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Planter's Hotel
111 N. 4th Street
Built: 1894
Architect: Isaac S. Taylor
Demolished: 1976

The Planter's Hotel was a reknown St. Louis destination for many years. This was the third building to carry the name. The first was an 1817 building down by the river; the second was an 1837 structure that saw a long line of famous visitors. Damaged in a fire, that aged building was replaced by Isaac Taylor's modern E-shaped building, built on the same site at 4th and Pine.

With a budget of $2 million, the new building was the largest hotel in St. Louis, intended me to be a first-rate destination and a showpiece for the city. It featured lavish interiors, one of the city's finest dining rooms, a grand lobby and staircase, and a highly ornate Moorish-styled room known as the Turkish Den, widely advertised on postcards. 400 bedrooms awaited visitors, serviced by a staff of 300.

The hotel prospered for another twenty or so years after re-opening in the new building; however, business suffered during World War I. The hotel closed in 1922, and the building was converted to office space. Alterations included the removal of the ornate cast iron front entry porch and the infilling of the second-story recessed balconies. It was briefly known as the Planter's Building.

In 1930, the Cotton Belt (aka St. Louis Southwestern) Railroad moved their corporate offices into the building, and it became known as the Cotton Belt Building. The railroad company would remain there until abruptly pulling out of St. Louis in 1954.

The Cotton Belt Building was torn down in 1976. Today the one-time Boatman's Tower stands on the site.

Images from elsewhere:

  • Rendering of the hotel, Mercantile Library collections
  • Undated early photograph, Mercantile Library collections
  • The Turkish Den - detailed scan of the original photograph colorized above, Mercantile Library collections
  • View up 4th Street, ca. 1900. Missouri History Museum
  • Similar view in 1938, Missouri History Museum
  • A color view from the 1940s., Missouri History Museum
  • Locator Map

    A 1972 photograph of the building, looking northwest. Image from the Historic American Buildings Survey.

    Postcard photograph circa 1911. Note the balconies on the upper floors, and the front entry porch - both details lost after the Planters Hotel closed.

    The hotel's dining room, in a 1897 stereoview card.

    The famed(?) Turkish Den, in a hand-tinted postcard.

    View circa 1901. From the Library of Congress collections, originally from the Detroit Publishing Company.

    Detail of above

    Detail of above

    Skip ahead seven decades, and storefronts are ominously empty in a series of 1972 photographs taken by the Historic American Buildings Survey program.

    The building's north facade, with the Pierce Building beyond. HABS photo.

    View from across the Old Court House lawn, 1972. The Planter's name lives on in a "Planter's Cafeteria" in the storefront at lower left. HABS photo.

    The same view in 2008 - the street light and the column capital remain.

    A lost plaque, visible above, commemorated the 1920 founding of the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists.

    A hand-tinted postcard view from around 1910

    Approximately the same view in 2008, with the former Boatmen's Bank Tower filling the old Planters site, and then some.