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Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Chamber of Commerce and Merchants' Exchange. The first movement for the formation of a merchants' association in St. Louis was made in the summer of 1836, and the original organization was effected at a meeting of "merchants and traders," held at the office of the Missouri Insurance Company, on the 15th of July in that year. Edward Tracy was chairman, and Daniel Lamont acted as secretary. Preliminary meetings had already been held, and the record of the proceedings having been read, the committee appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws
reported through their chairman, George K. McGunnegle. After the report had been read and considered it was unanimously adopted. The meeting then proceeded to the election of officers, and the following were chosen: President, Edward Tracy; Vice-President, Henry Von Phul; Secretary and Treasurer, John Ford; Annual Committee of Appeals, George K. McGunnegle, William Glasgow, John W. Reel, J. P. Doan, John Walsh, Daniel Lament; Committee for the month of July, E. H. Beebe, Wayman Crow, C. Doan, G. Erskine, W. Finney.
The association was styled the "St. Louis Chamber of Commerce," and its rules, as adopted at the first meeting, provided for the following fees and commissions:
"RULE 8. The fees of arbitration under the sanction of this Chamber shall be as follows:
"Tariff of charges, etc., established by the Chamber of Commerce of the city of St. Louis, and recommended for general adoption when no agreement exists to the contrary:
"The above commissions to be exclusive of storage, brokerage, and every other charge actually incurred. The risk of loss by fire, unless insurance be ordered, and of robbery, theft, and other unavoidable occurrences, if the usual care be taken to secure the property, in all cases to be borne by the proprietors of the goods.
"Interest to be charged at the rate of ten per cent. per annum on all debts after maturity until paid.
The meetings continued to be held in the office of the Missouri Insurance Company until the membership had increased to such proportions that the accommodations became inadequate, whereupon the association removed to the building occupied by the Missouri Republican, on Main Street near Pine. In the following winter George K. McGunnegle, one of the leading originators, obtained from the General Assembly of Missouri, of which he was a member, the following act of incorporation:
"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:
"SECTION 1. That the persons composing the association in the city of St. Louis styled the ‘St. Louis Chamber of Commerce’ are hereby created a body politic and corporate under the name of the ‘St. Louis Chamber of Commerce,’ and by that name may sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, receive and hold property and effects, real and personal, by gift, or demise, or purchase, and dispose of the same by sale, lease, or otherwise; said property so held not to exceed at any one time the sum of twenty thousand dollars; may have a common seal, and alter the same from time to time, and make such rules, regulations, and by-laws as may be within the scope of their association and not contrary to the laws of the land.
"SEC. 2. That the rules and by-laws of the said association shall be the rules and by-laws of the corporation hereby created until the same shall be regularly repealed or altered, and that the present officers of said association shall be officers of the corporation hereby created until their respective offices shall regularly expire or be vacated.
"Approved, January 9, 1837."
In December, 1837, the following persons were the officers:
Edward Tracy, president; Henry Von Phul, vice-president; John Ford, secretary and treasurer; Committee of Appeals, William Glasgow, John W. Reel, T. L. Doan, Augustus Kerr, George K. McGunnegle, George Collier; Monthly Committee on Arbitration for December, J. M. Corse, T. D. Fontaine, Alfred Tracy, Stephen Gore, James L. Lane.
On the 23d of December of the same year the proprietors of the Republican announced that,
"At the solicitation of a large number of merchants and business men of the city, we have issued a prospectus for opening an exchange and news-room, which may be seen at all the principal book-stores, hotels, and in the hands of several gentlemen of the city. We contemplate opening the rooms in January next. Our arrangements for the receipt of papers, periodicals, magazines, etc., will not be complete by that time, but will be perfected as soon as the speed and regularity of the mails will admit. Our object is not revenue alone: we hope by this to benefit the community and extend the usefulness and circulation of our paper, and it now remains with the public to see whether they are willing to sustain such an institution. The exchange room will be opened to the public generally, and will be furnished as is usual to furnish such apartments. The reading-room will be supplied with all the principal newspapers of the United States, without regard to politics, and the principal standard literary reviews, magazines, and periodicals, properly arranged."
In February, 1838, the Republican added,
"The exchange rooms will be free to the public at all times, except when occupied by the Chamber of Commerce. The reading-room will be open only to subscribers, or to such persons as they may introduce, not being resident of the city, to the transient officers of the United States and State governments, to the captains, clerks, and officers of steamboats, to the subscribers of the Republican, not residents of the city, and such persons as the proprietors may think proper to permit. Merchants will be at liberty to introduce their clerks, and mechanics their apprentices; keepers of hotels and boarding-houses, who may become subscribers, will be permitted to introduce their transient guests. The price has been established at $10 for a single subscriber, $15 for a firm of two persons, and $20 for a firm of three or more, payable half-yearly in advance. No subscription will be received for less than a year.
"We have received the following flattering notice from the Chamber of Commerce:
"‘CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,’"
"‘At a meeting of the members of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, held on the 28th ult., the following resolution was adopted and ordered to be published:
"Resolved, That this Chamber, purporting to represent the mercantile and trading interests of this community, cordially recommend to the individuals composing this body to give their hearty co-operation in carrying out the views of Messrs. Chambers, Evans & Knapp in establishing a "Merchants' Exchange and News-Room," and that this body also respectfully recommend to their fellow-citizens generally, who are not members of this Chamber, to lend their moral and pecuniary aid in carrying the plan of the proprietors into complete effect.
’"By order of the Chamber,
On the 1st of January, 1839, the annual election of the Chamber of Commerce was held at the office of the St. Louis Perpetual Insurance Company, and the following officers were elected: Edward Tracy, president; Henry Von Phul, vice-president; John Ford, treasurer and secretary; William Glasgow, John W. Reel, T. P. Doan, Augustus Kerr, George K. McGunnegle, and George Collier, committee of appeals; Charles P. Billon, Joseph Charless, John D. Daggett, John H. Gay, and William Hempstead, monthly committee on arbitration for January.
The first proposition for the erection of a Merchants' Exchange building was made by a writer in the St. Louis Bulletin of Oct. 5, 1838, who suggested that the erection of such a building might be effected by a union of the insurance companies. No action seems to have been taken in the matter, although the Republican of November 2d stated that the proposition had been "favorably responded to by a majority of those interested." The meetings of the Chamber were held for some time in the Republican building, and afterwards in the basement of the Unitarian Church, at the northwest corner of Pine and Fourth Streets. The Merchants' News-Room, in October, 1838, was situated at No. 45 Main Street, immediately under the Republican office, and it was announced (October 17th) that "for the remainder of the season the Exchange and News-Room will be regularly lighted from sundown until between nine and ten o'clock." The germ of the present exchange system was developed in the fall of this year by a suggestion in the Evening Gazette, which was indorsed in the Republican of October 23d, to the effect that the merchants should assemble at regular hours for the transaction of any business that they might have with one another. "We think the idea a good one," remarked the Republican. "If a certain hour is established for 'Change, say twelve or one o'clock in the day, every merchant having business to do with another would know where and when he could be found." The officers of the Chamber of Commerce in February, 1839, were Edward Tracy, president; Henry Von Phul, vice-president; Daniel Hough, secretary and treasurer; William Glasgow, George Collier, Augustus Herr, J. P. Doan, George K. McGunnegle, John Walsh, committee of appeals; Committee of Arbitration for February, Charles F. Henry, John Lee, N. E. Janney, A. Mieur, A. Ricketson.
The subject of erecting an Exchange building was revived in the spring of 1839, and on the 22d of April a meeting was held at the Merchants' Exchange and News-Room for the purpose of taking formal action in the premises. On motion of Col. Réné Paul, the meeting was organized by the appointment of Henry S. Coxe as president, and William G. Pettus as secretary.
The object of the meeting having been explained by Col. Réné Paul and A. B. Chambers, the following resolutions were submitted by Mr. Chambers, and, after two slight amendments had been agreed to, were unanimously adopted:
"1. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting that an Exchange building should be erected in this city, and that the business of the city and its commerce require the immediate commencement of the work.
"2. Resolved, That we approve of the plan submitted to the consideration of this meeting of a union of the city authorities, insurance companies, brokers, societies, and individuals in the erection of this building, and earnestly commend the same to the consideration of the mayor and City Council and of the citizens generally.
"3. Resolved, That a committee of persons be appointed to prepare a report of the plan submitted, or any other plan, with such additions and illustrations as may contribute to a perfect understanding of the same, and that they cause the same to be printed, with the charter of the Exchange Company, and submitted to the consideration of the persons, companies, and societies embraced in this plan, and request their early action upon it.
"4. Resolved, That the city authorities, the insurance companies other societies, brokers, and individuals be respectfully requested to confer with the committee appointed by this meeting and signify to them their decision upon the plan which shall be submitted.
"5. Resolved, That whenever the committee appointed by this meeting shall have ascertained that a sufficient amount of stock will be taken to secure the erection and completion of the building they shall request the commissioners named in the charter of the Exchange Company to open the books for the stock of the same."
On motion of John D. Daggett, the blank in the third resolution was filled with "seven," and it was decided that the president appoint the committee.
The president appointed the following gentlemen on the committee, viz.: John D. Daggett, Réné Paul, Nathaniel Paschall, Adam B. Chambers, John B. Camden, William Glasgow, and Edward Tracy.
In 1840, Edward Tracy, who had been president of the Chamber from its organization, prompted by a nice sense of mercantile honor, arising from the fact that he was then involved in mercantile embarrassments, resigned. The members declined to accept his resignation, but Mr. Tracy having refused to withdraw it, Henry Von Phul, who had been vice-president from the beginning, was chosen by acclamation. He declined, however, to serve, and Wayman Crow was elected, serving from 1841 to October, 1849, with George K. McGunnegle as vice-president. During Mr. Crow's term of office the secretaries were Daniel Hough, F. L. Ridgely, and Edward Barry. In September, 1842, the officers were Wayman Crow, president; George K. McGunnegle, vice-president; F. L. Ridgely, secretary and treasurer; Committee of Appeals for 1842, John D. Daggett, N. E. January, H. L. Hoffman, John Stagg, George K. Budd, William Glasgow; Committee of Arbitration for September, Benjamin Clapp, C. F. Hendry, A. Kerr, J. G. Lindell, and Joseph S. Pease.
The officers in May, 1844, were Wayman Crow, president; G. K. McGunnegle, vice-president; F. L. Ridgely, secretary and treasurer; Committee of Appeals for 1844, George K. Budd, Edward Brooks, Henry Von Phul, J. S. Thompson, John Simonds, P. G. Camden; Committee of Arbitration for May, J. C. Abbott, W. G. Haun, A. Meier, Charles I. Tucker, Charles T. Wheeler.
The project for the erection of an Exchange building appears to have lain dormant until July, 1847, on the 21st of which month it was announced that "two gentlemen of the city" had purchased "the property owned by the Baptist Society at the corner of Chestnut and Third Streets, with the intention of erecting an Exchange building upon it." The ground extended seventy feet upon Third Street and ninety upon Chestnut. On the 3d of January, 1848, books were opened for subscriptions to the capital stock of a company then about to be organized for the erection of an Exchange, and on the 20th of May following the fact was noted that the proposition had progressed so far that a lot on Fifth Street, "in the central part of the city," had been secured, and subscriptions to the stock were "rapidly filling up."
In the spring of 1848 an Exchange was established in connection with the Chamber of Commerce, where merchants met regularly to interchange views and transact business. The enterprise met with general support and favor, a very large proportion of the business men subscribing to it. Rooms were secured on the northeast corner of Main and Olive Streets, upstairs, and fitted up for the purposes of the Exchange. Edward Barry was appointed secretary, and the rooms were supplied with newspapers, price-currents, etc., and telegraphic dispatches giving the state of the market up to twelve o'clock noon in all the Atlantic and Southern cities. The subscription price was ten dollars per annum, and subscribers possessed the privilege of introducing strangers and non-residents into the Exchange and reading-rooms. On the 14th of May, 1849, it was announced that another effort was about to be made for the organization of a Merchants' Exchange. At a special meeting of the Chamber of Commerce held on the 11th of September, 1849, George K. McGunnegle, vice-president, stated that it had been called to take into consideration the establishment of a Merchants' Exchange and the procuring of rooms which would answer that purpose for the present, with the ulterior view of erecting an edifice suitable to the object. After some discussion the matter was referred to a committee, of which James E. Yeatman was chairman. On the 17th of September the committee reported that it was impracticable at that time to build a Merchants' Exchange, and recommended the leasing of the second floor of the building owned by Mr. Charless, next door to the corner of Main and Olive Streets. The report was adopted, and a committee appointed for the purpose of establishing a Merchants' Exchange. On the 27th of December following it was announced that the rooms intended for the use of the Chamber of Commerce and of the merchants generally had been completed. They were located in the second story of the building occupied by Charless & Blow. A meeting of merchants and other subscribers to the new Exchange was held in their new rooms on the 2d of January, 1850, and the rules prescribing the terms of membership and the various committees and for the regulation of business were adopted. A resolution was also adopted
that the Exchange be regularly opened at the hour of eleven o'clock on Monday, January 7th, and that the 'Change hour be from eleven to twelve o'clock every day, except Sundays and holidays.
Nearly two hundred of the principal merchants of the city were members of the Exchange and Reading-Room, at an annual contribution sufficient to cover the expenses of the establishment. A secretary and clerk were employed, whose duty it was to keep an accurate record of the state of the market in St. Louis and other important cities, procure the latest accounts of sales and other information calculated to influence commercial transactions, obtain telegraphic dispatches, and keep at all times, as far as practicable, tables of the state of the supply and demand in leading articles of the St. Louis market.
This intelligence was kept in appropriate books, but was only open to the inspection of members. All persons were admitted to the Exchange room, but no resident of the city, engaged in mercantile pursuits, and not a member of the association, was permitted to buy or sell produce or merchandise at the Exchange, or avail himself of the information which was collected for the use of members. Non-residents of the city might be introduced by any member, and when so introduced had free access to the privileges of the Exchange and Reading-Room for a limited time. Others not resident might also purchase any produce or merchandise offered for sale, but might not be sellers. Manufacturers and mechanics might sell their commodities without the necessity of membership. Any person of any profession or pursuit, of respectable standing, could become a member by subscribing and paying the annual charge for its support, and auctioneers at a small charge obtained the privilege of selling stocks and real estate in the Exchange, except during the 'Change hour.
The Merchants' Exchange and Reading-Room were open to members at all times (Sundays and holidays excepted) from seven o'clock A. M. to eight o'clock P. M. in summer, and from eight o'clock A. M. to nine o'clock P. M. in winter, commencing the 1st of October and ending the 1st of March.
The commercial year was considered to commence on the 1st of September, and end on the 31st of August following.
The Merchants' Exchange, though closely allied with the Chamber of Commerce and conducted in conjunction with it, was a distinct organization. The Chamber of Commerce controlled the affairs of both associations, and its members were known as the "voting members." The Merchants' Exchange was composed of persons who simply had the right to transact business in the Exchange rooms, without a vote in the government.
In the mean time the millers of St. Louis had organized an Exchange of their own. Previous to this action, being continually in the market, they had to go on the Levee and sample all the piles of wheat they might find, and then wait an indefinite time for the sellers to make their appearance, some of whom might be there ready to sell by ten o'clock, others not before four o'clock in the afternoon. Thus the millers were from day to day from four to six hours exposed the year round to all kinds of weather and the intolerable dust or mud. Having suffered from exposure on the Levee in previous years, James Waugh and T. A. Buckland determined in February, 1849, to call a meeting of all the millers, in order to remedy the inconvenience and exposure in transacting their business. With that in view they wrote a request to each miller in the city to meet at C. L. Tucker's office. Theodore Papin, being present, agreed to deliver the notices, and on the day appointed for the meeting they were greeted with the presence of nearly all the mill-owners in the city, among them the following: Gabriel S. Chouteau, Joseph C. Shands, John Walsh, Robinson, Joseph Powell, Mr. Tibbits, Dennis Marks, George P. Plant, Henry Whittemore, Alphonso Smith, T. A. Buckland, C. L. Tucker, Henry Pilkington, James Waugh.
T. A. Buckland was called upon to state the object of the meeting, after which those present organized the Millers' Association by electing the following directors: Gabriel S. Chouteau, John Walsh, Joseph Powell, C. L. Tucker, Dennis Marks, Mr. Tibbits, T. A. Buckland, and James Waugh, with Joseph Powell president, and C. L. Tucker secretary. The board was then called together by the president, and after consultation the following committee was appointed: Messrs. Powell, Marks, and Buckland, with instructions to rent rooms and procure the necessary tables and other furniture. As soon as the rooms were ready the merchants were invited to bring to them samples of any produce they might have for sale. Thus about the 1st of March, 1849, the Millers' Exchange was opened over Nos. 9 and 11 Locust Street, and is said to have been the first Exchange established in the United States for the buying and selling of produce. It continued for two years, during which time nearly all the produce seeking a market in St. Louis was offered for sale. When the merchants established a general Exchange, and for that purpose rented rooms adjoining the corner of Main and Olive Streets, the millers were invited to join them. In response the millers appointed Messrs. Marks, Tibbits, and Buckland
land to confer with the officers of the Merchants' Exchange, and at the conference it was agreed that the secretary of the Millers' should be the assistant secretary of the Merchants' Exchange, with which arrangement the Millers' and Merchants' Exchanges were united. 183
In March, 1851, the following officers of the Chamber of Commerce were elected: President, William M. Morrison; Vice-Presidents, Alfred Vinton, David Tatum; Secretary and Treasurer, Edward Barry; Committee of Appeals, T. H. Larkin, J. J. Roe, Adolphus Meier, J. D. Osborne, Dennis Marks, George Partridge, P. R. McCreery, R. M. Henning, Neree Vallé, J. H. Alexander, E. M. Eyland, H. T. Chiles; Committee of Arbitration for March, John C. Bull, E. M. Funkhouser, J. T. Chappell, Alonzo Child, Solon Humphreys, James W. Finley, Henry Ames, N. Ranney, Morris Collins, Robert Barth, J. D. Houseman, A. W. Fagin, Henry Whittemore.
In December, 1852, the following gentlemen were appointed by the president of the Chamber of Commerce as delegates to the "Commercial Convention" held in Baltimore on the 18th of that month: Joseph Stettinius, P. Herman, W. H. Barksdale, James A. Bryan, T. J. Homer, William Bennett, Taylor Blow, O. Wales, Thomas M. Taylor, J. D. Houseman, E. W. Blatchford, A. J. McCreery, James Christy, W. Ballentine, E. Livermore, John Knapp, William Low, W. S. Gilman, R. K. Woods, Henry White.
The project of erecting a building for the Chamber of Commerce and Exchange was again revived in 1855, and with better success than had attended the previous efforts in this direction. On the 13th of September of that year, on motion of Hon. Henry T. Blow, a committee, consisting of Henry T. Blow, R. J. Lackland, Charles P. Chouteau, A. F. Shapleigh, and Thomas E. Tutt, was appointed to procure a charter for an Exchange Building Company, to solicit proposals for a suitable lot, and to procure plans for a building for an Exchange. On the 15th of November, 1855, Edward J. Gay and Robert Barth, on the part of and representing the owners of property on the east side of Main Street, between Market and Walnut Streets, submitted a proposition for the erection of a building on the site named, fronting one hundred and twenty-three feet on Main Street, the second story to be appropriated exclusively for the use of a Merchants' Exchange hall, at a rental of two thousand five hundred dollars per annum for ten years, and at a meeting held on the 24th of November, 1855, the president of the Chamber of Commerce was instructed to enter into a lease of the premises offered by Messrs. Gay and Earth. At a meeting of the stockholders "who have engaged in a building for a Merchants' Exchange on the ground recently occupied by the Centre Market," which was held Jan. 5, 1856, the following trustees were chosen: James H. Lucas, George E. Taylor, Louis C. Garnier, Edward J. Gay, Neree Vallé, Felix Coste, and Lawrason Riggs.
A resolution was also passed that the trustees proceed immediately to consummate the agreement entered into with the Chamber of Commerce for the leasing of the second story of the new building.
On the 25th of February the stockholders held another meeting, at which the plans for the building were presented for approval. The following committee to solicit additional subscriptions was appointed: G. W. Dreyer, Isaac S. Smyth, T. A. Buckland, Joseph E. Elder, Adolphus Meier, Robert Campbell, Samuel Bonner, John C. Powell, S. B. Wiggins, John Kern, Adolphe Paul, J. G. Shelton, and Joseph C. Barlow. The committee organized by the election of Adolphus Meier as chairman.
The work was prosecuted successfully, and the construction of the proposed Exchange begun. At a meeting of the stockholders held on the 9th of March, 1857, on motion of Col. Robert Campbell, Adolphus Meier was called to the chair, and John E. Yore appointed secretary. The chairman explained the objects of the meeting to be to receive the report of the trustees of their transactions for the past year, to receive and approve the charter granted by the Legislature to the company, and to elect a board of seven trustees to serve for the ensuing year. The reports of the president and secretary were then read, and on motion of Samuel B. Wiggins were adopted. The charter for the St. Louis Merchants' Exchange Company was then read, and on motion of Mr. Lucas it was resolved that the said charter be approved and accepted, and that the stockholders of the company signify their acceptance of the same by signing their names to it. The meeting then proceeded to the election of seven trustees to serve for the ensuing year. Messrs. George Knapp and Taylor Blow were
appointed tellers. The votes having been counted, the following gentlemen were declared elected as trustees: James H. Lucas, George R. Taylor, Louis C. Gamier, Neree Vallé, Lawrason Riggs, Felix Coste, and Edward J. Gay.
The first annual report of the trustees to the stockholders was as follows:
"The contract for the entire building was awarded to Messrs. Earnett & Weber, at the sum of sixty-four thousand five hundred dollars, and the contract carefully guarded as to the time for its completion and security for its faithful performance.
"The building was to have been completed and ready for delivery on the first day of last December, but it is regarded as a fortunate circumstance that it had not progressed as rapidly as the contract required, for it is well known to the association that the conflagration on the 19th of November last entirely destroyed that imposing structure known as the City Buildings, immediately in the rear of the Exchange; and there can be but little doubt but that the Exchange building would have shared a similar fate, even if it had progressed so far as to be ready for the roofing.
"The trustees, as soon as they had fixed upon a plan and made selection of a design, secured the services of Mr. Oliver A. Hart, architect and superintendent, who was employed to revise the specifications for the entire structure and superintend the building from its foundation to its entire completion.
"The building has been progressing under the personal supervision of Messrs. Gamier, Coste, and Taylor, constituting the building committee, who, together with Mr. Hart, it is believed, have supervised the entire construction from its excavation to the present time.
"The building is on an entire rock foundation, care having been observed in going down to the solid rock in all places where it was not reached according to the excavation made for the cellars, and in this connection it is believed to be a most substantial job of rubble masonry, as the utmost care was observed by Messrs. McFadden & Lynch, the contractors, whose names alone are a sufficient guarantee that the work has been faithfully done. The outer walls on Main and Commercial Streets, constructed of brick and stone, are two and a half feet in thickness from the top of the lintels to the bottom of the two massive trusses, and from thence up to the cornice one and a half feet in thickness.
"The gross amount of subscriptions, both in money and kind, amount to the sum of eighty-seven thousand two hundred dollars, and the subscriptions in kind or property have all been advantageously used in the contracts for the building.
"The lease from the association to the Chamber of Commerce of the second story for the term of ten years, has been executed by both parties, and it is most confidently believed that the whole building will be finished complete between the 1st and 15th of the ensuing May; the stores, however, will be ready by the 10th of April."
The ground for the building was broken on the 1st of March, 1856. The erection of the structure was pushed rapidly forward, and business "on 'Change" was transacted for the first time in the new hall on June 8, 1857. The edifice was of the Venetian style of architecture. The front was of the "Allen stone," and the main and partition walls were of brick. The space occupied on Main Street was one hundred and twenty-three feet, the building running back eighty-six feet to Commercial Street. On the main floor were four stores, each having a front of twenty-seven feet in the clear by eighty-five feet deep and fourteen high. Three of these stores were leased as follows as soon as finished: One to the Franklin Savings and Insurance Company, one to Peter Ames for a wine and liquor store, and the other to the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Savings Institution.
The Exchange Hall was one hundred and one feet in length and eighty feet in depth. The extreme height to the apex of the dome was sixty-three feet, and the galleries twenty-six feet. The panels of the dome were beautifully decorated in fresco by the artist, L. D. Pomerede, with paintings representing the four quarters of the globe, and the hall was well lighted by ample windows and by a skylight in the dome. Connected with the main hall was a room for the use of the secretary of the association. The south end of the hall was fitted up as a reading-room, elevated about seventeen feet above the main floor, and reached by a circular iron staircase. The room was eighteen feet by eighty, supported by eight Corinthian columns, and inclosed by a second tier of columns and tasteful iron railings. This reading-room was exposed and visible from the main floor.
The third story of the building was devoted to offices, twenty-two in number, arranged so as to form a square around the basin of the rotunda, with a gallery four feet wide, protected by an iron railing running around the entire square.
The exterior of the building was of a handsome and imposing character, the stone used being a finely grained and shaded limestone from the quarry near Allentown, on the Pacific Railroad. The building was three stories high, and the north and south entrances had projecting porticoes, supported by fluted and carved Corinthian columns with bold moulded capitals, and an entablature surmounted by a large carved work, in the centre of which was a medallion with the device or coat of arms of the Chamber of Commerce.
At the time of its erection the structure was one of the handsomest and most imposing of its kind in the country. 184
About eleven o'clock on the day of its formal occupation by the Exchange the visitors began to assemble, and in less than an hour the hall was thronged almost to its capacity. Considerable business was transacted, but calls were made for a speech from
Henry Ames, president of the Chamber of Commerce. That gentleman declined making any remarks, but taking the stand, offered the following sentiments:
"St. Louis has long been married to New York and Boston: the Western people have now adopted the Utah principle and taken Baltimore into the alliance."
Judge Z. Collins Lee, of Baltimore, then took the stand, in answer to a generally expressed desire, and compared the past of St. Louis with her then present greatness. From this time the Chamber of Commerce held its meetings in the new building.
A movement was set on foot in June, 1860, for the removal of the Exchange to other quarters in a new building then about to be commenced by F. P. Blair, Thomas C. Reynolds, and Thomas Walsh, on Third Street, south of the post-office, but nothing came of it.
Dissensions, engendered by political excitement, arose among the members of the Chamber of Commerce during the early period of the civil war, and culminated at the annual election on the 8th of January, 1862. A contemporary version of the affair gives the following particulars: 185
"The annual election of officers for the Chamber of Commerce took place yesterday and resulted, unhappily, in an unfriendly division of the members, the withdrawal of part of them, and a movement to establish a new Chamber, which movement was half consummated in the excitement of the moment. It has heretofore been customary, during the two or three weeks immediately preceding an election, to fix upon proper persons as candidates, nominate them at a preliminary meeting, and elect them with but nominal opposition when the day for balloting came on. This season the offices of president, vice-president, and committee-men were unsought for. Several gentlemen who were solicited to become candidates declined, and the usual primary mode of nominating was, we believe, dispensed with altogether. Still a full ticket was offered by general consent to the Chamber voters, and bid fair to be elected without regular opposition. It bore the heading ‘Commercial Ticket,’ and contained the following names:
"For president, Henry J. Moore; for vice-presidents, Carlos S. Greeley, Aaron W. Fagin; for flour inspectors, William Stobie, James L. Benson; for committee of appeals, J. W. Booth, Thomas Richeson, Nathan Cole, George D. Hall, Gilbert Pryor, F. A. Reuss, Alexander H. Smith, Henry A. Homeyer, E. O. Stanard, Isaac V. W. Dutcher, Robert G. Greer, Sylvester H. Laflin.
"The office of secretary, which pays a liberal salary, was the only one which invited or promised a contest. Mr. W. B. Baker, who has been the incumbent for several years, was placed upon the commercial ticket for re-election. It became evident some weeks ago that he would meet a determined opposition, and friends and opponents of this gentleman set themselves to work actively, pro and con, in the canvass. His friends said his defeat was sought on political grounds, and that he was to be forced from office because he was a Union man. His opponents, on the contrary, claimed to base their objections on personal grounds, said they had solicited Union men to run for the secretaryship, and that they would support any one in opposition, laying all political considerations aside. Many of the friends of Mr. Baker, however, viewed these professions with distrust, and determined to rally in force in his behalf, the other party having found a candidate in the person of R. H. Davis.
"The old plan of making new members on election-day to secure additional votes was called into requisition in this instance. A list of eighty new names was offered for membership, and composed, says rumor, of friends of Baker. The opposite party had not been industrious in preparing a list of their own, and defeat or victory hung upon the exclusion or admission of these candidates. To save themselves they had, of course, to accomplish their exclusion. Under an old standing rule of the Chamber, which requires but five adverse votes to ‘black-ball’ a candidate, this was easily done. The names were offered en masse, and rejected en masse. Upon this rejection the supporters of Mr. Baker felt that the day was against them and gave up the contest. Capt. Moore withdrew as a candidate for president, and the friends of the commercial ticket generally declined to vote and retired from the hall. A portion met in the secretary's room, and with S. M. Edgell in the chair, resolved to take steps towards establishing a new Exchange, the chairman being authorized to appoint a committee to report at a future meeting on the subject.
"Those who remained in the hall completed the election, and voted for an irregular ticket, which was chosen as follows:
"President, Albert Pearce; First Vice-President, William Matthews: Second Vice-President, Edgar Ames; Secretary and Treasurer, R. H. Davis.
"Committee of Appeals, T. H. Larkin, N. Schaffer, T. Betts, John Tolle, H. McKittrick, John F. Baker, J. Jackson, W. S. Moffett, Willis J. Powell, T. Ferguson, J. W. Booth, Samuel Johnson, Jr.
"Flour Inspectors, W. Stobie, Joseph Powell, J. L. Benson.
"It was rumored last evening that Messrs. Pearce, Ames, and one or two others of those elected had declined to accept, but we hear that they consider the best means of preserving the Chamber of Commerce and the excellent mercantile organization of St. Louis will be best assured by their acceptance. We think it is likely that they will retain the places to which they have been invited. The leading members of the ticket-elect, we may say, are Union men of the strongest cast, but this fact we cite merely to prove that politics played a less conspicuous part in the Chamber election of yesterday than many of the members themselves would have believed. Mr. Pearce, the new president, is the present head of the old and important house of Hening & Woodruff, and possesses the mercantile experience and elements of general character necessary to fill the office with credit to himself and the Chamber of Commerce."
At the meeting of the "bolting" members, Stephen M. Edgell was called to the chair as president, and Clinton B. Fisk was chosen secretary.
The president was instructed to appoint a committee of five persons, whose duty it should be to report at a subsequent meeting a plan of organization of "The Union Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis," and to make inquiry for suitable rooms for the accommodation of the organization, and report location and terms of lease. The meeting adjourned to meet at the call of the president and committee.
On the 11th of January the secretary issued the following:
"ELECTION NOTICE. The Union Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis will elect permanent officers for the year 1862 on Saturday, the 11th inst., at twelve o'clock noon. The secretary will be at the rooms of the Exchange, corner of Main and Elm Streets, at ten o'clock this (Saturday) morning to receive names and fees for membership. Parties engaged in mercantile or manufacturing pursuits, banks, bankers, and insurance companies are invited to an examination of the proceedings of the Union Merchants' Exchange as published in this paper this morning, and to membership in the Union Exchange.
"CLINTON B. FISK, Secretary."
"The Union Merchants' Exchange convened for the transaction of business this day under the United States flag at their temporary rooms, corner of Main and Elm Streets. The committee on permanent organization, through Thomas Richeson, made report as follows:
"‘Gentlemen, Your committee would suggest to this meeting the following as the necessary steps to be taken for the permanent organization of the Union Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis:
"1st. That all good loyal Union men of the city of St. Louis engaged in mercantile or manufacturing pursuits, who desire to become members of the Union Exchange, be and they are hereby requested to come forward and signify their intention by giving their names to the secretary of this meeting.
"2d. That this body will proceed to the permanent organization of the Union Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis by the election of permanent officers for the ensuing year at twelve o'clock noon on Saturday, the 11th inst., and that each member be required to pay the sum of ten dollars to the secretary pro tem. before casting his vote.
"3d. That the president appoint a committee of five persons, whose duty it shall be to prepare suitable rules and regulations for the government of this Exchange.
"4th. That your present committee be continued for the purpose of procuring rooms for the permanent occupancy of this Exchange.'
"The report of the committee was received and adopted by acclamation.
"James Archer tendered to the Exchange a ‘flag of the Union’ to be displayed from the rooms on Saturday, the 11th inst.
"H. M. Woodward proposed to place an iron safe in the rooms free of rent.
"The meeting passed a vote of thanks to Messrs. J. H. Lucas, L. W. Patchen & Co., Teichman & Co., Wattenberg, Bush & Co., James Archer, and H. M. Woodward for their generous courtesies to this body.
"Parties desiring membership in the Union Merchants' Exchange were then invited to make application to the secretary.
"One hundred and fifty firms enrolled their names, when the Exchange adjourned to meet at eleven o'clock on Saturday, the 11th inst.; election of permanent officers to take place at twelve o'clock.
"Judges of Election, Clinton B. Fisk, Alexander H. Smith, and Henry S. Reed.
"The secretary will be present at the Union Exchange Rooms at ten o'clock Saturday morning to receive additional names and fees for membership. List of members will be published in the city papers of Monday morning, Jan. 13, 1862.
"S. M. EDGELL, President.
"CLINTON B. FISK, Secretary.’"
In its issue of January 11th the Republican said,
"So far as we can understand, the differences which have taken place between the merchants and business men who have heretofore met at the Merchants' Exchange remain unadjusted, the committees in their meetings for that purpose having manifested very little disposition to meet each other on reasonable terms. This is to be regretted on several accounts. It not only tends to break up an association which has been the pride of the city, and to which all have looked for aid and counsel in times of difficulty, but it is likely to be productive of bad feeling, and to interrupt the transaction of business of every kind. It may well be doubted whether the feud can stop here, for there are traces of a disposition already visible to carry it into social life, and make it the cause of unpleasant differences between men who have been friends for years. Can it be possible that there is not good sense and kind feeling enough among the men who have been, perhaps by accident, made prominent actors in this affair to put a stop to action likely to lead to these results?
"From the papers published below it will be seen that all the officers elected by the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday have resigned their places; that the president (Mr. January) and one of the vice-presidents, Mr. W. Matthews, have also resigned leaving the other vice-president (Mr. Pottle), under a former election, the only officer of the association. This has been done, as we understand it, to give an opportunity to the members of the Chamber of Commerce to begin the work of organization anew, to retrace their steps, and to enable them to select officers who will be acceptable to the great majority of the members. If errors have been committed, if political tests have been made by any one, a matter about which we have not the evidence upon which to form a correct judgment, if it be deemed essential to continue the existence of the association, and this is admitted, the resignation of all the officers ought to be regarded as highly honorable, and as the best mode of restoring harmony to the Chamber. Whatever else may be done, the action of these gentlemen cannot fail to meet the approval of the thinking and conservative portion of the members of the Chamber of Commerce.
"ST. LOUIS, Jan. 10, 1862. "TO D. A. JANUARY, President Chamber of Commerce:
"Sir, The undersigned, elected by the Chamber of Commerce on the 8th inst. to the offices of president, vice-president, and secretary, respectfully decline to fill said offices.
"R. H. DAVIS."
"ST. LOUIS, Jan. 10, 1862.
"TO THE SECRETARY CHAMBER OP COMMERCE, St. Louis:
"Sir, The undersigned, president and first vice-president of the Chamber, respectfully tender the resignation of these offices.
"D. A. JANUARY, President.
"WILLIAM MATTHEWS, First Vice-Prest."
"ST. LOUIS, Jan. 10, 1862.
"TO D. A. JANUARY, President Chamber of Commerce:
"Sir, The undersigned, elected by the Chamber of Commerce on the 8th inst. as the committee of appeals to serve for the ensuing year, respectfully decline to serve.
"THOMAS H. LARKIN. THEO BETTS.
"J. F. BAKER. JOHN F. TOLLE.
"W. S. MOFFETT. THOMAS FERGUSON.
"JAMES W. BOOTH. H. McKITTRICK.
"SAMUEL JOHNSON, Jr. WILLIS J. POWELL.
"J. JACKSON. N. SCHAEFFER."
The breach in the organization seems to have had its origin in the political differences and animosities of
its members, and the election of the secretary was the excuse rather than the cause of the division. 186
Strenuous efforts were made to heal the breach, but without avail. Among these was the appointment by the Chamber of Commerce of Messrs. Francis Whittaker, J. J. Roe, Edgar Ames, William Matthews, and N. Wall as a committee to confer with the seceding members. A similar committee was appointed by the Union Exchange and a conference held, but no compromise was effected.
The two committees subsequently held another meeting, at which the following paper was presented by the committee of the regular organization to the Union committee:
"ST. LOUIS, Jan. 10, 1862.
"S. M. EDGELL, ESQ., President:
"SIR, We, the committee chosen with full powers to wait on your body, beg leave to inform you that the officers elected at the annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce on the 8th inst. have all declined serving, that the president, Mr. January, and vice-president, Mr. Matthews, have also resigned, leaving Mr. Pottle the only executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce proper.
"We therefore tender to you the Chamber of Commerce, you assuming all its liabilities.
"Hoping this course may reconcile and harmonize all past grievances, and bring the commercial interests of our city together in peace and quiet, and asking your consideration of this communication, we are, Respectfully, "FRANCIS WHITTAKER, Chairman.
"JOHN J. ROE.
On the 11th of January a meeting of the Union Exchange was held, at which John J. Roe, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, addressed the members of the Union Exchange touching the importance of union and harmony among the merchants of St. Louis, and desired to know whether the proposition from the Chamber of Commerce to surrender their rooms and other property to the Union Exchange, with the provision that the members of the Chamber of Commerce should be admitted as a body en masse to the new Union Exchange, would be favorably received. A negative response was given to the interrogatory. S. M. Edgell, president, stated that the new organization would refuse admission to no one who was willing to stand upon the platform which had been adopted by the Union Exchange; that the institution was to be known as truly loyal to the United States government, but that from its rooms political discussions and disputes should be banished.
Maj. Edwards, chairman of the committee on permanent organization, indorsed the views expressed by the president, counseled steadfastness to the principles already adopted, and presented as candidates for the offices of the Union Merchants' Exchange for the year 1862 the following persons:
President, Henry J. Moore; Vice-Presidents, Carlos S. Greeley, Aaron W. Fagin; Committee of Appeals, J. W. Booth, Thomas Richeson, Nathan Cole, George D. Hall, Gilbert Pryor, F. A. Reuss, Alex. H. Smith, Henry A. Homeyer, E. O. Stanard, Isaac V. W. Dutcher, Robert C. Greer, Sylvester H. Laflin; Secretary and Treasurer, William B. Baker; Flour Inspector, Joseph Powell.
All the candidates were elected.
The membership list of the Union Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis at the date of its permanent organization was as follows:
Anglerodt & Barth.
Ames, Henry & Co.
Alexander, F. R.
Auferheide, F. W.
Bridge, Beach & Co.
Buckland, T. A., attorney.
Baldwin &, Dodd.
Banker, G. W., president of the O'Fallon Lead and Oil Company.
Boyden & Co.
Behrens, F. S. & Co.
Block & Evers.
Blunden, Koenig & Co.
Booth, J. W. & Son.
Bowen, John H.
Beck & Corbett.
Beckman, E. & Bro.
Bemis & Brown.
Baur & Bohle.
Butler, Asa R.
Bell, C. H. & Co.
Brebaugh, Simeon. Brown & Co.
Barlow & Taylor, bankers.
Collier White Lead Co.
Christopher & Richards.
Chadbourne & Forster.
Chapman & Thorp.
Chamberlain, F. B. & Co.
Clarke, R. P.
Clarke, D. A.
Cogswell & Co.
Cranwill, Castle & Peters.
Collins, Kellogg & Kirby.
Chase & Bro.
Cutter & Terrill.
Cooley & Tower.
Creveling, H. C.
Campbell, Robert & Co.
Comstock, J. F. & Co.
Conant, H. A.
Davis, Samuel C. & Co.
Dunham & Gregg.
Dutcher & Co.
Davis & Co.
Doan, King & Co.
Edgell, S. M. & Co.
Edgar, T. B.
Ewing, W. L. & Co.
Eckermann & Co.
Ensel, G. S.
Eads, James B.
Edgell, S. M.
Fagin, A. W.
Filley, Chauncey I.
Fisk, Clinton B.
Fisher, John A. & Co.
Ferguson, C. C., secretary.
Franklin Insurance Co.
Fritchle, J. & Co.
Fisk, Knight & Co.
Fisse, G. H.
Fenby, R. D.
Fenn, William P.
Filley, E. A. & S. R.
Filley, Giles F.
Greeley & Gale.
Goodrich, Willard & Co.
Garrison, J. L.
Goodwin & Anderson.
Gaylord, Son & Co.
Greer, J. G. & Co.
Green, J. & Co.
Green, W. R. & Co.
Gilderhaus & Co.
Hazard, W. T.
Heinrichshoffen, W. & R.
Holmes, S. & Son.
Hening & Woodruff.
Holton & Capelle.
Hall, Woodward & Co.
Harlon & Wahl.
Hammill, S. & J.
Homeyer, Henry A. & Co.
Humphreys, Terry & Co.
Hancock, D. J. & Co.
Habe, William & Bro.
Hammond & Co.
Haseltine & Bent.
Howland, Charles H.
Illinois River Packet Co.
Jackson, Perry & Co.
Kendall, H. N. & Co.
Kreickhaus & Co.
Krafft, E. F.
Kuhs & Mueller.
Leonard, James D.
Lipman, Morris J.
Loring, H. I. & Co.
Moore, Henry J.
Merritt, J. & Bro.
Mitchell, Rammelsberg & Co.
McArthur & Fisher.
Meyer & Blaun.
McCartney, Samuel & Co.
Morris, S. T.
Manny, Drake & Downing.
Martin, Henry & Co.
Moreau, Alexander B.
Mueller, A. C.
McKee & Fishback.
Meier, Adolphus & Co.
Meyer, Henry L. & Co.
Mepham & Bro.
Meyer & Meister.
McQueen, William N.
Northrup, A. K.
Nulsen & Mersmans.
Obear & Gates.
Obear, W. F.
Plant, George P. & Co.
Pearce, H. O. & Co.
Pottle & Bailey.
Pike & Kellogg.
Partridge & Co.
Pomeroy & Benton.
Perret, A. L.
Prather, John G. & Co.
Pulsifer, W. H.
Patchin, L. W. & Co.
Pomeroy, C. W.
Perry, John D.
Roe, John J. & Co.
Reevey, J. B.
Rich & Co.
Reuss, F. A. & Co.
Rosenfeld, Isaac, Jr., cashier State Savings Association.
Sears, S. G.
Sexton, John A.
St. Louis Building and Savings Association.
Sinnot, Nicholas Cullen.
Standard, Gilbert & Co.
Smith, W. H. & W.
Smith, F. & Co.
Schaeffer, Anheuser & Co.
Stoddard, A. S. & Co.
Simpkins, G. W.
Shidy & Loomis.
Simpson, John H.
Sweet, G. B. & Bro.
Stedman, W. S. & Co.
Slater & Virden.
Stephens, E. & Co.
Smith, Alexander H.
Sickles, T. B. & Co.
Schild, William & Co.
Smith, Irwin Z.
Seimers & Sersinghaus.
Tucker, Charles L.
Teasdale, M. C.
Teichman & Co.
Totten, W. W.
Woodward, H. M.
Wilson, William C.
Willard & Co.
Wattenberg, Busch & Co.
Wolff & Hoppe.
Warne, Cheever & Co.
Young, William & Co.
At a meeting of the Union Merchants' Exchange, held January 13th, the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That all persons engaged in mercantile or manufacturing pursuits, banks, bankers, and insurance companies who can subscribe to the following obligation are cordially invited to membership in the Union Merchants' Exchange in St. Louis, and that all the members heretofore enrolled shall be required to subscribe to said obligation:
"We, the undersigned, solemnly pledge our honor that we will bear true allegiance to the United States and to the provisional government of the State of Missouri, and support and sustain the Constitution and laws thereof; that we will maintain the national sovereignty paramount to that of all State, county, or confederate powers; that we will discourage, discountenance, and forever oppose secession, rebellion, and disintegration of the Federal Union; that we disclaim and denounce all faith and fellowship with the so-called Confederate authorities or armies, and pledge our honor to the sound performance of this our solemn obligation." 187
At a meeting of the Union Exchange, held Jan. 23, 1862, the committee appointed by the Union Merchants' Exchange to meet a similar committee from the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce reported that they had met, and after consultation in regard to the differences between the two organizations, were unable to effect any satisfactory adjustment, whereupon the following resolutions were offered:
"Resolved, That no member of the Union Merchants' Exchange shall, after the 1st of February next, be a member of or transact business at the rooms of any similar organization in this city; and the president of this association shall cause the name of any member violating this rule to be stricken from the roll of membership, and announce the same at the first meeting of the Exchange thereafter.
"Resolved, That no member of any similar organization in the city of St. Louis shall be admitted to the membership of the Union Merchants' Exchange after the 1st of February next, except by ballot, and any applicant failing to receive two-thirds of the whole number of votes cast shall be rejected."
Action upon these resolutions was postponed to a subsequent meeting.
The new Exchange occupied quarters in the building south of the post-office, on Third Street, belonging
to Mitchell, Rammellsburg & Co. Feb. 4, 1862, there were two rooms (about eighty by twenty-five feet) where the principal business was transacted, connecting with each other by three doors in each, opening into a hall nine feet in width, running nearly the full length of the building. Besides these there were two ample committee-rooms in the rear, and the secretary's office.
At the election for officers of the Chamber of Commerce, held on Jan. 15, 1862, the following were chosen: President, William Matthews; First Vice-President, James Mackoy; Second Vice-President, George Bayha; Secretary and Treasurer, Robert H. Davis; Committee of Appeals, T. H. Larkin, John F. Tolle, John F. Baker, Mackot Thompson, N. Schaeffer, Willis J. Powell, Thomas Ferguson, Edward Ring, Samuel Johnson, Jr., G. L. Hughes, David Anderson, Charles L. Thompson; Flour Inspectors, James L. Benson, William Stobie, Joseph Powell.
D. A. January, the late president, in announcing the vote, took occasion to deliver a short valedictory, assuring the Chamber of his hearty co-operation, and indulging in hopes for its prosperity and usefulness in the future. The new president, on being introduced by Mr. January, made a few remarks, tendering his thanks for the honor conferred upon him, and in the name of the Chamber complimenting the late incumbent upon the fidelity and success of his administration.
Mr. Mackoy, the first vice-president, was next introduced. He alluded to the influence over the business of the West, and, indeed, over the commerce of the world, that had been exerted in the past by the Chamber, and said he trusted that, with the single purpose of developing the commercial interests of the country, knowing no North, no South, no East, no West, it would be enabled in the future to maintain its proud position.
Derrick A. January, whose retirement from the presidency of the Chamber of Commerce has been mentioned, was born in Lexington, Ky., in August, 1814, and lived there until he was about sixteen years of age, when he removed with his widowed mother to Louisville, Ky., where he worked in an humble capacity in the printing-office of the Advertiser newspaper. In 1832 he removed to Jacksonville, Ill., where in connection with his brother he opened a general store. The business grew and prospered, and was continued without interruption until the winter of 1836 37, when the family removed to St. Louis. Here Mr. January opened the wholesale grocery house of January, Stettinius & Co., on the Levee. The uniform prosperity which had always attended his mercantile career received a new impetus in St. Louis, and continued without interruption for nearly forty years. Although he was surrounded with younger associates, his name was the bulwark of the firm. During the existence of the house whose head he was it occupied a leading position, and remained unshaken even in the disturbing period of the civil war. He retired from this business in 1875.
Mr. January was prominently instrumental in building the first "Lindell Hotel," and subscribed largely for that purpose. In the movement for rebuilding that structure he took the same active part, and his subscriptions were equally munificent. He was one of the originators of the Merchants' Bank; was president of the Chamber of Commerce, as we have seen, at the beginning of the war; was for four years president of the St. Louis Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and was one of the founders of the United States Insurance Company. Many other prominent corporations had the benefit of his wise counsel in their boards of directors.
Mr. January died July 19, 1879. Upon his death the Merchants' Exchange adopted highly eulogistic resolutions, in which it was stated that "No man less ostentatious, less attracted by the allurements of personal ambition, ever attained a position of more influence or possessed a more commanding hold upon the affectionate regard of his fellow-citizens. With no desire for political place, he was far from indifferent to the cause of public affairs, and by all the means in his power he aided every movement designed to purify and elevate the government of city, State, and nation.
"In business he was the embodiment of the soul of honor and the spirit of enterprise. The growth and prosperity of our city and State, the extension of our commercial relations, the promotion of every element of progress, and the encouragement of all influences tending towards culture and refinement seemed ever present in his brain and heart. Coming to St. Louis in 1837, he soon took a leading position among the merchants of the city, and his house became known all over the country as standing with the highest in the magnitude of its transactions and in point of honorable dealing. His manners were dignified, courteous, and elegant, and in social life, no less than in the walks of commerce, he was conspicuous for his urbanity and modest bearing. At home he was considerate, kind, and cheerful; at all times he was even-tempered, benevolent, and just....In all relations of life the deceased was a true man."
Mr. January was twice married, first in 1842 to Miss Mary Louisa Smith, step-daughter of the late Jesse G. Lindell, by whom he had three children, the first of whom died in infancy. In 1860 he was
again married to Miss Julia C. Churchill, of Louisville, Ky., who, with five children, survives him.
At a special meeting of the Union Exchange, held on the 3d of April, 1862, the following communication was read and submitted to the members:
"OFFICE ST. LOUIS
"MERCHANTS' EXCHANGE COMPANY,
"April 2, 1862.
"To Henry J. Moore, Esq.:
"DEAR SIR, I have the honor to present the following resolution of the company I represent, with an earnest request that the committee asked for will be granted, and that mutual concessions may lead to good results.
"I am, respectfully yours,
"GEORGE R. TAYLOR,
"President Merchants' Exchange Company.
"‘Resolved, That the president he and he is hereby instructed to request of the two Chambers of Commerce the appointing of a committee of five members of their respective bodies to meet this board on Friday next at 10 o'clock A. M., with a view of avoiding, if possible, the sacrifice of this company's interests, and the adjustment of the present unfortunate difficulties.’"
A motion to comply with the request was adopted, and the president appointed the committee as follows: George Partridge, Thomas Richeson, Dennis Marks, Charles Holmes, Henry A. Homeyer.
The conference failed to procure an adjustment of the difficulties, but on the 27th of October another proposition was submitted. The letter of the president embodying this proposition was as follows:
"OFFICE OF THE ST. LOUIS MERCHANTS' EXCHANGE COMPANY.
"ST. LOUIS, Oct. 27, 1862.
"TO THE UNION MERCHANTS' EXCHANGE OF ST. LOUIS, MO.:
"As president of the St. Louis Merchants' Exchange Company, I have the honor to address your body, and sincerely hope that you will view with liberality, as well as equitably, the following proposition, the more especially as the stockholders of the Exchange Company are neither directly nor indirectly responsible for the unfortunate division that has so seriously involved the company's interest, and proximate ruin of their property. And in this connection allow me to call your attention to the company's earliest history, and the great liberality that characterized the action of those having then, as at this time, the building and the company's interest in charge.
"The St. Louis Chamber of Commerce then occupied rooms, wholly unsuited for their purpose, over the drug store of Messrs. Charlese & Blow, being contracted, dark, and ineligible in every particular. At this time the Chamber entered into an agreement with a few of their own members, proposing, among other things, that if a room sixteen feet in the clear, and not less than one hundred feet in front by eighty feet in depth, with as few obstructions as practicable was prepared, the same would be leased for ten years, at an annual rent of two thousand five hundred dollars. Now, at this time the property represented by this company was vacant, and at the instance of a few persons an association was formed, the ground purchased, and the building now the company's erected, the association subsequently obtaining a charter. Instead of a room of the dimensions specified in the agreement referred to, the present building was erected, and the most elegant apartments to be found in the whole range of commercial cities in the United States placed at the disposal of the Chamber of Commerce. The building is known to be complete in all its appointments, was occupied by the merchants for whom and at whose instance it was built, and continued to be occupied by them until the inauguration of this cruel war, when difficulties, in which this company was in no wise involved, arose, eventuating in a separation, and ultimately in the closing of the apartments so leased to the Chamber and parties for whom it was built.
"The foregoing is a plain statement of facts, with the additional one that the company, in its liberality, desiring to serve the merchants, have wellnigh ruined their property, for it is almost useless for other purposes. Now, in view of all the circumstances, and with the hope and reasonable expectation of harmonizing ultimately the unfortunate division between parties for whom the building was erected, the undersigned submits the following proposition: We will place your honorable body in peaceable possession of all the original apartments occupied by the Chamber of Commerce, including the use of all the furniture, fixtures, and property on the premises, on the first day of the ensuing November, for the term of fourteen months, at the same rental specified in the lease to said Chamber, upon condition, first, that your honorable body admit such members of the old Chamber to your organization on their complying with all the requisites of your rules and organization; or,
"Secondly, that, should you refuse them membership, then your honorable body admit such of them as may choose to visit your meetings and participate in the sale and purchase of produce, upon their paying the regular and customary fees prescribed by your rules, not voting nor participating in the management of your organization, but to conform in all particulars, in their intercourse with the members and each other, as is prescribed by rules in the premises.
"I honestly entreat your honorable body, on behalf of the interests of all parties involved, so detrimental to this company, and the interests directly and most injuriously affected, to accept the within and foregoing proposition, thus harmonizing all conflicting opinions without sacrificing principle, and avoiding the injury, if not ultimate destruction, of this company's property.
"I am, very respectfully,
"G. R. TAYLOR, President.
At a meeting of the Union Exchange, held on the 18th of November, 1862, the directors were authorized by a unanimous vote to make a proposition to George R. Taylor, president of the Exchange Company, to lease the Chamber of Commerce building for five years, at two thousand five hundred dollars per annum, and make no conditions as to membership. The terms suggested were accepted, and on the 26th the Union Exchange removed from the rooms near the post-office which it had occupied to the old quarters in the Chamber of Commerce building. At an election held on the 7th of January, 1863, the following officers of the Union Exchange were chosen:
President, George Partridge; Vice-Presidents, C. S. Greeley, A. W. Fagin; Directors, N. Schaeffer, John J. Roe, E. O. Stanard, S. M. Edgell, Barton Able, George P. Plant, William D'Oench, Thomas Richeson, J. O. Pierce, H. A. Homeyer; Committee of Appeals, J. W. Booth, Nathan Cole, C. L. Tucker,
Samuel McCartney, John C. Rust, F. A. Reuss, Robert C. Greer, C. O. Dutcher, M. C. Teasdale, George H. Rea, G. W. Chadbourne, G. Woltman; Committee of Arbitration, S. Jacoby, T. A. Buckland, J. G. Nulsen, G. W. Banker, A. L. Holmes, W. Heinrichshofen, A. B. Marean, Charles F. Meyer, N. Stevens, W. H. Pulsifer.
On the 4th of March, 1863, the Exchange was chartered, the incorporators being all the men of the association.
In the spring of 1871 the question of obtaining more spacious accommodations presented itself, and at a meeting of the directors held on the 12th of June, 1871, Gerard B. Allen presiding, the following propositions were submitted:
"Third and Chestnut Proposition.
"ST. LOUIS, June 12, 1871.
"GERARD B. ALLEN, ESQ.,
"President of the Union Merchants' Exchange:
"Dear Sir, The undersigned have agreed to form a company with ample capital for the purpose of erecting an Exchange building, fronting two hundred and forty-three feet on the west side of Third Street, between Chestnut and Pine Streets, with a depth of one hundred and fifty feet on Chestnut Street, between Third and Fourth Streets, and desire to lease to your association suitable accommodations therein.
"The location, in reference to the business of this city, and to the positions of the custom-house, post-office, court-house, banking-houses, and hotels, is one of the most central that can be secured, and is likely to remain so for a number years to come. We design to erect a first-class edifice, which will architecturally, an ornament to the city, and fit up the second story for an Exchange, with its reading-rooms, secretary's and directors' rooms. The details of arrangements of the rooms will be made to suit the views of your association, as it is the design of the company to devote the entire front on the western side of Third Street, if required, to the purposes of the Exchange, and not only to construct an edifice ample for the present wants of trade, but also to provide for extending it so as to accommodate the manufacturing, mechanical, and banking interests as well as the commercial. It is also intended to set the building sufficiently back so as to widen the adjoining streets.
"The style of the edifice will accord with the present European taste, and it will have all the necessary accommodations for the purposes of your association; a room will be furnished on the second floor, double the size of the present Exchange room, with the privilege of making it nearly four times as large; it will be from forty-five to fifty feet in height, with the acoustic advantages unsurpassed. The construction of the building will be such that light and ventilation will be obtained on the four sides or points, with the principal points south and east, these being the most sought after, even in our domestic buildings. Another grand feature of the arrangement is that a summer building, covering it over with glass sustained by iron-work, flagging it with marble tiles, forming an arcade from Chestnut to Pine Streets, with brokers', bankers, real estate, and insurance offices on both sides of it. Those who have traveled abroad can readily see the effect and importance of this feature in the arrangement of an Exchange building, and the ready facilities it would give for the transaction of business would be unequaled on this continent.
"We respectfully request the appointment of a committee to confer, on the part of your association, with Messrs. George Knapp, James H. Lucas, B. W. Alexander, R. J. Lackland, and H. L. Patterson, a committee on our part, respecting the terms and other arrangements which would be acceptable to it in regard to the proposed Exchange.
"We remain, dear sir, yours respectfully,
"James H. Lucas, J. G. Weld, George Knapp & Co., B. W. Alexander, Ann L. Hunt, Erastus Wells, Thomas Allen, Joseph Brown, Adolphus Meier, Franklin O. Day, George R. Taylor, R. J. Lackland, Henry Blaksley, J. H. McLean, Joseph Weil, John Finn, James J. O'Fallon, Elois P. Kayser, William C. Taylor, R. W. Mitchell, William Keiler, Frederick Hill, John H. Gay, Edward J. Gay, William T. Gay, J. R. Pullis & Brother, Z. F. Wetzell & Co."
Third and Locust Proposition.
"ST. LOUIS, June 12, 1871.
"TO THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS:
"For myself and associates, I propose to erect a Merchants' Exchange building in Block 64 of the city of St. Louis, at the northeast corner of Locust and Third Streets, the building to be two hundred by one hundred and eight feet; the Exchange room to be one hundred by one hundred and seventy feet in the clear and forty-six feet high, to have entrances from Third Street and Exchange Street. The large room will leave committee-room, secretary's room, reading-room, directors' room, and ample accommodation for washing, etc. For particulars, see plans.
"We propose to lease to the Chamber of Commerce for thirty years, the first ten years thereof for fifteen thousand dollars, the second ten for twenty thousand dollars, and the third ten years for twenty-five thousand dollars.
"For myself and associates,
"P. B. GERHART."
A plan for erecting a similar building at Sixth Street and Washington Avenue was also submitted by John A. Scudder, Catherine Ames, and William H. Scudder.
Architectural drawings of the proposed buildings accompanied the first two propositions.
The board, after an informal consultation, ordered the propositions to be laid upon the table for one week, and directed the secretary to request the parties to amend their propositions by including in them all particulars respecting the locations, dimensions, prices of rent, and the time at which they would obligate themselves to have the building ready for occupancy in the event of the acceptance of any of the propositions.
At a meeting of the directors on the 19th of June the following amended propositions were submitted by the same parties:
Third and Chestnut Location.
"ST. LOUIS, June 19, 1871.
"GERARD B. ALLEN, President Union Merchants' Exchange:
"DEAR SIR, We propose to furnish the Union Merchants' Exchange with suitable apartments for all the purposes of an Exchange building, including large chamber, reading- and committee-rooms, offices, etc., located on Third Street, between Chestnut and Pine Streets, The size contemplated for the
large chamber is one hundred and seventy-nine feet in length, eighty feet in width, and from forty-five to fifty feet in height, with light and ventilation from three sides, and unsurpassed acoustic properties.
"Should a larger room or different dimensions be required, we hold ourselves in readiness to make the alterations, with a view to meeting the reasonable views of the directory and members. Full and complete arrangements have been made for the purchase and possession of the ground, and ample guaranty will be given for the completion of the building, which will be on an elegant scale of architectural beauty, on or before the 25th of November, 1872, the time of the expiration of your present lease. We propose a lease to the Exchange for twenty-five years on the following terms: For a term of five years, $12,000 per annum; for a second term of five years, $15,000 per annum; for a third term of five years, $18,000 per annum; for a fourth term of five years, $21,000 per annum; and for the fifth term of five years, $24,000 per annum.
"We may here repeat, from a former statement laid before you, that the location proposed is perhaps the most central that can be found, relative to the custom-house, post-office, court-house, banking and insurance institutions, leading hotels, the preponderance of the business houses of our city, and the centre of our river commerce."
GEORGE KNAPP, representing James H. Lucas, George Knapp & Co., Ann L. Hunt, Thomas Allen, Adolphus Meier, George R. Taylor, Henry Blaksley, Joseph Weil, James J. O'Fallon, William O. Taylor, William Keiler, John H. Gay, William T. Gay, J. G. Weld, B. W. Alexander, Erastus Wells, Joseph Brown, Franklin O. Day, B. J. Lackland, J. H. McLean, John Finn, Elois P. Kayser, R. W. Mitchell, Frederick Hill, Edward J. Gay, J. R. Pullis & Brother, Z. E. Wetzell & Co., who had agreed to form a company with ample capital for the purpose of erecting an Exchange building, conformably to the above proposition.
Third and Locust Plan. P. B. Gerhart, for himself and associates, reiterated his former proposition, with the additional statement that they proposed to have the building ready for occupation in eighteen months after the acceptance of the proposition and after Third Street had been widened as proposed for the bridge approaches.
Sixth and Washington Avenue Proposition. Messrs. John A. and W. H. Scudder and Mrs. Ames submitted the same proposition as before for the erection of a building on this location, with the stipulation that it should be completed by November, 1872. This contemplated the erection of a building one hundred and eighty-two feet on Washington Avenue by one hundred feet on Sixth Street, leaving twenty-five feet on the north side for an open court. The rent proposed was, for the first five years, $5500 per annum; the next ten years, $20,000 per annum; the next five years, $25,000 per annum.
The board did not discuss the merits or demerits of the propositions, but merely considered the mode of submitting the question to the members of the Exchange. The directors decided that a vote of the members be taken on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of July, polls open from 10 A. M. to 2 P. M. each day. They further decided that any plan to be considered adopted must have a majority of all the votes cast, and that in the event of there not being a majority for either of the propositions, the one receiving the lowest number be considered rejected, and a new ballot ordered upon the other two. If a majority of the votes were cast for any one proposition, the board would understand that they were instructed to enter into a contract according to the proposition approved.
The proposition of the Messrs. Scudder and Mrs. Ames was, however, withdrawn, as appears from the following letter:
"OFFICE OF HENRY AMES & CO.
"ST. LOUIS, June 27, 1871.
"TO G. B. ALLEN, President of the Union Merchants' Exchange, St. Louis:
"DEAR SIR, We desire to withdraw the proposition now before you, of the undersigned, for building a new Exchange building on Sixth and Washington Avenue, believing that in so doing you will the more readily arrive at a selection which will be agreeable to a larger number of your members than if a greater number of proposals were before you. As the selection of this site seems to be opposed by many of your members, we are unwilling to be the instruments of any discord or disagreement among you. In conclusion, we will say that we will cordially support any location which may be the selection of a majority of your members.
"Yours, respectfully, "JOHN A. SCUDDER.
"WILLIAM H. SCUDDER."
The withdrawal of the Scudder proposition left but two sites to be considered and voted upon by the members of the Exchange, viz.: Third and Locust Streets, and Third Street between Chestnut and Pine. "We maintain," said the Republican at the time, "that the latter is the more suitable, being nearer the centre of trade and more accessible to the great body of our merchants. As has heretofore been stated, there are seven hundred and seventy-three business houses represented on 'Change located south of Olive Street, while there are only four hundred and ninety-two located north of that street. This shows at a glance that a large majority of our mercantile community would be better accommodated by the location of the Exchange between Chestnut and Pine Streets than between Locust and Vine. We believe that the question has already been decided with emphasis by the common voice of those most interested, and it only remains to record that decision at the election to be held on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of next month."
The proposition of Mr. Knapp and his associates was finally accepted by the board, and a special committee, composed of Gerard B. Allen, George Bain,
John Wall, W. M. Samuel, Miles Sells, and D. P. Rowland, was appointed to prepare articles of association for a company to be known as the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce Association. At that time the officers of the Exchange were Gerard B. Allen, president; R. P. Tansey, first vice-president; George Bain, second vice-president; and George P. Plant, John F. Mauntel, William H. Scudder, Philip C. Taylor, D. P. Rowland, William J. Lewis, Web M. Samuel, John A. Scudder, John Wahl, and Miles Sells, directors. This committee reported a series of articles of association to a meeting held on the 22d of November, 1871, and after they had been read, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:
"WHEREAS, A petition signed by nearly seven hundred members of this Exchange, being a majority thereof, has been presented to this directory requesting them to locate the new Exchange building on the block bounded by Third and Fourth and Chestnut and Pine Streets, and to take steps to form a stock company to purchase or lease the property designated and build a suitable building thereon; therefore be it
"Resolved, That the directory of the Union Merchants' Exchange cordially indorse the location so designated and the articles of association reported to them by the special committee appointed for this purpose.
"Resolved, That committees of three each be appointed by the president to canvass the members of the Exchange and others interested and secure subscriptions to the capital stock of the proposed association."
The articles of association which were adopted at the same meeting read as follows:
"The undersigned hereby certify that, by virtue of the provisions of chapter sixty-nine of the general statutes of the State of Missouri, entitled ‘Manufacturing and Business Companies,’ and authorizing the formation of corporations ‘to erect hotels, halls, market-houses, warehouses, exchange and other buildings, and for any other purpose intended for mutual profit or benefit, not otherwise especially provided for and not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of this State,’ they have associated, and by these presents do associate together, to form a corporation in manner and form, and for the objects and purposes hereinafter set forth, as follows:
"ART. I. The corporate name of this company shall be ‘ST. LOUIS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ASSOCIATION.’
ART. II. The objects for which this company is formed are the erection of an Exchange and other buildings on Block 86, bounded by Chestnut, Pine, Third, and Fourth Streets, in the city of St. Louis, State of Missouri; the lease or purchase, in fee-simple or otherwise, of the land on which said Exchange buildings are designed to be erected, and the use or renting out said buildings for a Merchants' or other Exchange, for offices, stores, or any other lawful use or purpose whatever approved by this company.
"ART. III. The amount of the capital stock of this company shall be one million dollars, and consist of ten thousand shares of one hundred dollars each. But the company shall be regarded as established and organized by the subscriptions of stock made by the signers of this certificate, and the board of directors hereinafter named shall make rules or by-laws in reference to any further subscriptions to said capital stock.
"ART. IV. The affairs of this company shall be managed by a board of thirteen directors, Rufus J. Lackland, B. W. Alexander, Henry T. Blow, Gerard B. Allen, Geo. Knapp, John A. Scudder, W. M. Samuel, George Bain, George P. Plant, Henry L. Patterson, E. O. Stanard, W. J. Lewis, and D. P. Rowland shall form said board for the first year.
"ART. V. The business operations of this company shall be carried on in the city of St. Louis, and its office shall be at such place in said city as may from time to time be selected by said board of directors.
"ART. VI. The period of the corporate existence of this company shall be fifty years.
"ART. VII. The board of directors shall, as soon as practicable, call a general meeting of the stockholders of this company to make by-laws for the same, as provided by law, for the management of its property, the regulation of its affairs, the transfer of its stock, and especially for the declaration of the powers and duties of said board of directors."
On the 12th of December the directors met and elected Rufus J. Lackland president, Gerard B. Allen and George Knapp vice-presidents, and George H. Morgan secretary pro tem. At the same meeting they adopted and issued the following address:
"The undersigned, directors of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce Association, desire, in asking for your subscriptions to the capital stock of that association, to present some of the reasons which have impelled then to assume the responsibility of providing St. Louis with a suitable Exchange building.
"It must be apparent to all of our citizens that it is full time that St. Louis should evince the same faith in its future progress that is exhibited by the great majority of the people of the whole country. No greater evidence of this faith and of a determination to command success can be given than the erection of a Merchants' Exchange, a grand central mart, in which will be combined the commerce of a dozen States, and around which must of necessity gather the controllers of the capital which will aid, encourage, and extend that commerce. Nor is it unimportant that such a building should combine architectural strength and elegance. The present requirements of our commerce cannot be served in a small edifice, and it is not open to doubt that the requirements of ten years hence will demand greatly extended accommodations; that with the increase of our population, the extension of our trade, the cultivation of a higher taste in art, the erection of a structure of imposing dimensions will alone satisfy the conditions of the progress of the city and assure that progress.
"The plan proposed, and which has received the approval of the members of the Merchants' Exchange, is to devote the entire block bounded by Fourth, Chestnut, Third, and Pine Streets to the erection of buildings for commercial, banking, insurance, legal, and exchange purposes, the structure to be suitable in architectural design to the metropolis of the West, commensurate in extent and adaptation to the present and prospective commercial interests of the city, and which shall present facilities for the immediate co-operation of the varied interests represented in the Produce Exchange, the Board of Trade, the Mechanics' and Manufacturers' Exchange, the Tobacco Association, the Pork-Packers' Association, the Real Estate Exchange, the Board of Underwriters, etc. The entire cost of such a structure, including the fee-simple of the ground, will exceed two million dollars, but it is not probable that the entire cost will be borne by the association. The building of
the whole block in the same style of architecture is imperative, but it is now proposed that the association shall purchase only the eastern two-thirds of the block, leaving Mr. Lucas and Mrs. Hunt to build up the western third, a division that will reduce the amount to be raised by this association some seven or eight hundred thousand dollars, while the interests of the public will lose nothing. The work is not to be commenced upon the structure until the entire amount necessary to construct it has been provided for by stock subscriptions or otherwise, nor will the architect be selected until that time, when perfect plans, with specifications, shall be submitted, and the cost clearly known before any expenditure upon construction account is made.
"We are thus explicit in stating details that we may more directly enlist your aid. It seems to us clear that in this task of developing the commercial interests of St. Louis and placing its future progress beyond question, we are justly entitled to call upon the moneyed institutions of the city for liberal stock subscriptions. We advance no labored argument to prove that the enterprise must of necessity be a paying one. In a building of the character designated a large amount of room will be devoted to banking rooms, insurance offices, etc., and as they will be by the location brought in direct proximity with the interests that form the basis of their transactions, there will be no lack of desirable tenants. There is scarcely more need to present reasons that should determine you to make subscriptions to the capital stock. The banks and insurance companies of the city represent a capital of nearly fifty millions of dollars, capital that belongs to St. Louis, is a representative of the accumulated wealth of the city, and has been largely drawn here by the operations of merchants. Beyond this the banks alone hold an average of over thirty millions of dollars, deposited by merchants and business men, each of whom is interested in, and will be served by the erection of, the proposed structure. The merchants themselves of necessity are unable to withdraw large amounts of their capital from their active business for stock subscriptions, even to an enterprise of this character; nor would it be to the interest of the banks to have them do so. The latter, however, as the custodians of the deposits of the merchants, are required to hold a certain portion of their resources in trust, and we submit to them that the fiduciary trust thus imposed can be most wisely used in such an investment as we propose, as by this means they employ most directly a portion of the gathered capital of the merchants to aid and extend the commercial operations and profits of the depositor.
"We are gratified to announce that the subscriptions already made and tendered foot up four hundred thousand dollars, of which two hundred and fifty thousand dollars is from individuals, and the remainder from the Bank of the State, the Boatmen's Saving Institution, and Third National Bank, each of which institutions will subscribe fifty thousand dollars, and propose to occupy portions of the building. We may add that the subscriptions will be called for only as the work progresses, thus extending the payments over a period of eighteen months or two years.
"In conclusion, we suggest that, although at the moment there may be a doubt as to whether some of our banks, under their charters, can make such subscriptions, that this objection may be obviated by the passage by the Legislature of a general law enabling corporations as such to take stock another corporations.
"Rufus J. Lackland, B. W. Alexander, Henry T. Blow, Gerard B. Allen, George Knapp, John A. Scudder, W. M. Samuel, George Bain, George P. Plant, Henry L. Patterson, E. O. Stanard, William J. Lewis, D. P. Rowland."
On the 19th of December the association was chartered by the Legislature, the incorporators being Erastus Wells, John N. Bofinger, R. J. Lackland, and others. Immediately after its organization the board effected the purchase of the ground for five hundred and sixty-one thousand seven hundred dollars and eighty-six cents, and applied itself to the work of obtaining subscriptions, which on the 6th of July, 1873, amounted to six hundred and fifty thousand dollars. 188
In May, 1873, the work of tearing down the old buildings was commenced, and in July the first excavation was made for the foundations. On August 25th following the first stone of the foundation was laid, and on the 6th of June, 1874, the corner-stone was laid with Masonic ceremonies under the direction of Rufus E. Anderson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri. 189 On Friday, June 5th, the reception-stone was set in place at the northeast corner of the building, a large copper box having been fitted in place in its centre. The immense corner-stone proper was placed at a point a short distance away, to serve as a speaker's stand. On Saturday afternoon, June 6th, the members of the different Masonic lodges, including the Grand Lodge of Missouri, and Knight Templar commanderies of the city assembled in uniform at Seventh and Market Streets, where they were joined by Company A, National Guards, Capt. John B. Gray. The members of the Chamber of Commerce Association and Merchants' Exchange and a large number of other prominent citizens also joined the procession. At five o'clock the march was begun. First came a body of mounted policemen, then the military headed by the New Orleans Band, then the Knights Templar commanderies, then the Chamber of Commerce Association and Merchants' Exchange, and lastly the Grand Lodge, headed by the Arsenal Band. On Fourth Street, in front of the Planters' House, the procession halted and opened out, and the Grand Lodge passed through, receiving the salutes of the commanderies
and military. Passing around by Chestnut Street, the body proceeded to the scene of ceremony. Arrived there, the officers of the Grand Lodge took their station on the platform, and the brethren formed in a hollow square about the corner-stone. The officers of the Grand Lodge at this time were R. E. Anderson, G. M.; John W. Luke, D. G. M.; J. E. Cadle, S. G. W.; Allen McDowell (acting), J. G. W.; William N. Loker, G. Treas.; Geo. Frank Gouley, G. Sec.; Rev. R. A. Holland, G. Chap.; D. N. Burgoyne, Bearer Great Light: J. R. Friend, S. G. Deacon; Morris Jacks, J. G. Deacon; W. R. Stubblefield, G. Marshal; Nicholas Wall, Grand Marshal; G. B. Dameron, G. Sword-Bearer; John G. Gilfillan, Grand Steward; Isaiah Forbes, Grand Steward; J. X. Allen, Grand Tiler. After music by the Arsenal Band, R. J. Lackland, president of the Chamber of Commerce Association, introduced to the immense concourse who blocked the streets on every side Web M. Samuel, president of the Merchants' Exchange, who delivered an interesting and forcible address. Rufus E. Anderson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, then addressed the assemblage, and when he had finished, the ceremony of laying the corner-stone was commenced. A box was placed in the stone, containing a Bible, the records, constitution and bylaws of the Chamber of Commerce Association and of the Merchants' Exchange, copies of newspapers, coins, and other relics, and the stone, weighing nine tons, was then lifted into place, after which the usual Masonic ceremonies were performed.
The officers of the Chamber of Commerce Association at this time were Rufus J. Lackland, president; George Knapp, first vice-president; B. W. Alexander, second vice-president; George H. Morgan, secretary and treasurer; Directors, Rufus J. Lackland, B. W. Alexander, George Knapp, W. M. Samuel, George Bain, George P. Plant, D. P. Rowland, J. H. Britton, John R. Lionberger, John H. Beach, Adolphus Meier, Charles L. Hunt, J. B. C. Lucas. Building Committee, George Knapp, chairman; R. J. Lackland, J. R. Lionberger, Adolphus Meier, Charles L. Hunt.
In 1875 the name of the Exchange, which had continued to be the Union Merchants' Exchange, was changed to the Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis, and in the preamble to their rules and by-laws the members declared the object of the association to be "to advance the commercial character and promote the manufacturing interests of the city of St. Louis," to "inculcate just and equitable principles of trade, establish and maintain uniformity in the commercial usages of the city, acquire, preserve, and disseminate valuable business information," and to "avoid and adjust, as far as practicable, the controversies and misunderstandings which may arise between individuals engaged in trade." The erection of the new Exchange building was pressed forward with great energy, and the splendid structure was completed and formally opened on the 21st of December, 1875, with ceremonies of an elaborate and imposing character. At ten o'clock the members of the Exchange assembled at the old Exchange building to say "good-by" to their former home. At eleven o'clock Company A, National Guards, commanded by Capt. C. E. Pearce, filed into the hall, headed by Postlethwaite's Band, and after music by the Arsenal Band, D. P. Rowland, president of the Exchange, called the assemblage to order, and announced that Mr. Wayman Crow, the oldest living member and the second president of the Exchange, had been selected to deliver the farewell address. Mr. Crow then addressed the meeting, giving an historical sketch of the organization and relating many interesting reminiscences. 190
At the close of Mr. Crow's address the band struck up "Auld Lang Syne," and the air was sung by the entire Exchange. A procession was then formed under direction of William Hamilton, grand marshal, which marched up Main Street to Washington Avenue, up Washington Avenue to Fourth Street, down Fourth Street to Chestnut Street, and along Chestnut Street to the new Exchange building. A squad of mounted police formed the head of the procession. Next came Postlethwaite's Band, followed by Company A, National Guard Rifle Association, Capt. Charles E. Pearce in command. The president and directors of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce Association came next, and after them the architects, builders, and contractors of the new building, ex-presidents of the Exchange, vice-presidents and directors, various committees and members. Along the line of march the streets were lined with people, and at the new building there was scarcely room enough for the column to pass along comfortably. Although there was a goodly number of ladies and gentlemen present as spectators, the vastness of the ball and the galleries made the many appear but few. When the procession filed into the hall, the officers, ex-officers, and distinguished guests mounted to the platform, while the other members of the procession filled all the standing-room on the floor of the hall. The Arsenal Band took position at the left of the platform and opened the ceremonies with music. Among those on the platform were the following:
D. P. Rowland, president of the Merchants' Exchange, Mayor Britton, Rev. Dr. W. G. Eliot, Wayman Crow, Capt. James B. Eads, Samuel M. Edgell, George Knapp, Charles Hunt, Adolphus Meier, ex-Governor E. O. Stanard, John Beach, Web. M. Samuel, Maj. Francis D. Lee, George Partridge, D. A. January, William H. Scudder, George H. Morgan, Capt. Nanson, Craig Alexander, John B. Maude, Michael McEnnis, William M. Senter, R. P. Tansey, Capt. Davidson, and John Booth.
Hon. E. O. Stanard called the meeting to order, and stated that as the hall was so very large, and its acoustic properties had never been tried, it would be necessary to preserve the strictest silence to secure a hearing of the speakers. He then introduced Maj. Francis D. Lee, chief architect of the building, who delivered possession to R. J. Lackland, president of the Chamber of Commerce Association, accompanying the formal transfer of the structure with a brief address. Mr. Lackland then delivered the building in turn to D. P. Rowland, president of the Merchants' Exchange. In the course of his remarks, Mr. Lackland complimented Col. George Knapp, chairman of the building committee, for the untiring energy which he had displayed in overcoming all obstacles to the completion of the edifice. "To his (Col. Knapp's) far-sighted public spirit and indomitable energy," added Mr. Lackland, "we are mainly indebted for this beautiful structure."
On behalf of the Merchants' Exchange, Mr. Rowland accepted the trust from Mr. Lackland, to whose remarks he responded in a brief and eloquent address. Prayer was then offered by Rev. Dr. W. G. Eliot, after which Capt. James B. Eads, orator of the day, was introduced, and delivered an elaborate and able address. A poem on commerce was then recited by Solon N. Sapp, which was followed by addresses by Web M. Samuel, Hon. E. O. Stanard, and George H. Morgan. Mr. Morgan then read a communication from Thomas A. Buckland, a member of the first board of directors of the Merchants' Exchange, congratulating the association on the grand results which had been achieved, and referring to the great changes which had taken place since thirty years before, when the pulpit of the First Baptist Church stood almost in the spot occupied by the presidents desk in the new hall. Capt. Frank B. Davidson being called on made a few remarks, after which President Rowland declared the meeting adjourned, and the vast assemblage dispersed. In the evening the hall was illuminated and a concert was given, which was repeated on the following night.
The building is one of the most spacious, attractive, and conveniently arranged structures of its class in the world, and its total cost (including the site) was about $1,800,000.
It occupies the eastern and principal portion of the block bounded by Third, Fourth, Chestnut, and Pine Streets, having a main frontage of two hundred and thirty-five feet on Third Street, and secondary fronts of one hundred and eighty-seven feet each on Chestnut and Pine Streets.
Externally the edifice is of cut Warrensburg sandstone, and is apparently but three stories high, although
it is in reality five, exclusive of the basement. The basement is treated with quoined piers, with red granite plinths and boldly moulded caps, and the first story with piers supported by moulded bases and caps, carrying a bold cornice enriched with triglyphs. The second and third stories are of the composite order, the pilasters coupled and supported with pedestals, with balusters between the same. The centre of the Third Street front is enriched with detached columns in the several stories, surmounted by a bold pediment. A rich crowning entablature, carrying a balustrade, surmounts the entire building. In all parts of the design the reliefs are bold, producing the fullest effect of light and shade; and although the separate parts of the building are almost colossal, the general effect of the whole is light and airy. The style of the architecture is something of a mixture, but may properly be classed of the renaissance order.
The principal facade is recessed twenty-one feet from the original building line of Third Street, thus giving room for a broad sidewalk and spacious area along that entire front. It is also recessed on Chestnut and Pine Streets, so that the sidewalks there are increased to a width of fourteen feet.
Although the structure appears to be a unit, in reality there are two distinct buildings, separated internally by a large area for light and ventilation, but connected by a grand central stair hall and by arcades on Chestnut and Pine Streets. In that portion of the structure west of the internal area is situated the grand Exchange Hall, the clear dimensions of which are two hundred and thirty-five feet by ninety-eight feet in area, with a height of sixty-nine feet. It is lighted on every side with great windows filled with plate-glass in two tiers, separated by a light gallery extending around the hall. The door and hall casings are of massive walnut highly varnished and polished, with panel-work of French walnut. The bases of the pilasters and all the wainscotings are of the same material.
The president's desk with accessories on a raised platform ornaments the west side of the hall, and is he most elegant piece of work of the kind in the West. It is of walnut, carved and moulded in the most tasteful manner. The desks of the members, the grain tables, and, in short, all the other fittings are likewise of walnut. The grain tables are all covered thick slabs of highly-polished white marble.
The ceiling, including the cornice and cone, is ninety-nine by two hundred and fifteen feet, and exclusive of them is fifty by one hundred and seventy-nine, and is divided into three compartments, each containing a grand medallion.
The central figure of the ceiling is emblematic of St. Louis, and is surrounded by groups typical of the agricultural, mineral, and industrial products of the Mississippi valley. The group of figures to the north represents the four quarters of the world bringing their various offerings to the West, which, with outstretched arms, offers its products in exchange. The two figures at the bottom complete the representation of the West with the Mississippi River.
The two end compartments are composed of geometrical divisions, ornamented in imitation of stucco, containing each four panels, with emblematic representations of the industries of the State of Missouri in basso-relievo. The centres of these two compartments form each a medallion of twenty-six by twenty-six feet. The one on the north end represents characteristic types of European nations, England, Germany, Italy, France, Scotland, and Ireland forming a central group, surrounded by Russia, Switzerland, Spain, Sclavonia, European Turkey, and Greece. The south medallion represents characteristic types of Asia and Africa, Arabia, Egypt, Judea, China, and Japan forming the principal group, surrounded by Ethiopia, Caucasia, India, Persia, Abyssinia, and Mongolia.
The cornice surrounding the ceiling, with the spandrels and lunettes over the windows, forms a border twenty feet wide, containing the names of all the States of the Union, and representations of the merchant flags of the world in panel-work, enriched with ornaments in imitation of stucco.
The style of this decoration is of the classic Venetian school of the sixteenth century, of which it is a magnificent illustration. The ceiling, as a whole, presents a scene of gorgeous beauty, which is only intensified by an examination of the various groups and figures in detail. The coloring is of a florid tone, the harmony of which is preserved in the minutest particular, the contrasts and shades being so arranged as not in any instance to attract the eye from the general effect.
The artists were Messrs. Becker & Sciepcevich, fresco and decorative painters of St. Louis.
The building fronting on Third Street is entirely devoted to banks and offices, and has a basement and five stories. The first story contains six rooms of ample dimensions, arranged with fire- and burglar-proof safes and every accommodation for first-class moneyed institutions. The upper four stories are divided into sixty commodious and well-lighted offices, furnished like the first with fire-proof safes and every modern convenience. The basement contains a number of large rooms suitable for brokers' or exchange offices and various other kinds of business.
The first story of that portion of the structure under the ground hall is devoted to banks, offices, or any business purpose for which it may be required.
A noticeable feature of the interior consists of six immense doors opening into the grand hall, each one nine feet wide and eighteen feet high. They fold back into the thickness of the wall so as to afford no obstruction when opened, and are composed of dark hard wood of several hues, paneled, moulded, enriched, and highly polished. They are finished with bold architraves, entablatures, and pediments.
The grand staircase, which cost twenty-five thousand dollars, leads from the basement to the grand hall, and is accessible from every face of the building. It is of imposing proportions, and is composed of hard woods, and the newels and balusters are massive, and of elegant designs of carving, moulding, and paneling. Some idea of its dimensions may be obtained from the fact that it occupies an area of twenty-seven by sixty-one feet.
There are six broad entrances to the building, three on Third Street, one on Pine, one on Chestnut, and one on the court west of the structure. The principal or central entrance on Third Street is very beautiful and strictly classical, of the Doric Order. The frieze of the portico bears the name and purpose of the building in raised letters carved from the stone. The stairway from this entrance leads directly to the grand hall. The other entrance on Third Street, as well as those on Pine and Chestnut, communicate with the main stairway, and also with the steam elevators, which extend through the entire height of the building, giving easy and ready access to every part of the building.
During the National Democratic Convention which nominated Samuel J. Tilden for President there were five thousand two hundred chairs on the floor of the hall, and at the formal opening of the hall it contained over ten thousand people. In the centre of the hall, and directly in front of the rostrum, stands a large handsome fountain, throwing out jets of water in all directions, adding not only to the beauty of the surroundings but also to the comfort of all present, particularly on hot summer days. This was the gift of John A. Scudder, an ex-president of the Exchange and one of its most enterprising members. The fountain is on rollers, and can be moved in and out of the hall with very little trouble. The architects of the building were Lee & Annan.
The officers of the Chamber of Commerce from its formation up to 1862 were:
1836 to 1840. Edward Tracy, president; Henry Von Phul, vice-president; John Ford, secretary.
1841 to October, 1849. Wayman Crow, president; George K. McGunnegle, vice-president.
1836 to 1849. John Ford, Daniel Hough, and F. L. Ridgely, secretaries.
From October to December, 1849. George K. McGunnegle, president; Edward Briggs, vice-president; Edward Barry, secretary.
1850. George K. McGunnegle, president; Edward Brooks, vice-president; Edward Barry, secretary.
1851, to March 4. George K. McGunnegle, president; Edward Brooks, vice-president.
1851, from March 4. William M. Morrison, president; Alfred Vinton and David Tatum, vice-presidents; Edward Barry, secretary.
1852. William M. Morrison, president; Alfred Vinton and Henry Von Phul, vice-presidents; Edward Barry, secretary.
1853. Alfred Vinton, president; James E. Teatman and Henry Von Phul, vice-presidents; Edward Barry, secretary.
1854. Alfred Vinton, president; R. M. Henning and Henry Von Phul, vice-presidents; Edward Barry, secretary.
1855. R. M. Henning, president; Rufus J. Lackland and Henry T. Blow, vice-presidents; Edward Barry, secretary.
1856, to May 31. R. M. Henning, president; J. A. Brownlee and William T. Hazard, vice-presidents; W. B. Baker, secretary.
From June 9, 1856, and 1857. Henry Ames, president; D. A. January and John J. Roe, vice-presidents; W. B. Baker, secretary.
1858. E. M. Ryland, president; R. M. Funkhouser and T. A. Buckland, vice-presidents; W. B. Baker, secretary.
1859. R. M. Funkhouser, president; John T. Douglass and Charles L. Tucker, vice-presidents; W. B. Baker, secretary.
1860. D. A. January, president; M. L. Pottle and J. H. Oglesby, vice-presidents; W. B. Baker, secretary.
1861. D. A. January, president; William Matthews and M. L. Pottle, vice-presidents; W. B. Baker, secretary.
1862. William Matthews, president; James Mackoy and George Bayha, vice-presidents; R. H. Davis, secretary.
In 1862 the organization went out of existence, but, as we have seen, the Chamber of Commerce Association was formed in the autumn of 1871, and Rufus J. Lackland was elected president and still continues to serve as such. At the time of the completion of the building the officers were Rufus J. Lackland, president; George Knapp, first vice-president, and B. W. Alexander, second vice-president, who with Web M. Samuel, George Bain, Charles Green, D. P. Rowland, J. H. Britton, J. R. Lionberger, J. H. Beach, Adolphus Meier, Charles L. Hunt, and Levi L. Ashbrook were the directors. George H. Morgan was secretary and treasurer.
The present board of directors is composed of the same persons, with the exception of J. H. Britton (deceased). The officers of the Merchants' Exchange (which succeeded the old Chamber of Commerce organization in 1862) have been,
Secretary and Treasurer, 1862, Clinton B. Fisk; 1863-64, J. H. Alexander; 1465-83, George H. Morgan.
Officers for the Year 1883. President, J. C. Ewald; Vice-Presidents, D. R. Francis, D. P. Grier; Directors: 1883, Michael McEnnis, J. C. MacGinnitie, Charles W. Barstow, John P. Keiser, Charles S. Freeborn; 1883-84, Charles E. Slayback, D. P. Slattery, A. O. Grubb, L. C. A. Koenig, Ewing Hill; Secretary and Treasurer, George H. Morgan; Assistants, D. R. Whitmore, Lovell W. Stebbins; Caller, Joseph P. Carr; Assistant Caller, John D. Bell; Committee of Appeals, Stephen G. Price, J. D. Houseman, Jr., L. Methudy, Hugh Ferguson, Brcedlove Smith, H. G. Bolin, D. L. Wing, E. F. Hoppe, John H. Evil, William Stobie, H. B. Eggers, Charles L. Thompson; Committee of Arbitration: First six months, Henry S. Platt, E. H. Allen, Jr., A. Weyl, D. H. Bartlett, Delos E. Haynes; Second six months, James M. Carpenter, F. W. Rockwell, A. F. Donk, C. Bernet, Joseph Lloyd; Door-Keeper, James P. Newell; Registry Clerk, Frank L. Stobie; Telegraph Clerk, Frederick L. Stobie; Messenger, Edward M. Pottle.
The merchants of St. Louis, and in fact the community generally, have just reason to be proud of their Exchange, which is universally recognized as being one of the most honorable and influential bodies in the country. It is not exaggeration to say that it is felt in the commerce of nearly every important nation on the globe, commanding as it does the trade of the far-famed valley of the Mississippi, with its vast stores of produce and its busy hives of industry and thrift. Among its members have been not only many of the representative business men of St. Louis, but individuals who have been and now are conspicuous in national affairs. In its organization the Exchange is comprehensive and essentially democratic, its doors being open to the members of all honorable trades, professions, businesses, or callings. Among them are commission merchants, insurance men, millers, dealers in feed, grocers, flour dealers, produce merchants, brewers, teamsters, provision merchants, pork-packers, cotton buyers, fast freight transportation men, real estate men, manufacturers of paints, oils, and white lead, brokers, hide and wool merchants, maltsters, coal dealers, builders, blacksmiths, civil engineers, confectioners, coopers, cracker manufacturers, distillers, cider and vinegar manufacturers, druggists, farmers, foundrymen, hatters, hotel-keepers, ice dealers, iron manufacturers, lawyers, livery-stable keepers, lumbermen, manufacturers of macaroni, paper dealers, painters, printers, railroad men, rope manufacturers, salt dealers, manufacturers of soap and candles, street sprinklers, stove dealers, stockmen, tanners, tobacco dealers, wire manufacturers, undertakers, in short, the Exchange is thoroughly representative of the commercial and industrial activity of St. Louis, and embraces the great bulk of those who contribute most to the wealth and prosperity of the community at large. It has always maintained a high and rigid standard of commercial ethics, and has contributed immensely to secure for the business men of St. Louis that reputation for strictly honorable dealing which they enjoy throughout the commercial world.
The Cotton Exchange. The first meeting of the organization now known as the St. Louis Cotton Exchange was held in the directors' room of the old Merchants' Exchange building, on Main Street, on Oct. 17, 1873. The officers of the Cotton Association (for so it was then called) were Theodore G. Meier, president; William M. Senter, vice-president; Myron Coloney, secretary; and Messrs. William P. Shyrock, Henry Drucker, Miles Sells, S. A. Bemis, Harlow J. Phelps, D. W. Marmaduke, and John T. Watson, members of the directory. There had previously been held an informal gathering at the office of Theodore G. Meier, at which were present the gentlemen named above, together with Messrs. Ladd and Rowland. The association so established and subsequently incorporated (in August, 1874) comprised eighty-one members, who paid five dollars initiation fee each, and were assessed twenty dollars each for annual dues. At the
first formal meeting the question of a suitable location was discussed, and it was
"Ordered, That the room fronting on Main Street, third floor of building joining the Merchants' Exchange building, be rented for the use of this association at a rate of not more than twenty-five dollars per month."
At a subsequent meeting the president was authorized to procure "a telegraphic machine" for the "rooms," by which appellation the single apartment was officially dignified. Cotton warehousemen were made to feel the power of the association by being notified that "weighers must plainly state the condition of cotton upon their certificates, and the gross weight, tare, and net of the same."
At the fifth regular meeting was conceived the plan of offering large cash premiums on cotton at the approaching St. Louis Fair (1874), and it was "resolved that not less than ten thousand dollars be offered as premiums on cotton next fall." The Fair Association met this tender in a reciprocally liberal spirit, and the cotton men increased the sum to eleven thousand dollars. This relation existed up to 1881, and the premiums annually offered were an important factor in building up the cotton interest in St. Louis. On the ratification of the articles of incorporation the Association changed its name to the Cotton Exchange, by which it is now known, raised its dues and initiation fee to fifty dollars each, and elected the following officers on Sept. 16, 1874: Theo. G. Meier, president; William M. Senter, vice-president; Myron Coloney, secretary; and Messrs. William P. Shyrock, Henry Drucker, Miles Sells, S. A. Bemis, Harlon J. Phelps, John T. Watson, and L. C. Norvell, directors.
In 1875 the Exchange removed to new quarters on Main and Chestnut Streets, where its membership increased to three hundred in 1880, although during the five years preceding the membership fee had been successively advanced to two hundred and fifty dollars then five hundred dollars, and finally to the present figure, one thousand dollars, the annual dues remaining, however, at fifty dollars. At the first regular meeting of the directory of 1875 the present secretary, C. W. Simmons, was chosen, and he bids fair to serve efficiently many more terms. The presidency since that period has been occupied successively by William M. Senter, W. P. Shyrock, M. C. Humphrey, J. H. Dowell (who died during his term, Mr. Senter filling the unexpired portion), D. P. Rowland, and James L. Sloss.
The present officers are William M. Senter, president; William L. Black, vice-president; C. W. Simmons, secretary and treasurer; Henry W. Young, assistant secretary; Directors, William M. Senter, Wm. L. Black, James L. Sloss, J. B. Fisher, Theo. G. Meier, D. P. Rowland, W. V. Johnson, M. C. Humphrey, and T. H. West.
The new Exchange building was erected by the Cotton Exchange Building Company, composed of Vice-President William L. Black, Silas B. Jones, William T. Wilkins, and Leonard Matthews. Its erection was necessitated by the marvelous growth of the cotton interest and the inadequacy of the old quarters to the demands of the trade, and was determined on at a meeting of the directors of the Exchange in the month of November, 1879, at which D. P. Rowland, W. M. Senter, J. L. Sloss, and W. L. Black were appointed a committee to select a suitable location. The site chosen, southwest corner of Main and Walnut Streets, though "down town," has the desired advantage of being near the river, the base of cotton supplies, and is also the centre of the district almost exclusively occupied by cotton factors and others in the trade. The building, which was designed by H. W. Kirchner, architect, is five stories in height (eighty feet in all), and fronts eighty-five feet on Main
and one hundred and thirty-five on Walnut Street. There is ample accommodation for offices. The Exchange hall proper, seventy-six by fifty feet, is on the second floor, and is reached by a beautiful and capacious corridor and staircase. Architecturally, the building designed after the renaissance school, is of stock brick, trimmed with stone and galvanized iron, the first story being of iron. The value of the ground and structure is about one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. Its construction occupied a year. The grand hall is a model in its natural wood finish, the elegance of its furnishing, and in the good taste displayed in the fresco decorations. The latter comprise scenes from life in the cotton-picking season, and panels with representations of an overflowing basket of the fleecy staple, a ship loaded with cotton, and a Mississippi River steamboat "baled" all over. The painting on twenty piers is emblematic of the manufactured cotton in its several stages, and on the west wall is an arrangement of State seals, those of Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, and Mississippi. The building is supplied with reading-rooms, electric clocks, bells, elevators, telegraph-offices, telephones, and other modern conveniences and business necessities. Upon the occasion of the dedication of the new building, May 4, 1882, speeches were made by present and past officers, and by ex-Governor Hubbard, of Texas, ex-Governor Stanard, of Missouri, and others. A silver service was presented to Vice-President Black, a collation was served, and a promenade concert was given in the evening.
William Marshall Senter, the able and energetic president of the Cotton Exchange, was born at Lexington, Tenn., April 11, 1831, the son of a prosperous farmer in that section. His mother was a native of North Carolina, and was of Scotch lineage. Up to the age of about eighteen young Senter assisted his father on the farm, and obtained a good common school education. He then engaged as a clerk in the dry-goods business at Trenton, Tenn., and after a suitable apprenticeship went into business for himself at that place. While residing in Trenton he married his present wife, Lucy Jane Wilkins. In 1863 he removed to Columbus, Ky., and remained in business there about a year. His success at both places caused him to seek a larger field for his operations, and in 1864 he removed to St. Louis, where he established himself as a commission merchant. His attention was soon directed to the cotton trade of St. Louis. Owing to the war the city was then handling considerable cotton, and Mr. Senter became impressed with the idea that this traffic could be retained. The receipt fifty-six thousand bales in 1865-66 seemed to justify this confidence, but in the years immediately following only an average of some twenty-eight thousand bales were handled. Nevertheless, Mr. Senter, who had become thoroughly identified with the cotton trade, maintained the correctness of his belief, and labored incessantly through years of discouragement to make his prediction good. He was an influential member of the Cotton Association, which was organized in 1870, and when, as we have seen, the present Cotton Exchange was established in 1873, he was the first vice-president, and is now in his third term as president.
As a result of the labors of Mr. Senter and others the cotton trade of St. Louis began ultimately to assume a shape that promised permanent success. In 1870-71 the receipts were only twenty thousand two hundred and seventy bales, but in 1871-72 no less than thirty-six thousand four hundred and twenty-one bales were handled in St. Louis. The completion of the Iron Mountain Railroad into the rich cotton-fields of Arkansas and Texas gave the trade a great stimulus; and when in 1873, Col. Paramore settled in St. Louis and laid before the cotton merchants his scheme for a gigantic cotton compress that should afford proper facilities for handling cotton on a large scale and with the utmost economy, in order to attract and provide for the growing trade of the Southwest, he found a willing co-laborer in Mr. Senter. The result of their joint efforts was the organization of the St. Louis Cotton Compress Company, which now has a paid-up capital of one million dollars, and manages the largest cotton compress and warehouse in the world. It is a fine monument to the wise forethought and liberal commercial spirit of its projectors. When Col. Paramore retired from the presidency of this corporation in 1881, Mr. Senter, who had been vice-president and one of the directors from the organization, succeeded to the vacancy.
When the Iron Mountain Railroad was about to pass out of Thomas Allen's hands into those of persons having no special interest in St. Louis, Mr. Senter was one of those who at once responded and took stock, to keep the control of the road at St. Louis. He also became a director of the road, and took an active part in the management, a connection which lasted until Jay Gould finally purchased the property.
Mr. Senter has also been an earnest and efficient promoter of Col. Paramore's Texas and St. Louis Railway (the "Cotton Belt Line"), and is the vice-president of the organization.
When the new Cotton Exchange was being erected, the builder became embarrassed and was unable to go
on with the work, whereupon Mr. Senter stepped to the front and organized a building company and tided the enterprise over the difficulty.
When St. Louis took her place as one of the assured cotton marts of the country, many American and foreign buyers with large capital made the city their headquarters, but the veteran house of Senter & Co. led them all, and has retained its acknowledged supremacy, having handled of late" years over sixty thousand bales annually, representing a value of over five million dollars. Associated in the house of Senter & Co. is Mr. Senter's brother-in-law, W. T. Wilkins, who brought to the concern rare energy and ability.
As a business man of ripe judgment, Mr. Senter is in great request, but outside of the cotton interests his business connections are few. He has, however, been vice-president of the Merchants' Exchange, and is a director in the American Central Fire Insurance Company of St. Louis.
Personally, Mr. Senter is one of the most modest and unassuming of men, but in action he is energetic and intrepid. He is a member of the Baptist Church, and strives to leaven his business with his religious principles. The result is that no house in St. Louis enjoys a higher reputation as an honest, capable, and sound establishment.
Mr. Senter has had four children, three of whom are now living. One, a daughter, is the wife of A. B. Jones, a well-known lawyer of St. Louis.
The St. Louis Board of Trade was organized in the autumn of 1867, and its formal inauguration took place at the Polytechnic building on the evening of October 17th of that year, the address on that occasion being delivered by Hon. Henry T. Blow. The board held a meeting at the same place on the 1st of November, 1867, which was called to order by the president, Adolphus Meier, who laid before it the report of Messrs. Wayman Crow, Henry T. Blow, and Isidor Busch, "a special committee appointed to consider and report upon a communication from the Birmingham, England, Chamber of Commerce, recommending the adoption of an international law." The Board of Trade has continued in active and successful operation since then down to this writing, its officers (1882) being C. I. Filley, president; Joseph A. Wherry, first vice-president; C. L. Thompson, secretary and treasurer; E. C. Simmons, Joseph O'Neil, E. K. Holton, J. E. Shorb, John Cantwell, E. A. Hitchcock, N. C. Chapman, I. M. Mason, and S. H. Laflin, directors.
Mechanics' Exchange. In 1839 the leading mechanics of the city, in order that there might be unity in their efforts, and that co-operation might be secured among them, called a meeting for the purpose of forming a Mechanics' Exchange. At this meeting Capt. David H. Hill presided, and Louis Dubreuil was appointed secretary. Five persons were chosen to select a committee from the different departments of business, one to be selected from each branch, to draft a constitution, by-laws, etc. The five gentlemen thus chosen were R. N. Moore, J. M. Paulding, Asa Wilgus, William A. Lynch, and John H. Ferguson who after consultation submitted the following names: Joseph C. Laveille, carpenter; Daniel D. Page, baker; Asa Wilgus, painter; Isaac Chadwick, plasterer; Samuel Gaty, founder; Thomas Andrews, coppersmith; George Trask, cabinet-maker; John M. Paulding, hatter; James Barry, chandler; James Love, blacksmith; Joseph Laiden, chair-maker; Wooster Goodyear, cordwainer; William Shipp, silversmith; John Young, saddler; B. Townsend, wire and sieve manufacturer; J. Todd, burr millstone manufacturer; Thomas Gambal, cooper; Francis Raborg, tanner; S. C. Coleman, turner; N. Paschall, printer; John G. Shelton, tailor; B. L. Turnbull, bookbinder; Charles Coates, stone-cutter; Anthony Bennett, stone-mason; David Shepard, bricklayer; I. A. Letcher, brickmaker; William Thomas, ship-builder; Samuel Hawkins, gunsmith; Samuel Shawk, locksmith; A. Oakford, comb-maker; N. Tiernan, wheelwright; J. B. Gerard, carriage-maker; Moses Stout, plane-maker; James Robinson, upholsterer; and J. Bemis, machinist. From this meeting resulted the organization of the mechanics, and ultimately the formation of a Mechanics' Exchange. 191
In 1852 a new Exchange was organized, a meeting for that purpose being held at the Criminal Court room on the 23d of February. At this meeting Col. Thornton Grimsley was called to the chair, and Rufus Kayser was appointed secretary, after which Mr. Goodin, chairman of a committee appointed at a previous meeting, reported as follows:
"Your committee, appointed at a primary meeting of the master-mechanics of St. Louis, held on Thursday evening, the 12th instant, to prepare a plan of organization, would report recommendatory, as follows:
"1st. That we proceed at once to an organization, under the name and style of the Mechanics' and Manufacturers' Exchange and Library Association of St. Louis, by the election of the following officers: president, vice-president, corresponding secretary, recording secretary, treasurer, and a board of seven directors, the president of the association to be ex officio chairman of the board of directors.
2d. That any mechanic or manufacturer residing in the county of St. Louis shall, upon the payment of ten dollars, the amount
of annual subscription, be entitled to the full privilege of membership for one year.
"3d That the board of directors, as soon as elected, shall be instructed to report to the association for the government of the lame a constitution and by-laws.
The report was unanimously adopted, and the following resolutions were afterwards offered and adopted:
"Resolved, That at the first meeting of the subscribers to the association it be made the special order of business to elect the following: president, vice-president, corresponding secretary, recording secretary, treasurer, and a board of seven directors.
"Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed in each ward of the city to obtain subscriptions of members."
The following committees were afterwards appointed, in accordance with the resolution: First Ward, J. Dunn, F. Saler, L. W. Peck; Second Ward, Richard Ivers, Morris Pawley, S. E. Selleck; Third Ward, J. P. Camp, C. H. Peck, James Luthey; Fourth Ward, Rufus Keyser, Frank Weston, Mahlon Weber; Fifth Ward, J. C. Edgar, W. F. Stacy, P. Kingsland; Sixth Ward, J. C. Cochran, Linus Jackson, Archibald Carr.
The present Mechanics' Exchange was organized in 1856 by A. Ittner, Thomas Rich, A. Cook, W. Stamps, James Garvin, C. Lynch, J. Locke, James Luthy, and others. The first president (elected in 1856) was N. M. Ludlow. In 1857-58 the rooms of the association, which was then known as the Mechanics' and Manufacturers' Exchange, were located at No. 63 Chestnut Street, between Third and Fourth Streets. The objects of the association, as stated at the time, were "the encouragement, development, and promotion of the mechanical and manufacturing interests of the city, and the arbitration of all errors and misunderstandings between its members and those of the community having business with them." The rooms were kept open on business days from seven o clock A. M. until six o'clock P. M., the general assembling hour being from eleven to twelve o'clock. Each member was entitled to a "communication box," the use of the reading-room, library, stationery, etc., without extra charge. The terms of membership were ten dollars per annum, payable half-yearly in advance.
The officers in 1858 were W. Stamps, president; N. M. Ludlow, first vice-president; E. N. Leeds, second vice-president; R. M. Parks, treasurer; Henry Weissenfels, secretary. Committee of Arbitration,
John Andrews, William Barron, Philip Wilson, James L. Gage, P. Gregory, John B. Gibson, P. Harvey, Andrew Middleton; Committee of Appeal, Charles H. Peck, Samuel Robbins, W. F. Cozzens, John Evil, W. G. Clark, L. D. Baker, W. H. Markham.
The avocations of the members at this time were: architects, superintendents, and builders, 110; hatters and fur dealers, 4; bricklayers, 60; wire manufacturers, 1; boot and shoe dealers, 3; paper-hanging establishments, 2; stationers and booksellers, 3; carriage- and wagon-makers, 5; stone-masons, 9; lumber dealers, 13; stone-cutters, 8; tin and stove dealers, 9; hardware dealers, 3; wood-turners, 2; galvanized iron-work, 7; saw-milling, 15; stone-pavers, 4; varnish manufacturers, 1; terra-cotta work, 9; painters, 8; lime-burners, 6; cement dealers, 2; gas-fitters, 5; plumbers, 10; planing-mills, 5; mastic work, 2; wrought- and cast-iron-work, 17; brick-makers, 20; plasterers, 11; marble dealers, 8; composition-, metal-, and slate-roofers, 14; sundry other kinds of business, 24; total, 401.
Persons, not members, residing in or out of the city, who desired to exhibit models, works of art, etc., had the privilege of using the large hall for that purpose, if acceded to by the secretary or any other officer of the institution.
The present Exchange was chartered in 1875, with an authorized capital stock of two thousand five hundred dollars.
On the 12th of February, 1879, the Exchange entered upon the occupation of its new quarters, comprehending the entire fifth floor of the then recently completed Hunt building, No. 106 North Fourth Street, which had been leased to the organization by Mr. Hunt. The president of the Exchange, W. W. Polk, and the vice-presidents, Thomas F. Hayden and Francis Hawkins, welcomed the members.
At the present time the membership numbers several hundred. The present board of officers is composed of Anthony Ittner, president; T. P. McKelleget, first vice-president; W. J. Thorn, second vice-president; William Stamps, treasurer; and W. R. Dalton, secretary. Directors, J. Green, P. Mulcahy, H. Gundaker, J. Methudy, M. Hudson, and W. Adams.
Among the most active and energetic members of the Mechanics' Exchange was Joseph K. Bent, on the occasion of whose death the Exchange adopted resolutions expressive of regret at the loss of an esteemed member, a valued friend, and one of the foremost builders of the city. Mr. Bent was born in Wendell, Mass., Nov. 16, 1816. His
parents were descended from the old settlers of Massachusetts, and the family was widely and favorably known. His uncle, Joseph Kilbourn, was a wealthy cotton broker in Augusta, Ga., and one of his two brothers was a prosperous cotton broker in New Orleans. Joseph K. received a good common-school education, and then learned the trade of a carpenter and builder. His parents went West in the "'30's" for their health, and settled at Liberty, Clay Co., Mo., where, July 3, 1839, Mr. Bent was married to Miss Sabrina Phelps, daughter of William W. Phelps, a well-known and influential gentleman of that region, and a descendant of the famous Phelps family of Western New York, after whom the village of Phelpstown was named. At Liberty, Mr. Bent attempted to practice the profession of an architect, but the field being very limited, he removed to St. Louis, Oct. 25, 1839, and was soon actively engaged in building. During the forty years that followed he transacted a large and flourishing business as contractor. Up to the year 1868 he conducted the business alone, but in that year he admitted his son, William B. Bent, as a partner, the firm-name being Joseph K. Bent & Son. Mr. Bent's name, is indelibly associated with some of the largest and most costly buildings erected in St. Louis. He did the carpenter-work for the new Merchants' Exchange, the immense Barr building at Sixth and Olive Streets, and the First Presbyterian Church on Lucas Place, and had the entire contract for building the Third National Bank, and many large stores on Fourth and Fifth Streets, in the business portion of the town, as well as numerous handsome and costly private residences in various parts of the city. In his day he was one of the largest, as well as one of the best, builders St. Louis possessed. In addition to his building enterprises he for several years managed a planing-mill, manufacturing work for his own buildings as well as for others.
Mr. Bent died on the 21st of March, 1880, leaving a comfortable estate to his widow and children. He was a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church, and bore his last illness with Christian fortitude. He was a member of no secret or other society except the Mechanics' Exchange, in which he took a deep interest. He was thoroughly devoted to his profession, and in the management of his large and exacting business made numerous friends, being eminently of a social nature. He was a man of unusual decision of character, and enjoyed the implicit confidence and respect of all who knew him.
The St. Louis Real Estate Exchange is located at 212 North Sixth Street, and its officers (1882) are Charles Green, president; M. A. Wolff, vice-president; Leon L. Hall, secretary and treasurer; Charles Green Theophile Papin, J. S. Farrar, F. L. Haydel, J. L. January, William C. Wilson, and John Maguire, directors.
St. Louis Mining and Stock Exchange. In 1874 the St. Louis Mining Exchange was established at the southeast corner of Fourth and Elm Streets, by M. S. Mepham & Co., as a headquarters for persons engaged in mining or the sale of mineral lands. A large number of persons interested in minerals rented offices in the building, all being located at convenient distances apart on the first floor, and separated from each other by neat railings. Cases were fitted up for the display of Missouri minerals, and a complete and handsome collection was secured, together with specimens of fossils, Indian curiosities, and relics of the civil war, the latter presented by Gen. John B. Gray.
The St. Louis Mining and Stock Exchange was organized in the fall of 1880, and held its first meeting at its rooms on Third Street, between Olive and Locust, Dec. 2, 1880, on which occasion the Exchange was formally opened for business at eleven o'clock. The officers at the time were: President, James Baker; Vice-President, Thomas Richeson; Treasurer, Francis T. Iglehart; Secretary, Theodore W. Heman; Directors, G. W. Chadbourne, Charles F. Orthwein, Francis T. Iglehart, J. W. Paramore, John W. Noble, D. P. Rowland, Thomas Richeson, E. S. Chester, T. W. Beman, W. R. Allen, D. R. Francis, James Baker, John E. Ennis.
The St. Louis Coal Exchange was organized June 1, 1879, for the purpose of developing the coal trade of the city, and for the mutual protection of dealers and shippers of coal.
The officers of the Exchange are Alexander Hamilton, president; C. E. Gartside, treasurer; and William Lackman, secretary. The Exchange is located at No. 108 North Fourth Street.
Boatmen's Exchange. In 1868, Charles P. Chouteau erected a handsome building on the Levee at the corner of Vine Street, for the purposes of a Boatmen's Exchange. The building presented quite a striking appearance, having a front of about sixty feet and height of ninety feet. The material used in its erection was principally brick, but the front was of Chicago stone from the Lemont quarries. The rear faced on Commercial Street, and had also a handsome exterior. The style of architecture was Italian. The architects were Messrs. Barnard & Piquenard. The cost of the building was about eighty thousand dollars.
St. Louis Furniture Exchange. In October,
1879 there was quite a formidable strike among the furniture-workers of the city, and at the suggestion of George A. Rubelmann, a prominent dealer in cabinet hardware, a meeting of the furniture manufacturers was held, at which the desirability of union in the existing emergency was conceded and the organization of a Furniture Exchange determined. On the 26th of October, 1879, the following officers were elected: President, Daniel Aude; Vice-President, D. S. Horne; Treasurer, J. H. Koppelman.
The strike soon collapsed, but the organization continued, and now embraces about fifty of the leading manufacturers of the city. The Exchange meets at Sixth and Morgan Streets, where it has convenient rooms and supports a monthly paper, The St. Louis Furniture Manufacturer. The present officers of the Furniture Exchange are: President, Charles Spier; Vice-President, Frank Prange; Secretary, F. Hanpeter; Treasurer, J. H. Koppelman.
The St. Louis Manufacturers' Association was organized on the 27th of March, 1874. The meeting for the purpose, which was held in the directors' room of the Merchants' Exchange, was called to order by Adolphus Meier, who announced that it was an adjourned meeting, G. B. Allen having been chairman of the previous meeting. At this meeting Mr. Allen had been appointed to draft a constitution, by-laws, and rules of order for the prospective association.
Mr. Allen read the document prepared by him, which, on motion of Giles F. Filley, was adopted as a whole.
The election of officers was then proceeded with by ballot, Gerard B. Allen being elected president, and Thomas Richeson vice-president.
The constitution provided that the secretary and treasurer, which offices should be united in one person, should be appointed by the executive committee, which should be appointed by the president.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics was instituted under an act of the General Assembly of Missouri in March, 1879. The second section of the act establishing the bureau defines its objects. It is to collect, assort, systematize, and present in annual reports statistical details relating to all departments labor in the State, especially in relation to the commercial, industrial, social, educational, and sanitary condition of the laboring classes, and to the permanent prosperity of the productive industries of the State." The general offices are located in St. Louis. The expense of the bureau up to Dec. 31, 1880, was one thousand four hundred and forty-six dollars and thirty cents. H. J. Spaunhorst is the commissioner.
Missouri State Board of Immigration was created by an act of the Legislature of Missouri in March, 1879, its object being to advertise the resources of the State and invite immigration. The officers appointed when the board was created were Andrew McKinley, of St. Louis, president; A. Steinacker, of St. Joseph, auditor; and John M. Richardson, of Carthage, Mo., secretary. The commissioners were to serve for a term of four years. An appropriation was made by the State for the first two years of eight thousand dollars, and for the next two years of twenty thousand dollars. The board has issued several papers relating to the agricultural, mining, and manufacturing capabilities of the State, sixty thousand copies of the "Hand-Book of Missouri," and fifty thousand copies of a smaller pamphlet and map, which have been distributed in other States and in Europe. The board has conducted in the past and continues to conduct an extensive correspondence with intending immigrants and capitalists. The invitation extended to immigrants does not come from great land proprietors and speculators, with specious and exaggerated statements, to induce them to take their property at fancy prices, but from the whole people, through their representatives in the Legislature of the State. They are invited because it is believed that the undeveloped resources, once understood and put in process of development, will enhance the value of every property in the State; because every acre put under cultivation, every mine opened and worked, every mill and factory built, and every new industrial enterprise started will benefit the already existing industries, create new markets, and increase the commerce and material wealth of Missouri.
Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=scharf2.html