A Vanished Mansion at the Corner of Lindell Boulevard and Kingshighway

William Swekosky, 2 Westmoreland Place, 1959-60, Missouri History Museum, N07571

As I always tell people, if you come across a house that is much newer than all the houses around it, you need to be suspicious. Take 2 Westmoreland Place, built in 1895 by Henry Siegrist, an automobile lubricant executive on lot 33 of the Forest Park Addition. It passed through various owners before being demolished in 1961. The photo about is probably from around the time of its demolition. It was replaced by the house below, built in 1989.

But as you can see below, the garage or carriage house below once stretched the property back all the way to Lindell, or as it was originally platted out, Park Road (there’s a 100 foot long stretch of the latter left at Union Boulevard).

William Swekosky, Henry A. Siegrest Residence, 2 Westmoreland Place, 1961, Missouri History Museum, N07558

That little building is still standing, though interestingly it now has a different owner.

There is also a smaller building to the south.

The interior of the mansion was amazing, as can be seen in this photograph below, when it was under the ownership of James Campbell.

Staircase Landing at the James Campbell Residence at 2 Westmoreland Place, William Albert Swasey, Architect, c. 1900, Missouri History Museum, N33548

In addition to its sumptuousness, you can also see just how large of a piece of land #2 possessed; it was easily one of the largest estates in the area, as seen in the lower right of this Sanborn Map.

Northwest Corner of Kingshighway and Lindell Boulevard, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, December 1909, Sheet 098

Lots One and Two of the Forest Park Addition are a fascinating relic of a lost mansion, and a quiet corner of a very busy intersection.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Dorris Keeven-Franke says:

    Do you know anything about this James Campbell? Robert Campbell had a cousin by that name.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      I was wondering if he was somehow related to Robert Campbell. It is certainly possible.

  2. Christian Saller says:

    James or “Jim” Campbell was a well known financier and power broker with nearly unmatched influence in the St. Louis of his day. His fortune came largely from railroads and as I recall, he was not said to be a highly educated or cultured individual. Many of his neighbors on Westmoreland and Portland attended elite eastern schools and looked down on Mr. Campbell, who was a more rough hewn, self made man with little use for pretentious high society. He was friendly with William Marion Reedy and other local journalists. Theodore Dreiser also knew Campbell during his time in St. Louis. Campbell is said to have financed a local satirical publication that poked fun at the hoity toity society types who lived all around him. Campbell was both respected and feared for his business acumen and power, but not considered quite the right kind of person by his Harvard and Princeton-educated peers, who might still approach old Jim for a favor or even a loan. He was financially in league with Adolphus Busch, another St. Louis magnate eschewed by the St. Louis Country Club set.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Interesting, thanks for the information!

      1. Christian Saller says:

        Thanks for an interesting piece on a vanished, landmark mansion. Currently the Post Dispatch has a story and video on a Lindell mansion (5045) right by the site of the original #2 Westmoreland. The Lindell house was also designed by Albert Swasey and has a magnificent staircase very much like the demolished Westmoreland house had. One of the grandest homes ever built in St. Louis was right nearby, where The Chase now sits. The 45-room J.W. Kaufman mansion was a landmark and was later named “Bixby farm” after subsequent owner William K. Bixby, who also lived at various times in Portland Place. Kaufman’s original estate included the enormous house, outbuildings, including greenhouses, and extended from Lindell on the south to Maryland on the north, east to Euclid, and bounded by Kingshighway on the west. It was built in the 1880s and torn down circa 1922 after Bixby sold it for development of The Chase. Bixby then moved back to Portland Place (#26) where he died in 1931. These guys were essentially businessmen, unsentimental about preserving structures in the face of progress, including urbanization of what had been recently been a country retreat.

        1. cnaffziger says:

          Oh yeah, that one was amazing! Supposedly the largest house in St. Louis City.

  3. Christian Saller says:

    Shocking that many of these houses, seemingly built to last forever, were taken down less than 40 years after they were built! This includes most of the mansions on the north side of Lindell between Grand and Spring. The Charles McClure mansion at 3671 only lasted about 35 years. Same is true of many of NYC Fifth Avenue mansions, some of which stood for a scant 25 years.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      It is maybe not as shocking if you think at how little we bat an eye when a building of that age is demolished in our own time. Are many people going to be shocked at the demolition of Jamestown Mall (though admittedly not well built as these mansions were)?

  4. Christian Saller says:

    Oh, we are still a “throw away society” in more ways than ever, but yes, I would have thought that the quality of construction and architectural pedigree of some of these structures would have given them greater durability. I guess the aesthetic had a very limited shelf life. A taste for modernism made the ornate, knobby, asymmetrical historic styles of the 19th century seem dowdy and old-fashioned. Often heirs of the builders were the ones who demolished their own childhood homes rather than occupy them. Obviously the Depression and tax burdens influenced some of these decisions. The original 26 Westmoreland Place, an 1890s Eames & Young creation of pale blue limestone, was torn down circa 1938 by Allen family heirs unable to find a buyer for it. It was one of the largest homes in the vicinity and included a huge, first-floor ballroom addition built in the 1920s that must have been used but briefly. According to newspaper accounts the house also had a two-story living room over 60 feet long. The waste of materials and craftsmanship is appalling.

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