Brick Firsts in St. Louis

A St. Louis Brick Repair Company Providing St. Louis Brick Information

As a St. Louisan, born and raised, and owner/operator of a St. Louis tuckpointing and brick repair company, I have a great deal of pride and interest in this city and the work we perform. With a passion for history and always wanting to know more about the masonry field, I once wondered, “When did building with brick begin in St. Louis? Where, in St. Louis, was the first brick home built? What’s the oldest standing brick structure in Saint Louis? The Country? The World?”

Early (Pre-Brick) Development of Saint Louis

Brushing through the “brick unrelated” information, noteworthy & interesting, nonetheless…

The outside STL area was originally settled  by Native Americans in 700-1400 A.D.  I’ll point to Cahokia Mounds for further information.

After the French and Indian War in 1763, Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau, tradesmen of France, made way into the area and established St. Louis in February of 1764. (Named St. Louis, after Louis IX, a Catholic Saint and former King of France.)

The Saint Louis area officially became part of United States Territory in 1803. (The Louisiana Purchase), & Missouri gained statehood August 10, 1821…….

The First Brick in St. Louis

Until the Early 1800s, dwellings and buildings in St. Louis were constructed primarily from logs. Though, after the Louisiana Purchase, framed homes and buildings would replace them. Brick was first used as a chimney and fireplace building material along with natural stone for these non-masonry dwellings. The first brick home in St. Louis was built for William Carr Lane, the 1st mayor of St. Louis, in 1813. It was, from there on, locals thought brick to be the best material for building. In 1820 our town had approx 600 homes, 1/3 stone/brick, 1/3 framed, 1/3 log/timber construction. In 1821 the 1st brick pavement  was laid at 2nd Street. With local ease of access to raw materials for manufacturing, emerging brick yards would help brick further popularity as the choice in building material in St. Louis in the 1830’s. And by 1875 Over 90% of St. Louis City was constructed with Brick. Even today, an area mostly developed, St. Louis still sees brick as a the #1 building choice for construction, staying true to its original style. By the early 1900s Little construction built before 1830 still stood.

Related Brick Facts:

The Oldest Brick Building Still Standing in St. Louis: Built in 1821, The Bissell Mansion was originally home to Captain Lewis Bissell and has since become a tourist attraction featuring Murder/Mystery Dinner/Theatre.

St. Louis’ First High-Rise/Skyscraper: The Wainwright Building, was erected in 1890-1891. Many of us know of the Wainwright building, but did you know, it was one of the first skyscrapers in the world. It still stands today, 10 stories tall, at 709 Chestnut, downtown.

The oldest standing Brick home in the United States:  Built in 1665, Bacon’s Castle in Va

The oldest standing Brick structure in the world: Up for debate by many, in regards to actual dating and what one would call a brick, It’s a question with no real definitive answer. Construction information for all the pyramids throughout the world, Stonehenge, buildings in ancient Jerusalem and Rome, is incomplete and based around best guesses.

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By: Jacob Thompson


Shepard, Elihu H.		The Early History of St. Louis and Missouri. 
				St. Louis, 1870.

Reavis, L. U.			St. Louis, The Future Great City of the World. 
				Gray and Beyer Co., 1875.