Nowhere in America has the private place flourished as it has in St. Louis, and no private places have played a more important role in that city's or the nation's history than Westmoreland and Portland. Owned by the residents rather than by the city and governed by a board of trustees responsible for lighting, sewers, roadways, security, landscaping, and refuse removal, Westmoreland and Portland are lined with spectactular houses in the style of Italian palazzi, French chateaus, and English country estates.The residents of Westmoreland and Portland have run many of the largest businesses and industries in St. Louis and in many cases in the United States. In 1904 they were among those who planned one of the most spectacular world's fairs ever, and in 1927 they helped finance Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight. They served in the cabinets of presidents Cleveland, McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Coolidge, and Hoover. By examining these and many other accomplishments of these families, Julius Hunter provides a unique historical perspective on the past century of American life.In addition to providing the historical background, Hunter presents vivid descriptions of glamorous social occasions in Westmoreland and Portland--weddings, balls, even funerals--and he shows that the residents were sometimes united, and sometimes split, by bonds of family, marriage, religion, club membership, and political preference. Interviews with people who lived on those streets early in this century provide a unique glimpse of what it was like to grow up in the prestigious neighborhood.Hunter's text is superbly illustrated. More than 200 color photographs depict the houses as they appear today, including architectural details and interior views. More than 200 black-and-white photographs provide a glimpse of St. Louis's past. Every house that has stood in either Westmoreland or Portland is shown. All of these mansions were designed by architects, many of them of national or international reputation, and an essay by Esley Hamilton supplies additional information on the architects and the styles in which they worked. A Chronology of Owners presents the ownership dates for every resident, past and present.The engaging text and the beautiful illustrations combine to make this book pleasurable reading for everyone interested in either the St. Louis of the past or the city of the present."
Publisher: University of Missouri Press