Jewel Box (St. Louis, Missouri)

Jewel Box (St. Louis, Missouri)

Coordinates: 38°38′06.64″N 90°16′48.95″W / 38.6351778°N 90.2802639°W / 38.6351778; -90.2802639

Jewel Box
A reflecting pool lies next to the Jewel Box's entrance.
Location: Forest Park
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Built: 1936-1937
Architect: William C. E. Becker
Architectural style: Art Deco
Governing body: City of St. Louis. Dept. of Parks. Recreation and Forestry
NRHP Reference#: 00000147
Added to NRHP: March 14, 2000

The Jewel Box (also known as the St. Louis Floral Conservatory and the City of St. Louis Floral Display House) is a greenhouse located in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri. It now serves as a public horticultural facility and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).[1]

It was designed by architect William C. E. Becker and built in 1936 by the Robert Paulus Construction Company. It consists of five stepped, composition-covered wood roofs with clerestories, rather than a regular glass roof, in order to prevent damage from frequent hailstorms.[1]



In 1913, Nelson Cunliff became Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for St. Louis City. Due to high levels of smoke and soot within the city, he began a survey to determine which plants could survive the conditions. He later asked John Moritz, who was in charge of the city's greenhouses, to set up a display greenhouse to showcase various plants which could survive. It is said that someone called the displays "like a jewel box", hence the name. In 1933, Bernard Dickmann became Mayor of St. Louis and decided to build a new facility. The building cost $125,000 and William C. E. Becker, then Chief Engineer of Bridges and Buildings for the city, was assigned to design the building. Construction began on December 12, 1935 and the facility opened on November 14, 1936.[1]

In 2002, a $3.5 million year-long renovation of the building was completed.[2]


The Jewel Box consists of 16,664 square feet (1,548.1 m2) of plate glass in over 4,000 panes, set in wood and wrought iron supports. Most of the glass is framed by copper with a verdigris patina. The Jewel Box is supported by eight fixed arches, which carry the structure's weight. There are also triangular trusses between every other arch. The ceiling is composed of wood planking. The Jewel Box's entrance is a vestibule made of limestone. Inside the greenhouse, there is a concrete-floored balcony located across the south end. A reflecting pool lies in front of the Jewel Box's entrance.[1]

See also


External links

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