The Liggett Bulding
(later the International Life Building)
722 Chestnut Street
Architect: Eames and Young
The Liggett family name looms large in St. Louis history, having risen to prominence throught the Liggett & Meyers tobacco company. Architecturally, the name was given to a series of dormitories at Washington University (the second of which, a demolished 1950s building, was my home for the 1992-93 school year), as well as this plainly designed skyscraper.
This Eames & Young design went up almost contemporaneously with their Third National Bank Building and Wright Building, and is of a similar design ethos, with a 2-story base, a long central shaft, and a 2-story cap with attic and cornice. The vertical terra cotta medallions between the second floor windows are similar to those found on the Wright. Unlike those buildings, however, the Liggett Building does less to emphasize its vertical qualities, as the main shaft is a flat wall, rather than being articulated with piers.
A legal brief makes the interesting claim that the building was originally only 6 stories, with the remaining 11 floors added "later".
In keeping with its more prosaic design, the building in its early years was home to a number of engineers, contractors and building tradesmen, as well as a number of railroad companies.
In 1913, the building aquired a new name: the International Life Building, in honor of major tenant International Life Insurance Company, who set up shop in St. Louis in 1909 and took over the building's top floor.
This would be shortened to the International Building in its later years (seemingly by 1946.)
Amid great hoopla, the International Building was demolished by implosion in 1984 along with the neighboring Buder Building, as part of the clearance of the Gateway Mall. Its site is now occupied by half of universally reviled Gateway One building, now called Peabody Plaza.
Newly completed, circa 1907. Image from the Washington University Eames & Young photograph collection, original here.
Tinted postcard view.
Lobby view, ca. 1907. Image from the Washington University Eames & Young photograph collection, original here.
1972: The International Office Building in the background, with the Title Guaranty at left; image from the Historic American Buildings Survey, Wainwright Building photo collection.
August 30, 1984: The International Office Building crumbles into dust as it is destroyed to make way for the "half mall" plan. Globe-Democrat file from the Missouri Digital Heritage collection, contributed by the Mercantile Library; original image here.