By Waller McGuire, Executive Director, St. Louis Public Library
Work on our great Central Library has reached fever pitch as we near the end of the construction phase of this massive project. Virtually every day another masterpiece is unveiled as the spectacular original stone carvings, bronze doorways, woodwork, alabaster, and other original features are restored to their places, carefully renewed.
A renowned painting conservator recently stopped me as we walked under the glowing vaults of Central’s main foyer and said “You have one of the best examples of Beaux Arts building painting in the U.S.”
The craftsmanship and artistry that created Central Library 100 years ago lives on in St. Louis. The state-of-the-art design, the delicate restoration work, the intricate construction, have virtually all been carried out by St. Louisans. Central is a showcase for the remarkable talents St. Louis holds today. Our region should be very proud.
The Library’s architect, Cannon Design, our builder, BSI Constructors, and our staff are well aware of the rich architectural heritage and forward-thinking plan of the original Central.
Cass Gilbert’s landmark design gave us a masterpiece that could be carefully reworked into a great modern library. Former offices and dowdy staff spaces have been transformed in stunning new public rooms.
We are fortunate in St. Louis to have a priceless, historic research collection that modern technology can make useful in entirely new ways. And it will now “live” in a spectacular library with all the tools and possibilities of a 21st century library. I look forward to welcoming you back into one of the world’s treasures.
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