St. Louis Symphony to demolish 19th-century Culver House in preparation for Powell Hall renovation/expansion

Posted on: July 14, 2022

“Demolition is expected to begin as soon as Monday on a historic house next to Powell Hall,” writes Farrah Anderson in Wednesday’s (7/13) St. Louis Public Radio. “Preservationists … for months tried to persuade the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to save the 19th-century house. Symphony officials are having it torn down to prepare for the $100 million renovation and expansion of Powell Hall…. The home was filled with asbestos, black mold and rotting wood, symphony officials said…. As the house is not located within a city historical district or preservation review district, it was not protected from demolition…. The Culver House is known by other names, including the old Portfolio Gallery building and the Stephen Allen Bemis House. It’s been home to art galleries and chiropractors and was left vacant when the symphony acquired the house in the summer of 2015. The renovation of Powell Hall will make the symphony more accessible for patrons and ensure the symphony has enough space to rehearse and perform in the future, [St. Louis Symphony Orchestra representative Eric] Dundon said. Workers salvaged many pieces of the house … including some wood, doors and stained-glass windows. Many of those pieces were given to the St. Louis nonprofit ReFab.”