City Hall (University City, Missouri)
University City City Hall
University City City Hall
|Location||Roughly bounded by Delmar Blvd., Trinity, Harvard, and Kingsland Aves., University City, Missouri|
|Area||8.7 acres (3.5 ha)|
|Part of||University City Plaza (#75002092)|
|Added to NRHP||March 7, 1975|
The City Hall of University City, Missouri, the seat of municipal government for University City, Missouri, was built in 1903 as the "Women's Magazine Building", the headquarters of a magazine publishing company, and became a city hall in 1930. The building is part of the University City Plaza, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 7, 1975.
The octagonal, five-story brick-and-limestone building was built in a rococo style with a dome roof. It was designed by Herbert C. Chivers (1869–1946), a local architect who had helped draft plans for St. Louis' Union Station. Its landscaping was done in 1907 by landscape architect George E. Kessler.
For the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the world's largest carbon arc searchlight was installed atop the dome, 135 feet above street level. An eight-ton, 80-inch light built by General Electric in 1903, the searchlight developed at least 1 billion candlepower. It was first illuminated on April 30, 1904, opening night of the World's Fair. 
It was built by magazine publisher and businessman Edward Gardner Lewis, a native of Connecticut who came to St. Louis, Missouri, in the late 1890s, selling insect extermination products and medicines that were said to be highly questionable. He bought a magazine called "Winner," based in downtown St. Louis, which he renamed "Woman's Magazine" and quickly built its circulation to the largest in the country, amassing a fortune in the process. In 1902, Lewis purchased 85 acres (344,000 m²) several miles west of downtown St. Louis. The tract, located near the construction site of the World's Fair, would become the nucleus for the streetcar suburb of University City.
In 1903, with his publishing operation outgrowing its downtown location, Lewis began the construction of a new Lewis Publishing Company headquarters and Press Annex at this site. After incorporating University City in 1906, he served three terms as mayor. During this time, he built the Woman's Magazine Building, an Egyptian temple and an Art Academy. But Lewis' financial empire in Missouri collapsed amid charges of mail fraud, bankruptcy, and litigation, and by 1915, he had moved his base of operations to Atascadero, California. Lewis declared bankruptcy a second time in 1924.
The Magazine Building was dedicated as the new city hall on November 1, 1930.
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "ST. LOUIS COUNTY: THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES AS OF DECEMBER 2007" (PDF). St. Louis County. December 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2007. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- Application for NRHP listing, April 1975
- Mays, Vernon (2008-10-20). "Suffragette City". Architect. Washington, DC: Hanley Wood (October 2008). Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- Toft, Carolyn Hewes. "Herbert C. Chivers (1869-1946)". Landmarks Association of St. Louis. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- "Year of Project". George E. Kessler. Kessler Society of Kansas City. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- Meza, Bob (2003). "The Largest Carbon Arc Searchlight". World War II Searchlight History. Bob Meza's Victory Searchlight and LED Message Sign Advertising. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- "Carbon Arc Searchlights". Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- "Carbon Arc Searchlights". Archived from the original on 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- Lumpp, James (1930). University City: Its History and Dedication of New City Hall. University City, Missouri: City of University City. p. 32.
- 57 photos of the building at the Missouri's Digital Heritage site of the State of Missouri These include:
- 7-minute documentary video about the searchlight. Produced by "Living St. Louis", a program produced by KETC-TV, St. Louis' public television station. Originally aired Aug. 14, 2007.
- Video of the searchlight in operation (Posted to YouTube on July 18, 2010).