Red Brick Wonderland
The stainless steel catenary arch towering by the river may symbolise the pioneering spirit of St. Louis, but it’s the distinctive red brick architecture of the historic French neighbourhood known as Soulard that expresses the city’s soul. Rich clay deposits once made St. Louis the nation’s brick capital, and the evidence lives on in the form of row houses, churches, even sidewalks.
A walk through Soulard — one of St. Louis oldest neighbourhoods — reveals an eclectic development of architectural styles, from Victorian and Italianate to Federal and Second Empire, all fashioned in ubiquitous red brick. Turn around a corner to see an art deco police station transformed into an award-winning art gallery.
While the red brick wonderland was named after its founder, French surveyor Antoine Soulard, there is fun to be had in its meaning. Soulard is French slang for drunkard. Coincidently, the neighbourhood is home to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and its must-visit Budweiser Clydesdale stables. The impressive German medieval-style brewery anchors the south end of the neighbourhood.
On its north end you’ll find Soulard Market. Home to America’s oldest continuously operating public market, the bustling open-air market has been offering fresh produce, meats, cheeses and baked goods since 1779. Its central building was constructed in Italian Renaissance style, modelled after a 1419 Florentine hospital.
Vibrant by day, Soulard thrives at night. The blues were born within city limits — famous St. Louisan musicians include Chuck Berry, Miles Davis and Scott Joplin — and continue to live in Soulard’s density of, what else, red brick nightclubs.
Day or night, you’ll find Soulard to be very walkable. Segway tours are available as well. Either way, our Concierge will be happy to arrange a guided tour for you.