The Method Behind the Mayhem

The History Hidden Within the Walls of the St. Louis City Museum.


Sydney Doyle

The St. Louis City Museum is built inside a repurposed shoe factory located Downtown.

Erin Hynes

Located approximately four hours away from Assumption High School is the St. Louis City Museum. Since its opening in 1997, the St. Louis City Museum has welcomed curious adventurers to explore 600,000 square feet of artifacts and oddities. The museum is often described as an architectural playground.

Museum worker Mickie J Wells describes the city museum as interesting for adults and kids from all over the country, across states, and across regions. While the City Museum is known for its unique layout and abnormal exhibits, within the walls lies history waiting to be explored.

The museum is housed in what used to be an International Shoe Company factory and was purchased by Bob Cassilly in 1993. The museum utilizes the shoe shafts from this factory to hold the 10-story slide located in the museum.


While the playful nature of the museum may distract visitors from the history when you look inside the museum itself is a homage to the past. Exhibits include artifacts from old buildings throughout the United States, popular items from the past, and signs that hint at a previous time. Not to mention the old artwork hung along the walls.

The third floor houses the pinball arcade. A game most popular in the 1950s through the 1980s. While video game consoles are more popular today, the City Museum allows visitors to explore gaming of the past.

Along the third floor is the Architectural Museum and Architectural Hall, which carries pieces of many old architectural structures. There you can find pieces of the Lindell Bank Building, the Missouri Pacific Building, the Broadway Strand Theater, and the Vesper Buick Building. This exhibit from afar looks like a collection of old stone, but when you look closely it becomes a look into the past. Building as old as 1927 are forever remembered in the City Museum through these exhibits.

For many visitors, the history of the City Museum is largely unknown. They are attracted by the entertainment and awe it provides families. While the excitement alone warrants a four-hour trip, the history within these walls makes the trip unique. The city museum has a unique collection of history that you cannot find in Louisville. In just a few hours at the museum, if you really look, you will learn something new.

Visitor Andrew Scott said that he, “likes that it is crazy and has no rhyme or reason.” I advise you to find the meaning behind that lack of reason, and explore the history hidden behind the chaos.