On the portion of the site whereon stood the finest theatre in St. Louis
is located the Custom House. It is but recently completed, having been
several years in erection. It has been under the direction of the most
distinguished architects in the West—first under the charge of Messrs.
Barnett & Peck, and then Thomas Walsh.
The building has all that stamina and massiveness peculiar to Egyp-
tian architecture, but, with all its strength manifest in its immense
blocks of stone, it still preserves a graceful and beautiful appearance,
the heaviness being relieved by tasteful columns and pillars, which,
without diminishing its strength, lend to it the attraction of Gothic archi-
tecture. It is a model of strength and beauty. The foundation is of
piles—huge pieces of wood sharpened and driven by the power of
machinery twenty-two feet in the earth. There is a vault running the
whole length of the building, and the immense structure is supported
upon arches. It is a model of architectural beauty and strength, and
probably is the cheapest building ever erected, for which the general
government had to pay the whole cost, being but $356,000.