Ghosts of the Once Great Lewis and Clark Tower Near St. Louis
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.
Opening in 1965 Lewis & Clark Towers quickly became a landmark north of St. Louis. Its tower's cylindrical design towered above many of its neighbors and quickly became a landmark in the area. It also became somewhat of a destination because of its Top of the Tower Restaurant, movie theater, and bowling alley. By 2014 things had changed, those that remained in some of the building's condos were forced out after two years of code violations.
Recently, in the last couple of years, much hasn't been written about the building. That may be because there's already been a lot written about it. I wasn't kidding about the building being a landmark either.
At one point in the building's history, according to Riverfront Times, the Top of the Tower Restaurant attracted weddings, proms, and dinner parties, and it wasn't at all odd to see limos out front of the building. The building also was influential in the St. Louis music scene. In the 1980s and 90s, part of the building's property was home to two clubs, an ages club called Animal House that was the starting point for some notable St. Louis bands of that era. As well as Club 367, a big part of the St. Louis punk and metal scene.
So what happened? According to Riverfront Times, the story isn't that different than what happened to a lot of once-thriving St. Louis area buildings, like the Millenium Hotel that fell on hard times. (Keep scrolling to see pictures of the abandoned hotel.) Reading between the lines in the article, it's about race and class, shifting and moving populations, absentee ownership, and limited government funds to help revitalize the building or tear it down.
As the tower's life came to an end amid code violations, you can tell those who left, left in a hurry. Urban explorer Tom V explored the Towers in 2020 and in a few pictures, you can tell people left in a hurry, leaving mementos, personal property, and more behind. Since that time, despite the town's efforts to keep the site secure, the tower has become a place for the homeless to stay, people to explore, and scrappers to tear out anything they can scrap for cash.
The only thing left are ghosts of the former restaurant and ghosts of the people that lived there. There are also memories, many happy, that exist of happier times. Parts of the attached strip mall are still occupied, and still doing well. Yet the tower and the area that once housed the bowling alley and theaters are condemned. Keep scrolling to see the pictures of the destruction and decay of Lewis & Clark Towers.