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Name:    Brookings, Robert S.
Category:  Transportation and Infrastructure
Born/Started:    1850
Died/Ended:    1932
Description:    Born in Maryland, Robert Brookings dropped out of school at 16 and made his first million by the age of 30, selling brooms and other household goods for the St. Louis firm of Cupples Company.

Along with his partner, Samuel Cupples, Brookings developed the Cupples Station complex in 1891. This group of 23 seven-story buildings, covering 30 acres, served as a giant freight depot. The Terminal Railroad´s Eads Bridge tunnel ran through Cupples Station, connecting it with all of the railroad lines. Most of the city´s heavy wholesale trade, amounting to more than $200 million annually at the turn of the century, was handled there.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the complex handled 1,000 tons of merchandise a day.

Today nine of the remaining 10 warehouses have been renovated into a 230-room luxury Westin Hotel, office space, restaurants and retail stores.

Brookings´ legacy also includes Washington University. When he joined the institution, the university had fewer than 100 students. Using his personal fortune, Brookings agreed to become president of the board of directors in 1895. Through his influence and holdings, he helped create the university the region proudly calls its own today. He served on the board for 37 years, helping construct new facilities, working on the St. Louis World´s Fair, and propelling the medical school from relative mediocrity to national excellence. Always a great financial benefactor to the university, Brookings´ drive and commitment to outstanding education is still felt today. The university´s Brookings Hall bears his name.

Structures & Places
Cupples House
Cupples Station Complex

Cupples, Samuel

Final Resting Place-The Lives and Deaths of Famous St. Louisians

Related Links
St. Louis Commerce Magazine-Top 20 of 20th Century



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