Situated along St. Louis’s North Kingshighway Boulevard between Westminster Place and Washington Avenue, the Holy Corners Historic District consists of the following six buildings: St. John´s Methodist Church, First Church of Christ Scientist, the Racquet Club, (the only non religious structure in the district), the ex-Second Baptist Church, the ex-Temple Israel, and the Tuscan Temple. All of these buildings were constructed just after the turn of the 20th Century, between 1902 (St. John’s Methodist Church) and 1908 (the Tuscan Temple). Around the same time, the people of St. Louis started to refer to this area as “Holy Corners” due to concentration of religious structures along what is now North Kingshighway. Renowned St. Louis based German-American architect Theodore Link designed the first church built in the district, St. John’s Methodist Church. After St. John’s was finished, the St. Louis architectural firm Mauran, Russell and Garden designed the First Church of Christ Scientist. This simple Italian Renaissance structure was completed and occupied in 1904. The remaining four buildings in the district would follow in rapid succession, finishing with the Tuscan Temple in 1908.
The architecture of the district is a mix of elaborate mid 19th Century, Exotic and Greek revival styles to the more flowing Victorian and Renaissance styles. This wide mix of styles makes the buildings stand out and quickly spotted when walking or driving around the area. An important part of the district’s history involves aviator Charles Lindbergh and his famous flight across the Atlantic. In 1927, the year of his trans-Atlantic flight, St. Louis city leaders held a meeting at the Racquet Club to debate whether or not to support Lindbergh in his endeavor. All the buildings in the district have undergone renovations or additions of some kind, with St. John’s Methodist Church having the most work done. In 1928, a school annex was added on to the west side of the church. Renovations and additions would continue in 1946 and 1967 with the addition of a new chancel and stained glass windows respectively. On December 29, 1975, the Department of the Interior added Holy Corners to the National Register of Historic Places as a U.S. Historic District after they determined that it met criterion A (significant historical event) and C (significant Design/Construction).
Today, the district stands as a landmark to the religious and social history of St. Louis. This district, along with all the other churches in the city and surrounding area, give credibility to the city’s nickname “Rome of the West”. Each of these buildings are still in use so it would be best to call ahead before visiting. Super 8 St. Louis Airport and St. Louis Union Station Marriott are the closest hotels to Holy Corners Historic district.