ICRI 2010 Project Award Winner
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Award of Excellence: Masonry Category

St. Louis Union Station Headhouse Façade Restoration
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St. Louis, Missouri

Submitted by Walter P Moore


St. Louis Union Station Headhouse

Owner
FBOP Corporation
Oak Park, Illinois

Project Engineer/
Designer

Walter P Moore
Houston, Texas

Repair Contractor
Superior Waterproofing & Restoration Company
St. Louis, Missouri

Material Suppliers/
Manufacturers

Architectural Stone, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri

Cathedral Stone Products
Hanover, Maryland

Edison Coatings, Inc.
Plainville, Connecticut

Originally constructed in 1894 and now a national historic landmark, the St. Louis Union Station was at one time the largest passenger train station in the world. Architect Theodore C. Link designed the station in the then-popular Richardsonian Romanesque style, incorporating a monumental façade facing Market Street featuring round turrets, intricately carved stone features, and an impressive 280 ft (8.5 m) clock tower. 

Although the facility underwent an extensive restoration in the 1980s, by early 2005, the limestone façades were in need of extensive repair. Deterioration of limestone on the clock tower prompted concerns about overhead hazards. The project team performed a detailed condition assessment of the building envelope and designed repair solutions for the restoration of the limestone façades. Assessment began with a comprehensive visual survey followed by a hands-on assessment of select locations. Nondestructive evaluation techniques were used to identify areas of deteriorated stone. Temporary stabilization with pinning and netting was employed until the distress conditions could be addressed. 

The Indiana limestone was typically in good condition, although in certain locations, significant surface deterioration was found. When possible, the original stone was maintained and damage was patched. In other locations, replacement units were hand-fabricated to match the existing stone. Gentle water mist spray was used to remove years of soiling. Dry soda blasting was used to remove heavy gypsum crusts. Additional repairs and restoration were performed on the wood roof features, the original copper gutters and downspouts, and the wood windows. The entire façade was repointed. 

As equally impressive as the restoration of the building was the restoration of the large crest of the Seal of Missouri on the clock tower. After a hands-on examination of the crest revealed extensive deterioration, a new crest was custom-manufactured from new limestone according to historic photographs.

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