Name: Merchants Exchange Building, Second
Address: Third Street at Chestnut and Pine
Date of Demolition: 1958
Architectural Firm/Architect: Lee and Annan
Standard Architectural Styles: Italianate
Front facade: Stone, ashlar
Property Type Codes: Commercial building, Central Business District masonry
Alterations: Stone balustrades, copings and cornices were removed in 1947 for safety reasons.
One of the City´s most important 19th century buildings, the Second Merchants´ Exchange was a three-story structure, measuring 235 feet by 187 feet. It featured a projecting pedimented center portaco on the western facade. The building housed the combined first Merchants´ Exchange and the newer Union Exchange that had been established by Northern sympathizers during the Civil War.
A competition was held for the design of the new building, but the fee demanded by first prize winner George I. Barnett was deemed too costly, so the project was awarded to second-place Lee and Annan, at the time a relatively new architectural firm.
Work began in 1873 and was completed in December 1875 at a total construction cost of $2 million. It was the largest building on the riverfront, designed in a Venetian version of the Italianate style. While it appeared to be one mammoth structure, it was actually two buildings connected by a light court.
An iron truss system that supported the roof allowed the second and third stories of the western half to be a single space, 235 feet long and 98 feet wide and 65 feet tall. At the time, this was the largest open interior space in the country. The room could hold 10,000 people, and hosted the 1876 Democratic National Convention [Barkley 37-39, Lowic 109-111].
site was made possible by: the City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and