The Holland Building
215 N. 7th Street
Architect: Wheeler & McClure
Tall, thin and long - the Holland Building presented an unusually thin facade to the street for its size and height, adorned with German Renassance details and capped with a Germanic influenced two-story gabled roof and cupola, clad in red tile and referred to in the press of the day as a Nuremberg roof. (Post-Dispatch, Feb 9, 1896) It was the tallest building in the city when new. (Post-Dispatch, April 15, 1909)
The building was designed by the architectural partnership of Lorenzo B. Wheeler and Craig McClure. Both partners had served in multiple firms, and their time together wound up being only two years, with Mr. Wheeler passing away in 1899.
Intended as a home for medical offices, the Holland Building offered a large number of small and suite offices - 25 per floor - with elevator service, an elaborate
lobby, and a small auditorium on the top floor, which would soon be taken over by the Elks Club and turned into their headquarters and primary meeting space. Numerous physicians and dentists took up quarters in the new building. (Post-Dispatch, May 30, 1897)
A 5-story annex building was constructed to the south by 1903.
In 1921, it was bought by the United Home Builders of America corporation, a Dallas company which moved to St. Louis and made its headquarters in the building - renaming it the United Home Building.
The elaborate cupola had vanished by 1923, though the observation platform remained.
The Holland Building was destroyed in 1973. The site was a parking lot for three decades, until the neighboring building (the reskinned St. Louis Republic Building) was also demolished, and a parking garage went up in 2003.
The Holland Building, a history from the Society of Architectural Historians
View of skyscrapers at Seventh and Olive Streets, 1904 - Missouri History Museum
Intersection of Seventh and Olive Streets, 1906 - Missouri History Museum
Olive Street looking west from Seventh Street, pre-1910 - Missouri History Museum
Tinted postcard view. The building's trim included white terra cotta, so some of the colors here are definitely incorrect. Note the mismatched miscoloration of the Union Trust building to the right - tinted cards should always be taken with a grain of salt!
1904 photogravure print
1966: A rare color view of the building in its later years, showing building in bad need of cleaning. Image from a free lithograph distributed by Boatmans Bank, provided by Bob Jerrels; photograph by Lloyd Spainhower.
Circa 1970. The Holland Building Annex can be seen at lower left. Image from This Is Our St. Louis, Harry Hagen, Knight Publishing Co., St. Louis 1970.
Postcard view circa 1905
The site in 2008. Remarkably, this is not even the ugliest parking garage in the city - that honor goes to the shapeless mass of concrete that replaced the Marquette Building Annex.