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Name:  Pierce, J. O., House
Address:  Chouteau & St. Agne
Year:  1868
Date of Demolition:  1896
Architectural Firm/Architect:  C.P. Clark
Standard Architectural Styles:  High Victorian Italianate
Front facade:  Brick, common bond
Property Type Codes:  House, detached
The house, commonly known as the "Cracker Castle", was designed by C. P. Clarke for Jonathan O. Pierce. Pierce was a partner in the cracker-making business, Pierce, Dimmick and Company. The company flourished during the Civil War when it secured a contract to sell hardtack to the Union Army. Pierce chose to build his new mansion on Chouteau Avenue, one of the more fashionable neighborhoods of the time. At a cost of $115,000 to build, there were so many rooms that visitors were known to get lost. The house was dominated by large towers, the tallest extending four-and-a-half stories. It featured mansard roofs on the towers, large decorative brackets and wood trim, complex brickwork, elaborate window hoods and windows of many shapes and sizes. A one-story porch with intricately carved wooden arches led to the entry, and a highly decorative balcony graced the second floor of the smaller tower. After the war, when the cracker business returned to normal, J. O. Pierce sold his expensive mansion to a well-known lawyer, Fidelio Sharp. After his death the house was sold to Major James Pearce. The house was damaged beyond repair when a tornado hit St. Louis on May 27, 1896 [Barkley 59, 60; Lowic 126].

Clark, Charles

Architectural Heritage of St. Louis, 1803-1891
St. Louis Lost: Uncovering the City's Lost Architecture



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