From Abandoned to Adored

By: Andrea Minuto, Thomas Walker, & Jaidyn Bills

ST. LOUIS – “A city within a city” was what City Museum founder, Bob Cassilly, intended to transform the former International Shoe Company into. His ideas were impossible, receiving speculations from many. He not only presents the World’s Largest Pair of Underwear but after being open for 25 years, he has proved those speculations incorrect.

Purchased in 1993, the 10-story building was taken in by Cassilly with open arms. His crew was hard at work crafting with over 29,000 artifacts used from around the world. The doors outside were rusted shut, well unprepared for the legacy they would uphold.

After years of construction, on October 25, 1997, the City Museum opened those rusted doors to the public. The hand-built attraction immediately took hold of the St. Louis community and tourists from all places. No one expected the massive recycling project to be such a big hit.

After hearing about the legacy of this building, St. Louis visitor Vanessa Irons says that she loves “the idea of taking something that has already been useful and changing the entire perspective of it.”

Cassilly has since passed in 2011 so he will never truly see how impactful his idea, turned a reality, was. The year before, he was able to see 700,000 faces in his building and that number has massively grown. Beginning from a shoe company in downtown St. Louis evolving into a beloved attraction for all – the museum possesses a very powerful story.

Including everything from a rooftop praying mantis to a variety of caves to explore – the St. Louis City Museum has stolen the hearts of the community and has become a must-stop for tourists. The museum offers so many attractions and even more.

Cassilly took his dream and handcrafted it into a reality. City Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary and continuing on Cassilly’s legacy by expanding his dream.

“After Bob’s death in 2011, our Crew of artists continue on, They built on the strength of our founder’s vision and City Museum continues to grow.”

-‘History of City Museum’ exhibit-