Forest Park Hotel, St. Louis landmark preserved as apartments
Located in the Central West End area of St. Louis is the Forest Park Hotel. Built in 1923 in a mix of Renaissance and other architectural styles, the hotel stands as a landmark to the old days of the roaring 20s and of a time when America was starting to become a major force on the world stage before the stock market crash in the 1930s. The hotel started out as a six story building made of reinforced concrete and red brick curtain walls that were trimmed in terra cotta. Three years later, another story was added onto the building in the same style as the first six floors. The hotel would stay this way until the 1960s when a one story addition made from stone and glass was added to the hotel.
It is worth pointing out that the hotel was designed by St. Louis architect Preston J. Bradshaw, the same man who designed the Chase Park Plaza, Mayfair, Lennox and Coronado Hotels. The hotels center wing was designed by George D. Barnett, Jr. and featured several private dining rooms. In the 1930s and 40s, the Forest Park Hotel became famous for the Circus Snack Bar nightclub. During its heyday, Harold Koplar ran the nightclub and managed to pull in big name acts of the time including Liberaci, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughan. By 1983, the hotel was in disrepair, until Dennys restaurant chain founder Harold Butler purchased the Forest Park Hotel and spent $7 million in renovating it. The year after the renovation, on March 22, 1984, the hotel building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. However, financial problems led to a sudden foreclosure of the hotel in December of 1990. The Forest Park Hotel would sit unused until 2003, when it was bought and renovated by a private development group. After the renovation, the building was converted into a 110 room apartment complex.
Today, the Forest Park Hotel building stands as a landmark to the old days of St. Louis. Although not open to the public, one can still get a sense of the buildings historical significants from walking around it. The closest hotels to the old Forest Park Hotel are the Indigo Hotel, The Parkway Hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites St. Louis at Forest Park, Residence Inn in St. Louis and Red Roof Inn in St. Louis.