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314.991.3299

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HISTORY

1120 S. 6th Street - Sacred Heart Convent

CONVENT OF THE SACRED HEART

In 1827 John Mullaphany, St. Louis' first millionaire, donated the property on which the Weisert Building now stands to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart to operate an orphanage attached to the convent on the condition the sisters would care for 20 orphans from indigent families each year - thus began the Mullanphy Orphan Asylum.  Operated by Mother Philippine Duchesne the soon to be famous "City House" lasted until 1894.

(1872) View of Broadway north of Rutger Street. Old French Market is visible in the distance on Broadway and Hickory Street and the old Sacred Heart Convent is to the left of the market. The Weisert Building was built in 1903 and now stands in place of the old Sacred Heart Covenent.  Missouri History Museum

John Weisert Tobacco Company Building

The John Weisert Tobacco Company Building at 1120 South Sixth Street is a prominent, five story, red-brown brick, factory building. it retains its historic integrity and is still a very significant and prominent reminder of the early industrial development in St. Louis.

 

It was completed in two sections, combining to form a rectangular factory complex, internally connected as one building. Its simple, early twentieth century factory design is utilitarian with the original building completed in 1903 in brick pier and heavy timber spandrel construction, while the 1922 addition reflects structural innovations and new materials, both steel and concrete, which resulted in a fireproof skeletal frame of reinforced concrete.

 

Designed by architect Anton Rieve, the heavy timber portion of the John Weisert Tobacco Company Building was completed in 1903 to be used for manufacturing and for the company's offices.  The interior of the John Weisert Tobacco Company Building retains most of its original, distinctive features that identify it as a compact, functional, historic factory building.

 

Originally, the heavy timber north building served as both tobacco factory and offices. The processing of the tobacco began on the first floor with tobacco leaves sent up the freight elevator to the fifth floor for drying and steaming (a portion of the original, wood framed drying rack is still intact). Steam and heat were generated on the floor below with vents through the floor into the drying rack.  Stemming took place on the fourth floor and cleaning on the third. Workers on the second floor packed the products for shipping, which was handled on the first floor.

The interior of the original factory building is unadorned with its exposed  brick walls, massive wooden beams and posts supporting each level of exposed  joists, and tongue and groove maple floorboards. In the northeast  corner, enclosed  by brick walls, is the wooden staircase  that extends from the basement  to the fifth floor and has metal clad, sliding fire doors at each floor. Adjacent on the south side of the stairwell is the freight elevator.

 

In 1922, a concrete mushroom capital warehouse addition, designed by architect Edward Lantz, who also designed the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Building, was added to the south side of the original building.  The contractor on the warehouse addition was H.O. Hirsh, the same company that built the Wainwright Building.  The 1922 addition served as a warehouse for the tobacco factory as it expanded its operations. The original building and addition are connected at the original south wall of the 1903 factory with its massive, load-bearing brick wall. The original window openings were infilled with brick when the addition was completed, or were converted into doorways between the two sections.

 

The John Weisert Tobacco Company continued to use the building until the company folded in 1989. 

 

The John Weisert Tobacco Company building is one of only four known remaining tobacco company complexes in St. Louis.  

 

Renovations

D.W. Ryckman and Associates purchased the building in 2003 and began a three phase historic renovation project to turn the building into loft commercial office space.  The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. 

 

The initial phase included new windows, exterior tuck-pointing, new roofs, new mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and fire protection systems.  REACT Environmental moved into renovated first floor space in the building in 2003.

 

The second phase of the historical renovation was begun in 2005 and involved the renovation of the fourth and fifth floors into creative office space for a local advertising firm.