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The International Fur Exchange Building, the Thomas Jefferson Building and the American Zinc Building make up the 370-room Drury Plaza Hotel, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The International Fur Exchange Building, on the northwest corner of the hotel project, was built in 1919 and was home to the world’s largest and most important fur trading auction floor throughout the 1920’s and 30’s. Sealskin had become one of the desirable furs for women’s coats, and after obtaining a substantial government contract for Alaskan Pribilof sealskins, Funsten Brothers consolidated with the F. C. Taylor Co. to form the International Fur Exchange. The building was designed by St. Louis architect George W. Hellmuth, and cost an estimated $750,000. It boasted “unexcelled lighting facilities” for buyers to examine the goods, and allowed them to bid in the same building. Previously two buildings were required for these functions. Furs were traded in the building until the 1960’s.

The ten-story Thomas Jefferson Building Annex was added to the International Fur Exchange in 1957 by the Caradine Hat Company. The building was then home to both the hat manufacturing company and Southwestern Bell Telephone’s accounting operations for more than 25 years.

The American Zinc Building at the corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets was built in 1967. It is one of only three buildings remaining in America which employed the Vierendeel truss structural style, named for Arthur Vierendeel, who first used the quadrangular truss on a bridge built in 1896 in Tervueren, Belgium. The four-story jewel-box looking American Zinc building is suspended atop two steel structural beams and is clad in the same brushed-finish stainless steel as the world-famous Gateway Arch.

The wreckers were already at work when Charles and Shirley Drury discovered the Fur Exchange buildings on their way to Mass at the Old Cathedral in 1997. Through careful renovation, the expansive lobby and front desk areas of imported Italian marble and granite utilize many features of the original Fur Exchange building to reflect period architecture, including the original matching millwork on the 24 massive support columns along the top of the walls. And there are nearly 15,000 pieces of Waterford crystal used throughout the building, for chandeliers and light fixtures. Historic elegance is built into every feature of the Drury Plaza Hotel, blending the memories of the past with the present.

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