318 N. 8th Street
Architect: Isaac Taylor
The Columbia Building was originally a 9-story building in a Romanesque style, harmoniously arranged alongside the L&N Building next door, and owned by the Hammett-Anderson-Wade Real Estate Company. After its completion, Taylor made his offices in the building's 9th floor. It also became home to the Mercantile Trust Company, who later found permanent quarters across the street.
In 1976, the building's owners - Southern Real Estate and Finance Co., the same Cella family company which operated the Americna Hotel and Theater - decided they could no longer make a profit on the upper stories, and opted to have them demolished. The upper floors were demolished in the summer of 1976; only a Mavrakos candy store remained in the lower level. In the 1990s and 2000s, Hamilton Jewelers occupied the space.
Hardly anything remains of Taylor's design today; mid-century or later recladding covers up the street level, and even the dentals along the cornice are merely painted on.
Columbia Building (Truncated) at Preservation Research Office
Rendering of the building from the time of its construction; from Shewey's Pictorial St. Louis.
1965 image from the Historic American Buildings Survey.
The building's truncated remains - 2015.
Colorized postcard view
Roughly the same view today - 2009