Washington Terrace Gate

Update: I went back in November of 2014.

I recently had my picture taken in front of the gates of Washington Terrace. The houses are just as architecturally significant and beautiful as any mansion on the more famous Portland or Westmoreland Places. The color of the brick, combined with the rich black stone creates a harmonious composition just south of the intersection of Union and Delmar.

Gates of these type are spread throughout the city, from Compton Heights to the old Vandeventer Place, to Washington Terrace.

Built right around the World’s Fair, when the city was just starting to creep out to where the fair was located in western Forest Park, these houses supposedly housed visiting dignitaries to the fair. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, but it makes for a good story, perhaps.

The combination of old world elements, like the rampant lion and the stark, “Norman Revival” architecture of the gatehouse itself, makes a stern message: the titans of St. Louis industry and politics live here, and you’re not welcome.

Below is an historic photograph, showing the guardhouse before any of the houses have been built. It’s so strange to see nothing but wide open spaces in one of the most intact portions of the city.

The two architects for the gate, Harvey Ellis, designed City Hall, Compton Hill Watertower and other notable buildings, and George Mann designed the recently featured St. Vincent’s Hospital off of the Rock Road.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I could be wrong on the specific gatehouse, but – at one time the trustees of the association allowed a college student or two to live in the gate tower for gratis, in return for yard work done on the "public" areas of the subdivision.Dunno if this practice is still followed by this or a similar gatehouse.I know it occurred in the '50s, as I had a friend who had a WashU buddy who lived there.It would be interesting to find someone who was a resident either of the gatehouse or of the subdivision to comment.

  2. Chris says:

    That would have to be one of the most unique houses in St. Louis if someone lived in there.

  3. It's listed in the National Register of Historic Places, ppg. 47-8: http://www.dnr.mo.gov/shpo/nps-nr/07000549.pdfI did a cursory Search on Google for some "residency" info but found nada. I am positive about my earlier post concerning "student housing" – sure wish I could remember WHICH gate house was involved, though…Maybe contact WashU School of Architecture? That seems a natural for a student referral.It does have three stories of space.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You are right. That was the practice when we moved onto the street in 1975. But in recent years (the lasts decade) the gate house has been usedas a police substation, which greatly enhances security.- A resident

  5. Felice says:

    I spent a great deal of time on this street, # 37 to be exact. In the early 70’s someone did live in the clock tower and worked as a handyman in the house.

  6. John Rive says:

    Just browsed this website to look at old haunts. I lived in “The Tower” as we called it from September or October 1969 to January 1971 while working on an MA at Washington University. I was hired by Mr Faerber, the association president at the time, and lived there in exchange for 17 hours of caretaker work a week. The place was given a shower stall downstairs and a sort of kitchenette on the upstairs landing. The bedroom was tight with a bed and a chest of drawers. All this was arranged after I was offered the job because the place was only used for downstairs storage of tools etc at the time. I enjoyed the time there and a number of resident families were generous in their hospitality. I still stay in touch with the Loitman family who were in number 10 . The Post Despatch even ran a story on my stay there as I was about to leave in early 1971.

  7. Happy St Louis Walker says:

    Harvey Ellis, the architect of this tower, designed furniture for Gustav Stickley in Syracuse, NY in the last year + of his life.Stickley Furniture still produces the Harvey Ellis bed 100 + years later

    1. Tom Maher - Kirkwood MO says:

      Ellis also did the design for the St. Louis City Hall and the Compton Hill Water Tower, among others, when he worked here.
      Thanks for the info on the bed; I did not know that. I’ve seen those beds!
      Stickley still produces a number of his designs. See http://www.stickley.com/OurProducts_Results.cfm?Collection=Mission&cat1=89&view=all
      Big bucks!

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