In the late 1800s, public markets were vital grocery, retail and social gathering places in central urban areas. Union Market in downtown St. Louis occupied a full city block on Broadway, surrounded by tall office buildings and industrial warehouses only a few blocks from the Mississippi riverfront. Originally built in 1866, it was replaced by a more modern, expanded facility in 1925.
Soon after, downtown public markets were replaced by suburban private groceries and meat markets as the residential population moved from the city to the suburbs. After many rebirths, Union Market officially closed in the late 1980s. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Drury Hotels acquired the vacant Union Market in 1990 and began renovation, adding two floors to the original four-story property to become Drury Inn & Suites Convention Center.
While the residential population dwindled, downtown St. Louis’ commercial business needs expanded, and a convention center was added across the street from the hotel in 1997. Now called America’s Center, the convention center complex also includes sports stadium Edward Jones Dome. The exterior, interior lobby and mezzanine meeting level of the Drury Inn & Suites Convention Center retains Union Market’s original features. The brick exterior adorned with terra cotta embellishments has large plate glass windows and entryways framed with large Gothic arches. The interior boasts marble and polished metal details, terrazzo floors, and white enameled brick walls.