Although I photographed the STL250 cake there in 2014, I never actually visited the St. Louis Central Library before this August. The Fantasy Maps exhibit drew me in, however, and we also took a tour while we were there. I was back again last week, and I’m astounded by what an amazing building it is, inside and out!
The building (actually buildings, as it is a group of five separate buildings that are joined), was a Carnegie library designed by Cass Gilbert, and was first constructed in 1912, and renovated to be completed in time for the 100th anniversary in 2012.
The brick plaza out front lets you know you’re in a special place:
Our tour began in what used to be called the “Delivery Room.” There are so many beautiful details on the walls, the ceiling…even the lamps!
There are many different rooms in the library, and they are all stunning:
Intricate details abound:
There are Gorham stained glass windows and skylights (one of which was recently rediscovered!):
The children’s and teen areas are bright and colorful, and seem like fun places to be:
The part of the building that faces Locust Street has a more modern feel (a relative term for a building over 100 years old), inside and out. I especially love the use of subway tiles on the interior walls! The tiles themselves may be old, but they’re so timeless, they play up the contemporary, urban vibe:
There is a cool marker in the exact center of the library:
Here’s another look at the beautiful exterior, which includes names, sculptures, quotes, fountains, and more stunning lamps:
You could spend all day in this library, and not even come close to noticing all the details. The guided tour is an excellent way to learn about what you’re seeing, and I highly recommend taking some time to take a walk through the building to see how beautiful the design is and discover the library’s importance to St. Louis!