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M-459 Philip Cotton Architectural Records



Records and papers, plans, blueprints, notebooks, publications, photographs and correspondence collected as a personal archive by Philip Cotton (1932-2009), a distinguished St. Louis architect and historic preservationist, working  from 1960 to the time of his death for nearly a half century on architectural projects which were significant to the history of St. Louis and the nearby region.  Born in Columbia, Missouri, and subsequently graduating from Princeton University (AB) in 1954, Cotton received his graduate architectural training at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (MArch) in 1960.

Biographical Note:

Cotton spearheaded the preservation of the Adler and Sullivan St. Louis landmark and one of the country’s earliest skyscrapers, the Wainwright Building, where he maintained his office at the outset of his St. Louis career.   His many projects included fifteen structures restored since 1975 at Tower Grove Park, one of the most important Victorian urban parks surviving in the United States (1872 Music Stand;  1872 Sons of Rest Pavilion;  Humboldt North and South Pavilions; 1871 Turkish Pavilion; Carriage, Playground and Pool Pavilions; 1871 Cypress Shelters; the Grand Avenue Gate; the 1868 Director’s Residence; the 1885 Plant House; the 1931 Old Comfort Station; and the 1888 South Gate Lodge;  four structures at the neighboring Missouri Botanical Garden including Henry Shaw’s home, Tower Grove House; the Piper Observatory; and the Museum ceiling and murals;  the Mark Twain Boyhood Home in Hannibal, Mo.; the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home in Mansfield, Mo.; the Cole County Historical Society in Jefferson City, and many other projects.  He evaluated numerous historic museum structures, churches and public and private residences over his career, including the Getty funded project to study the Holy Family Church, in Cahokia, Illinois, one of the oldest surviving structures in mid-America, as well as planned the restoration of the Jarrot Mansion, the oldest brick structure in Illinois.

Cotton was deeply involved with preservation of the Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis, and campaigned in the late 1960’s to establish the Lafayette Square neighborhood as a National Historic District which helped save this model urban oasis from obliteration by highway incursions.  He promoted the designation of Principia College as a National Historic Landmark, possessed as it is of its many Bernard Maybeck buildings.  He was involved with the restoration of numerous structures in Florissant, Missouri’s eighteenth century building stock.  He also restored several buildings comprising Jefferson Landing in Jefferson City, Mo., as well as designing gates for Waterman Place in St. Louis among many other projects.

Cotton was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and received many honors and awards for his lifetime of service to historic preservation of St. Louis and the American heartland.  As a leader of the preservation movement he planned numerous preservation conferences and prepared travelling exhibitions on Missouri Architecture.  He taught Renaissance Architecture at Washington University School of Architecture as an Assistant Professor.  He worked to reprint key sources on Missouri Architecture and authored 100 Buildings of St. Louis County (1970); Literary St. Louis (1974); and as a tireless crusader to preserve distinguished historic buildings, “Property- Tax System Promotes Slums” (1990).


SERIES ONE:  Correspondence and business files and photographs; planning documents

Box 1

Wainwright Building; Wainwright Tomb—history, plans for restoration, publications, correspondence

Box 2

Tower Grove Park –including planning documents for Band Stand; Grand Avenue Gates; Pool Pavilion; Bridges; lighting; gate walks; Bronze Bas Relief of Humboldt Amazon River Scene—correspondence; designs, budgets

Box 3

Tower Grove Park—various projects including:  Pavilions; Roof structures; Master Plan

Box 4

Tower Grove Park—including:  Composers’ Busts restoration; Lily Pond; Shelters and Pavilions

Box 5

Tower Grove Park—including information on: Comfort Stations; Pavilions; Paving issues; the Director’s Residence (plans, agreements, bids, correspondence)

Box 6

Tower Grove Park—including:  Composers busts; Fountains; Piper Plant House

Box 7

Missouri Botanical Garden Projects—including:  Observatory; Tea House; Arboretum; Museum Restoration

Box 8

Missouri Botanical Garden—information including:  Administration Building; Museum Building

Box 9

Cole County Historical Society Project, Jefferson City

Box 10

Jefferson Landing Restoration Designs and Planning documents

Box 11

Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, Hannibal, Mo.

Box 12

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Restoration Plans

Box 13

Collins Historic House Project, Collinsville, Illinois

Box 14

Residential Projects

Box 15

Various Plans and Subjects:  Archambault House, Florissant;  Archway Communities; Bellefontaine Cemetery; Bolduc House; Boonville; Church of the Holy Communion, University City; Deutscheim; First State Capitol;  Henry George –land taxation history; Grace Hill Survey;

Box 16

Various Plans and Subjects:  Historic Florissant;  Housing; Laclede’s Landing; Lafayette Square projects; Louisiana, Mo. Historic Preservation Association; Manchester Historic District; Owensville Clark Hotel; Parr Puppet Stage; Pommer-Gentner House, Hermann, Mo.; Prairie Du Rocher;  Rapid Transit; St. Joseph, Mo.  Preservation Projects and Planning.

Box 17

Various Plans and Subjects:  St. Louis Medical Society Library Plans; St. Louis Women’s Club; St. Mary’s Church, Adair County, Mo.;  St. Mary’s Hospital, Quincy, Ill.; St. Patrick’s Rock Church; Saline County Courthouse; Schuyler County Historical Society; Sedalian State Fair; Shell Building; Shell Building; Misc. St. Louis Plans; Show Me Central Habitat for Humanity; Solar Heat Pumping; Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Library  (Lovejoy Library); Steedman Room, St. Louis Public Library; Stream Teach; University of Missouri-Tucker; Urban Design Project; Valle House Project; Waterman Place Gates.

Box 18

Photographs for Various Projects:  Tower Grove Park; Missouri Botanical Garden; other projects

Box 19

Photographs for various projects; completion celebrations; etc.

Box 20

Photographs—Tower Grove Park etc.

Box 21

Photographs and Slides for various projects

Box 22

Historic Preservation Organizations; files, resolutions, involvement 1960-1980’s

Box 23

Early Notebooks and Class and Teaching notes and lectures, Architectural History

Box 24

Awards, Citations, Certificates

Box 25

Professional Business Records; Book Collecting Records; Selected personal correspondence

Box 26

Various interests:  public speaking; sports and sailing; music—Bach, Organ

Box 27

Architectural Resources—late 20th century commercial and marketing publications

Box 28

Architectural Resources—late 20th century commercial and marketing publications



Large Plans and Blueprints for selected projects by Philip Cotton


See also: M-412