LOCATION: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
OLD USE: Shoe factory, warehouse
NEW USE: Museum, residential lofts
The building was once home to the International Shoe Company. At 600,000 square feet, it included a shoe factory and warehouse.
Purchased in 1993, the site found a new purpose and life thanks to Bob and Gail Cassilly. Bob, a classically trained sculptor and serial entrepreneur, spent four years reworking the site for his new vision.
Opened in 1997, the museum is not only an example of adaptive reuse itself but its displays and elements are repurposed architectural and industrial objects. It includes such features as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and two abandoned planes. “CITY MUSEUM makes you want to know,” says Cassilly. “The point is not to learn every fact, but to say, ‘Wow, that’s wonderful.’ And if it’s wonderful, it’s worth preserving.”
Some of the exhibits include: shoelace museum, World Aquarium, Enchanted Caves and Shoe Shaft, Skateless Park, and MonstroCity. Thanks to the success and vibrancy of the museum, Cassily has used the City Museum as a neighborhood anchor to help develop several nearby commercial and residential buildings as well as include lofts within the shoe factory.