For the last 87 years, St. Louis College of Pharmacy has called the corner of Euclid Avenue and Parkview Place home. Since then, the surrounding area has become one of the world’s premier patient care and research centers.
That same spirit of interprofessional education and collaboration was evident at the College’s first home, the St. Louis Medical College.
In the last 150 years, the College has had six other addresses. Many of those locations, like today’s home, are intertwined with iconic, internationally recognized St. Louis landmarks.
The first instruction at St. Louis College of Pharmacy was held in a room on the fourth floor of the St. Louis Medical College on the northeast corner of 7th and Clark in downtown St. Louis. The medical college had been established in 1835 by Saint Louis University but became independent in 1855.
When St. Louis College of Pharmacy was formed, the building was commonly referred to as ‘Pope’s College,’ a reference to Dean Charles Alexander Pope, who founded St. Louis Medical College. In 1891, St. Louis Medical College merged with the Missouri Medical College to form Washington University School of Medicine.
As excavation began for the footing of the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi River, the growing College’s first move was to the center of St. Louis.
Classes for the 1867 session were held at 18 N. 4th Street, right across the street from the Old Courthouse. The building was owned by William Tilford, a druggist who was more widely known as a photographer and a retailer of photography equipment.
The College also conducted some of its classes a few blocks south at the O’Fallon Dispensary at 615 Clark Avenue. The spot where the Tilford Building once stood is now green space connecting the Old Courthouse to the Gateway Arch. The site of the O’Fallon Dispensary was cleared in the mid-1960s to make way for Busch Memorial Stadium. It is now Ballpark Village, an entertainment venue across the street from Busch Stadium.
The need for more space once again found the College on the move in 1871. The chosen location was two rooms on the third floor at 208 N. 6th Street in downtown St. Louis. The building was known as the main sales room and warehouse for Pullis Brothers, the oldest ironworks company in the city.
Rooms 11 and 12 in the building were transformed into the College’s lecture hall and meeting rooms, which were rented for $20 a month. Students and professors could easily arrive by street cars. The only remnants of this building can be found in the surviving Pullis Brothers cast iron storefronts across the Midwest.
With a growing enrollment, in 1873, the College expanded into two rooms at the Insurance Exchange Building on the southeast corner of Broadway and Olive in downtown St. Louis. Rent on the fourth floor was $300 a year. The College shared the floor with real estate agents, builders, artists, and an entomologist. The Insurance Exchange’s most famous resident was architect George Barnett.
At the time, he had just completed work on buildings and structures in Tower Grove Park. His best known works include the Old Courthouse and structures in the Missouri Botanical Garden, where the College maintained a medicinal plant garden at the time (and for many years later). Barnett also designed the Missouri Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City, Missouri. The Insurance Exchange site is now the St. Louis Place Building.
In 1884, the College moved into its own building at 412 S. 6th Street. The building was owned by Board of Trustees Vice President Charles Gietner, who charged $85 a month in rent. This was the College’s first location outside of the riverfront business district.
The building was next to the Mesker Brothers Iron Works, another of the well-known businesses that installed cast iron storefronts across the country. A rooming house across the street from the College might have been home for several students.
The new building was touted in the College’s Bulletin as one of the most complete and convenient of its kind in the country and the first dedicated to pharmaceutical education in Missouri. Each of the three floors contained large, inclined lecture rooms allowing students in the back row an unobstructed view of the professor and his demonstrations. These were also the first lecture halls in the College’s history where students could sit in chairs instead of on benches. The first floor also had an area for offices, a reading room, and a private laboratory for the professor of pharmacy. The pharmacy and microscope laboratories were on the second floor, and the chemical laboratory on the third. Electronic bells, another new feature of the building, rang to signal the end of class periods.
After the College moved out, the building was later known as the Hoeffken Laboratory Co. It survived until 1964, when it was razed to make way for Busch Memorial Stadium.
The College’s sixth home on Lucas Place (now Locust Street) near 21st Street was the first building constructed exclusively for the College. Classes began there in 1892.
The College building was three stories tall, one for each of the courses: materia medica (therapeutics), pharmacy, and chemistry.
The basement housed a large meeting room, men’s locker room, and a museum. On the first floor, the board room was repurposed as a ladies’ room (a special lounge and study area for female students) when school was in session. That level also boasted a 250-seat lecture hall, microscope laboratory, and several offices. The pharmaceutical laboratory was on the second floor along with another large lecture hall.
The top floor contained a chemical laboratory, storage area, and lecture hall. All of the rooms surrounded a large atrium, which, according to promotional material of the time, “admits light and air [and] is an important feature of the building.” Other features included electric lighting, steam heat, and a filtered water system for use in the laboratory.
The College paid $8,750 for the lot. The building was paid for through $15,000 in donations and a $25,000 loan from Franklin Bank of St. Louis. The building was demolished in 1944, and the area is now a parking lot for the Schlafly Tap Room.
A golden spade placed in the dirt on Feb. 15, 1927, by College President E.H. Wolff (chairman of the Board of Trustees who, as College protocol dictated at the time, served as its president) marked the next major step in the College’s growth. In just a few months, the empty lot at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Parkview Place would turn into the College’s new home, renamed Jones Hall in 2003.
Shortly after the 1927 ceremony, a story in the College’s quarterly Bulletin stated the building “is planned to make the College of Pharmacy the center of pharmacy in this city and vicinity.” Barnes Hospital was already in the neighborhood, having opened its doors several decades earlier. Also in 1927, Jewish Hospital accepted its first patients in its new location several blocks from the College.
The College purchased the space for $24,000 and then commenced on a $300,000 fundraising dri4588ve, which included $15,000 in student contributions. Construction moved quickly, and the building was completed in time for fall classes. It would be another 60 years before the next major addition was added to the main academic building.
In the spring of 1987, the O.J. Cloughly Alumni Library opened a new addition to the south side of the building. The library was very popular with students. Within six months, there was a 100 percent increase in average nightly attendance. A library newsletter from that time noted the main complaints were over the temperature in the new addition. Students reported being both too hot and too cold.
Jones Hall, as it stands now, was formed in 2003. A $42 million construction project included a three-story addition above the library and the complete remodeling of the existing building. Work began at 3 a.m. so as to not disturb the first classes at 8 a.m. The remodel came with plenty of surprises according to project manager Chris Gocal.
“You run into new challenges every day,” he told Script in 2003. “A column that’s 4 inches off, duct work that isn’t on the blueprints… all the while you’re working in an occupied building with faculty and students. These challenges only make the job more interesting.”
The 2003 remodeling also saw Parkview Place converted into a pedestrian path and the addition of the eight-floor Residence Hall.