is now. The Ritz theater, the old Sears store and Ben Franklin at Grand and Chippewa were a regular stops also.

  2. ME says:

    In that 1st photo from 1929, I see well kept bldgs, operational street car lines, clean streets with no litter, no one roaming the streets in pajama pants, etc. What happened to us as a society? Seems like our smartphones have outsmarted us!

  3. Jtw says:

    What do you reckon that truck is doing backed up to the building in the first picture?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      That is a really great question. Fuel oil delivery? I’ve never seen a tanker truck like that before.

    2. Stacey Welty says:

      Does anybody remember the name of the music store that was on the northwest corner of Grand & Gravois back in the 60s?

      1. Victoria B Matheus says:

        It was the Ludwig Music Studio. I took piano lessons there as a kid for several years. Wish I could find a photo of it. Wonderful building with a grand staircase.

  4. Jtw says:

    Could be heating oil, there is an iron door in the sidewalk right there, to me it doesn’t seem like that truck would hold enough to heat a building of that size for very long…

  5. T says:

    This building has a starring role in a book released this past September, A Universe Less Traveled by Eric Von Schrader! Great read, too!

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      The South Side National Bank building?

    2. Julie says:

      I’m reading that book right now, so of course I had to Google “the intersection of Gravous and Grand.” And that brought be here. Wish I could see “High Def Saint Louis” also. ☺️

  6. anthony says:

    The former fast food joint is going to be a marijuana dispensary. Anytime they brick up the windows of a building, that’s likely what is going in as is the case here.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Ah, interesting! Thanks for the insight on the building.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.