Architecture in Missouri for the Casual Traveler

Kansas City, St. Louis, and Beyond the Gateway Arch

The St. Louis Gateway Arch by architect Eero Saarinen opened on October 28, 1965
The St. Louis Gateway Arch by architect Eero Saarinen opened on October 28, 1965. Photo by Agnieszka Szymczak/E+ Collection/Getty Images

Symbolizing the door to the American West, the St. Louis Gateway Arch by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen also suggests the spirit of architectural innovation found in St. Louis, Kansas City, and other parts of Missouri.

In February 1764, a group of fur traders established an outpost on the western banks of the Mississippi River. For over 250 years, commerce has been thriving in a town called St. Louis.

St. Louis is famous for being America's gateway to the West. The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial—popularly known as the Gateway Arch—is a great, modern monument to the growth of the United States territories.

But there's so much more to see in St. Louis. The entire city explodes with the history of architecture and art, music and science, politics and civil rights. Explore all of St. Louis, including the great Arch and beyond:

  • St. Louis Art Museum designed by Cass Gilbert as the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The modern East Building extension is by British architect David Chipperfield.
  • The Fox Theatre, a 1929 movie house designed by architect C. Howard Crane in what has been called Siamese Byzantine and Picture Palace Gothic styles

Must See in Kansas City, Missouri:

Famous Missouri Architects :

  • Theodore Link
    Born on March 17, 1850, Theodore Link designed more than 100 buildings. Link is thought to be the first architect to use electric light decoratively.
  • Louis Sullivan
    Although he was born in Boston and worked mainly in Chicago, Louis Sullivan's first skyscraper was in St. Louis.

More About Architecture in Missouri:

  • Landmarks Association of St. Louis
    This organization is a good resource for information about architecture in St. Louis.
  • A Guide to the Architecture of St. Louis by George McCue and Frank Peters
    Buy on Amazon
  • Architecture of the Private Streets of St. Louis: The Architects and the Houses They Designed by Charles C. Savage
    Buy on Amazon