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Falstaff Brewery #5
Built: 1891
Originally: Columbia Brewery

Decay in the St. Louis Place neighborhood is often severe, but far from complete. A spectacular 1980s rehabilitation project brought new life to the Falstaff Brewery complex at Madison and 20th as well as the row houses across the street. New housing was built around this area steadily through the 1990s and 2000s, most of it fairly urban in form.

The brewery is one of only a handful remaining in the city; today it is the centerpiece of a National Historic Register district. The Columbia Brewery was founded in 1891 by a group of businessmen, in a time when St. Louis was on its way to becoming the beer capital of the country. Erected between 1891 with additions from 1901-1902, the Columbia building is a towering Romanesque structure in red brick. The architect is unknown, but the National Register nomination suggests as a likely candidate E. Jungenfeld & Co., the same firm responsible for the iconic buildings at Anheuser-Busch as well as work at Lemp.

It was bought up by the Falstaff company in 1948 (at which point it became Falstaff Plant No. 5), and continued to produce beer until abandoning the plant in 1969. Stripped of all interior metal by an owner who intended to demolish it in the early 1970s, Falstaff #5 narrowly escaped destruction for an aborted highway feeder route. In 1983 the city applied for grants to restore the building, leading to its 1986 conversion to apartments.

Off-site links:

  • National Register nomination form
  • August 2003: Across the street from the brewery complex are several restored workers' houses, including a set of immaculate row houses and a picturesquely isolated half-flounder.

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