Sunday, March 28, 2010

St. Mary's Hospital to Demolish Mother Concorda Hall

Mother Concordia Hall was built in 1929 on the grounds of St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond Heights to house a unit of the then newly formed St. Louis University School of Nursing.  According to St. Louis University's website, the building also served as a residence hall for nurses until the early 1960's.  It also served as office space for the hospital as well as living quarters for some of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary.  A wood fence appeared around the building several weeks ago with signage indicating impending demolition.

The L shaped building constructed only six years after the original hospital formed the east end of a formal architectural composition in which wings of the hospital reached out toward Clayton Road.  An early addition to the original building, partially visible in this photo from SLU's website, formed the west compliment to Mother Concordia Hall.  This formal composition has been compromised over the years by a series of additions to the front of the original building and surrounding the west wing.

The original St. Mary's Hospital building constructed in 1923.  This early photo is from Missouri's Contribution to Architecture published in 1928, one year prior to construction of Mother Concordia Hall, by the St. Louis Architectural Club.

This aerial photo shows the relation of Mother Concordia Hall (just northwest of the large parking garage) to the rest of the hospital.  One of the pyramid shaped roofs of the original hospital building is still visible behind a layer of building additions facing Clayton Road.  A comment on Urban St. Louis speculates that the building is being demolished to make way for a future addition to the hospital, but that construction of the new structure may be delayed due to the economy.  The hospital is undergoing other renovations currently including conversion of all of the double rooms to single occupancy.

Windows have been removed from a sun porch like room fronting Clayton Road.

The St. Mary's hospital website is advertising a reunion and mass to be held on April 10th in commemoration of the building.  Demolition will likely commence shortly thereafter.
The octagonal tower features the crest of the School of Nursing crafted in colored brick.

I suspect that the double-hight space at the top of the north wing contained a chapel.

The building has somewhat unusual steel sash windows that hinge at the center and fold to the center when opened.

In a related story, the St. Louis Business Journal reported last fall that the Franciscan Sisters of St. Mary will be vacating its St. Mary of Angels Convent south of the hospital (photo above from the St. Louis Business Journal).  Starting in May, the sisters will begin transitioning to a retirement community in Bridgeton.  the story indicates that the transition will be a long process occurring as space in the Bridgeton facility becomes available.  There is no indication yet as to what will become if the historic convent building that dates from 1929.  The Franciscan Sisters are talking with "an number of different people" including St. Mary's Hospital about possible uses for the building and its nine acres of grounds.

An aerial view of the St. Mary of Angels Convent complex south of the hospital


Anonymous said...

I haven't thought about this building in over 15 years, but I was once hired to move some 'art' from inside and they had a wonderful treasure trove; I am not sure where it ended up but at least it was saved (I guess the building was not as lucky)

Andrew J. Faulkner said...

Too bad. I've been staring at that building for three years as it has become clearly abandoned. The interstitial windows in the chapel facade really emphasize the horizontal coursings in a surprising way. With that treatment and the transition from hexagonal bay to square at the front it is a confident art deco take on the existing hospital. Do we know the architect?

Michael R. Allen said...

Andrew, the office of Albert Groves designed Mother Concordia Hall. After designing the Administration and Ward buildings at City Hospital (1910-12), Groves had a solid reputation for hospital architecture.

Anonymous said...

My late wife was a SLU nursing student in this building during her affiliation studies at St. Mary’s.
A couple of decades ago, she took me on a tour of Mother Concordia Hall and showed me the room she shared with her roommate and lifelong friend (by then it was an office).
It will be sad to lose the bricks and mortar but the soul and spirit of its charming occupants will be cherished forever.

Anonymous said...

What a shame. SLU once again demonstrates its contempt for historic architecture.

sublunar said...

Yet another waste of a seemingly structurally sound and architecturally attractive building.

I wanted to get one last look at it, so yesterday I found myself inside of it and saddened by the destruction well underway. If you'd like to see the interior, as of yesterday, my photos may be perused by following the below url... Mother Concordia Hall

Anonymous said...

I just loved the pictures that were presented on your site. I have always wanted to visit the mother concordia hall. I love old buildings,and its history. I wish I could do some work concerning picture taking or something to this effect. I also wish I could take pictures of sites before demolition takes place, while the people and the building is in operation. Thank you for the privilege to be able to view pictures I would have never seen in my lifetime.
I am a retired teacher. Now I have time to do some things that I have always have dreamed about. My father was the first person to introduce me to what building architect was all about. I would love to have done some work associated with this field. If anything come available I would like to volunteer to assist in any project. Just the privilege to be able to help would be the greatest oppotunity of a lifetime.

Anonymous said...


mrossg said...

I know this is a late comment but I have a sentimental attachment to this building, Mother Concordia Hall. I graduated from the St Mary's Hospital School of Practical Nursing in 1969. I commuted to classes, but there were plenty of boarders in my class. We had intense both classroom and clinical training in the attached hospital.

I still have my graduation pin and was so very proud to have completed such a quality School. I since went on to get a BSN from Maryville University (formerly known in the early 70's as Mercy-Maryville college of Nursing. I am nostalgic and sad to know that the LPN school is history.

Beth C. said...

I am so glad to have found this. My grandmother lived in Mother Concordia Hall as an exchange student nurse from St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii during 1940. I have pictures of her standing in the snow. This was her first and last experience with mainland winters as she returned home and swore she would not live anywhere else. She will have her 94th birthday this month in her house in Honolulu.

pe_rulz said...

I just learned today, that Mother Concordia was my great-grandaunt. I would have loved to see where she worked.

Unknown said...

So sad to see this today. Went there as kids to visit my aunt who was as SSM nun.

Anonymous said...

Yep, sad to see a historic building get torn down for a parking lot. Very little of it is left as I write. And I heard the resident great horned owl hooting sadly this morning when I jogged by before sunrise (I hadn't heard him since last autumn). I don't know if it lives in the trees or in the building, but hopefully it'll be ok.