Wainwright State Office Building – St. Louis, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

Wainwright State Office Building

One of the world's earliest skyscrapers.  


When the Wainwright State Office Building was completed in 1891, it towered ten floors over the city of St. Louis and won the praise of critics and passersby alike. The exterior of the building is composed of terra cotta. The design was the brainchild of  Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan.

Commissioned by Ellis Wainwright, who was a St. Lous brewer,  the building was designed as an office space. A major aspect of the building is that it was one of the first skyscrapers to successfully utilize a steel frame for its construction.

Standing at 135 feet tall, this architectural marvel is quite small by today’s standards. However, its terra cotta exterior and detailed finishes, paired with its architectural significance make the Wainwright building a must-see for any visitor to downtown St. Louis.

Know Before You Go

This is a private office building, so best viewed from outside. 

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