Route 66 News

East St. Louis courthouse added to National Register

The Melvin Price Federal Building and U.S. courthouse in East St. Louis, Illinois, was added to the National Register of Historic Places effective Aug. 8, according to an email this week from the National Park Service.

The courthouse, which also was a post office, is at 750 Missouri Ave (map here). Missouri Avenue served as Route 66 in East St. Louis during the 1950s, when the highway was rerouted to the 1951 Veterans Bridge, now known as the Martin Luther King Bridge, that connects St. Louis.

The courthouse also is very close to the original 10th Street alignment of Route 66 that went to the 1917 St. Louis Municipal Bridge, now known as the MacArthur Bridge, which has been closed to vehicular traffic since 1981. And old U.S. 40, aka the National Road, runs nearby as well.

The courthouse of gray Indiana limestone reportedly was built in 1910 (other sources say 1909) in Greek Revival, Roman Revival, and Federal styles of architecture. It’s still used as a courthouse and as offices for federal law agencies.

The courthouse was renamed for U.S. Rep. Melvin Price, an East St. Louis native who served in Congress from 1945 to until his death in 1988.

The federal building is the second East St. Louis structure in the last three months to be listed on the National Register. The old Union Trust Bank Co. building was listed in June. Large swaths of East St. Louis contain architectural wonders that await saving or rejuvenation, despite that city’s decay for myriad reasons.

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