Both a City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark, The Arcade is situated in the heart of the central corridor of historic downtown St. Louis across from the Old Post Office, facing Olive St. and occupying much of the square block from Olive to Pine between 8th and 9th Streets. Named for the spectacular two-story interior rib-vaulted shopping arcade or “interior street” that runs the distance from Olive to Pine, and inspired by the galleries of Milan and Naples, The Arcade is one of the city’s best examples of a Gothic Revival skyscraper.
Plans for the 18-story Arcade Building of 1913–originally designed as a separate structure by architect Tom Barnett–were revised to integrate the adjacent Wright Building of 1907, wrapping the exterior around its north and west sides.
The Arcade makes a dramatic statement in its facade on Olive Street, with its large arcade entrance, enormous second-story bay windows, and intricate Gothic detailing and terra cotta ornamentation. Its Pine Street frontage is both smaller and more inhibited. Originally dubbed “the giant of downtown”, the smaller Wright building, designed by architects Eames & Young–with its strong vertical brick piers–is evocative of a simpler and more American style of architecture.
Modeled on successful prototypes in larger cities to the east and originally offered as “a city within a city”, The Arcade housed top-notch retail merchants in its first eight floors and offices in the upper stories. In 1980, The Arcade was designated a City Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.