Jefferson National Expansion
Administrative History
NPS Logo
Administrative History
Sharon A. Brown


After the establishment of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, further development depended upon many different factors. Luther Ely Smith and other association members found themselves dealing not only with national political figures, but with condemnation proceedings, income tax deductibility, the lapse of their funds into the United States Treasury, verbal attacks delivered on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, endless museum studies, Government paperwork, legal court cases, railroad negotiations, and disposal of the buildings on the riverfront. From 1936 on, both the National Park Service and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association strove to familiarize themselves with these factors, determine their significance, prejudge their effect on development, and plan a course of action. Several decisions made by outside interests deeply affected both the pace and the scope of development. Demolition could not begin until the courts ruled on the validity of the action. The security of the association's funding depended upon the Internal Revenue Service's decision on its tax status. Whether or not the Federal Government accepted the deed to the Old Courthouse depended upon yet another outside legal opinion. Preservation efforts geared toward saving specific buildings within the memorial's boundaries could not occur until the buildings were judged to be "nationally" significant. Missouri's congressional delegation could not seek additional appropriations for the project because of outside opposition and the depressed economic state of the nation.

So it went throughout 1936, 1937, 1938, and most of 1939. Only in 1939 did the first building fall before the bulldozer, making way for Thomas Jefferson's memorial. Events seemed to be left hanging most of the time, with Smith and Park Service officials trying to keep control. Development moved in several different directions. The courts had to test the validity of the Federal Government's every move in establishing the park, allocating the money, and acquiring the land. In all cases for the next four years the courts ruled in favor of the Government. Association members, commission members and National Park Service officials made decisions during these years concerning types of museums to be included in the memorial, basic themes for the museums to illustrate, automobile parking, and which buildings would be spared the wrecking ball. Always they wondered where they could put the offensive elevated railroad trestle.

Major setbacks occurred. Thousands of allotted dollars lapsed into the United States Treasury, and it became known that corporate contributions to the association could not be deducted from federal income taxes. Bernard Dickmann, Luther Ely Smith, and other city leaders had to fight community groups attacking the project, while at the same time keeping local interest high despite the slow-moving development. Memorial backers managed to weather it all, from the city of St. Louis being characterized as a "cesspool" in Congress, to waiting out the period while opponents filed yet another injunction suit. But it all had to be done. Court cases had to be settled; paperwork had to be filled out; and money had to be deposited with the court before visible results in the form of demolition could be seen. Little would National Park Service officials and Luther Ely Smith realize that even the slow-moving events of the late 1930s would be a fond memory during the total stagnation which occurred during the war years.

Engineer John Nagle of the National Park Service arrived in St. Louis on December 30, 1935, to meet with the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment concerning the Federal Government's land acquisition program. The injunction suit filed on the 24th by Edward Coleman and backed by the Citizens Nonpartisan Committee to restrain the city from issuing the bonds was thrown out of court the same day. "Appeal is now in the hands of the enemy," Luther Ely Smith stated, and St. Louis lawyers hoped for the upholding of the project's legality. [1]

Further progress depended on Secretary Ickes' next move. If the acquisition were accomplished by outright land purchase, the Department of Justice would not take part in the action. But if condemnation became policy the Justice Department would bring the suits. After January 1, National Park Service officials pursued a blanket condemnation suit, with further study needed to determine whether the property was best acquired by this method or by outright purchase. John Nagle made arrangements with Assistant Attorney General Harry Blair for a St. Louis lawyer to act as a contact with the United States district attorney's office in all matters pertaining to land condemnation. National Park Service Director Arno Cammerer believed that a well-equipped technical and administrative office should be established in St. Louis with real estate appraisers and contact men operating there so the Department of the Interior could develop itemized information about each piece of property. An "aggressive businesslike organization" would save time and money, and having National Park Service officials fully informed about real estate values would guarantee fair treatment for all property owners. Cammerer and Ickes agreed that the Park Service should proceed along these lines to insure action when funds became available. John Nagle became the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial's first superintendent. [2]

Money released in Washington and St. Louis for the project became available early in 1936. On January 22, President Roosevelt allotted $6,750,000 to the Department of the Interior, which transferred it to the National Park Service on February 4. In St. Louis, Mayor Bernard Dickmann approved Ordinance 40,746 on February 1, authorizing the payment of $2,250,000 to the United States Government. Nine million dollars were now available for land clearance. [3]

Despite this initial release of funds, association members kept watch on the political situation in Washington to determine an advantageous time to seek additional appropriations. Max O'Rell Truitt, association lawyer Bon Geaslin, and City Counselor Charles Hay lobbied House members in February, seeking information about the political climate. To their dismay they discovered that Congress probably would not approve any bills providing for either projects or appropriations. Geaslin warned Smith not to jeopardize the memorial by seeking more funds at this time. Nine million dollars were theirs for site acquisition; he suggested that the work begin. Congress could always be asked later for additional funds. [4]

Opposition Continues

Bon Geaslin discovered something else in Washington. Opponents of the project, headed by Paul Peters, had come to the capital distributing pamphlets. Every member of Congress received a copy of one called "Public Necessity or Just Plain Pork." Geaslin believed the pamphlets caused no damage, and may even have generated some interest in the project because members of Missouri's congressional delegation received inquiries concerning the memorial from their fellow congressmen. When United States Territorial Expansion Commissioner Lloyd Thurston received the brochure, he wrote tongue-in-cheek to Luther Ely Smith, "While I was quite sure of my deductions in regard to your capability, I had not thought that your associates and you would drag me into a venal and corrupt movement to wreck the City of St. Louis as well as to rape the treasury of the United States Government, but it seems as though there might be some doubt in this respect. [5]

Representative John Cochran believed Congress would approve an association proposal asking for $1,500,000 in federal funds, with the city providing another $500,000. Geaslin did not agree. He knew Congress would not approve any specific sum for this project or any other. The best course of action now open to the association would be to keep a low profile, maintaining its current position during this session of Congress. Geaslin did not even want to send out an informational booklet on the project to congressional members until the association completed more supportive work. The lawyer could suggest only one thing the association could do to help their cause. He told Smith, "get a good strong editorial in one of the papers to the effect that a small group of tenants ... occupying certain premises in the area, is soliciting funds for the purpose of fighting the proposed improvement, and stating that these efforts do not represent the consensus of opinion in St. Louis or of the property owners and taxpayers in the downtown section of the city, and pointing out that such obstructions should be condemned." [6]

Since no progress could be made in Congress, National Park Service officials concentrated on clearing the land. They still wanted condemnation as opposed to purchase. Luther Ely Smith believed that as soon as the city's money arrived in Washington Secretary Ickes would direct the Department of Justice to obtain orders of taking from the federal courts. But the congressional emphasis on limiting spending affected even the memorial's already allotted funds. National Park Service officials had to explain to Congress why they had not pared down the memorial's federal allotment. John Nagle informed Smith, "It seems that in the recently instituted search for relief funds, covetous eyes have been cast upon the allotment for that project." [7] Park Service officials explained to Congress that all sorts of problems would arise if they cut this allotment. St. Louis would have to cut their contributed funds if the Federal Government did, causing complicated legal difficulties. An executive order authorized this allotment, officials pointed out, making it unavailable for administrative cutbacks. John Nagle was wary, fearing that what "one Executive Order does, another can undo." [8]

Early in March another attack came from a source closer to home. Representative John J. Cochran again made remarks in Congress, which potentially jeopardized the memorial. He stated that he would not vote for any measure providing for building the memorial or allotting funds to it. These words created political repercussions in Washington. Bon Geaslin did not know of any argument advanced by Paul Peters opposing the memorial construction which would prove more effective in defeating the purpose of the commission and the will of the city of St. Louis, than that spoken by Representative Cochran on the House floor. If the President and Congress thought that Cochran's views reflected the community's attitude then both the United States Territorial Expansion Commission and the city of St. Louis could be embarrassed in their efforts to secure additional federal aid. In Geaslin's opinion there existed no possibility now of securing legislation. [9]

Cochran's views had been at odds all along with those of the memorial backers. When Congress had considered the resolution establishing the commission two years before, Cochran had stated that no appropriation would ever be sought from them. Geaslin believed some officials in the Department of Justice and the Public Works Administration viewed these remarks as evidence that Congress had not intended for any funds to be made available to the President for constructing such a memorial. Those early statements by Cochran had caused some of the current problems. Even though several people explained the commission's position to him, Cochran did not change his views. He agreed that no appropriation should be sought at this congressional session, and in this he was in consensus with the rest of the project's backers. Bon Geaslin believed St. Louisans needed to provide a united front in order to obtain any money at all, for no federal official would force a project of this sort upon any city. If the idea became prevalent that St. Louisans did not want the memorial, it would mean the end of the project as far as the Federal Government was concerned. [10]

Paul Peters stayed in Washington, seeking support. Members of his committees (Taxpayers Defense Association, Citizens Non-Partisan Committee) sent telegrams to President Roosevelt asking for a recession of the executive order creating the memorial. They urged him to donate the funds to the American Red Cross instead. Peters asked congressional members to oppose any appropriations for the project. Luther Ely Smith called this opposition "a group of soreheads," pointing out that none of the groups sending telegrams belonged to the Council on Civic Needs (composed of 140 civic organizations). In Smith's opinion, the individuals belonging to these committees were just "opposed to anything that is ever advanced in behalf of the city." [11]

A new crisis began which, although short-lived, became national in scope. A correspondent for the New York magazine Nation wrote a disparaging article about the memorial, which appeared late in February 1936. Criticism appearing in a nationally prominent publication could not be ignored easily by Luther Ely Smith, who stated that his "first impulse was to jump on it strong with hammer and tongs." [12] Commission member William Allen White, himself a prominent newspaperman, did not feel the concern. He consoled Smith; "The Nation episode will soon be forgotten." [13]

Alongside these attacks association members faced other problems affecting the memorial's progress. An uncertain situation existed because the executive order made no mention of the memorial's boundaries. Smith believed the forthcoming condemnation suits would be much stronger if the executive order contained a description of the property. Smith wanted the President to issue a new order including this information, to supplement the first. Bon Geaslin pursued this idea through Assistant Attorney General Harry Blair, resulting in an order being drawn up and ready for signature as soon as Secretary Ickes requested the attorney general to proceed with the land acquisition. The fact that this new order existed received no publicity. [14]

City Bonds Sold

Despite the opposition and problems, some progress occurred in early April. The September 1935 bond issue election had authorized the issuance of bonds for the memorial, so now city officials prepared to publicly sell city bonds. The bond market was jittery, but City Counselor Edgar Wayman did not worry. He predicted no harm would come even if there were no bids for the bonds at the public sale, for the city could always sell the bonds at a private sale with a clear conscience. True to Wayman's prediction, no bidders came forth on April 9. The bonds simply would not sell below the current 2-1/2 percent bond rate. Another attempt to sell them at the same interest rate came a few days later, on April 14, and met with the same response. City Comptroller Louis Nolte did not raise rates, the market was not a 2-1/2 percent market, and so no bonds were sold. There was speculation that the litigation threats kept buyers away, but Smith believed otherwise: he said it was Nolte's insistence on keeping the 2-1/2 percent bond rate when the market did not justify it that deterred the bidders. Other steps could be taken, but if they failed, Smith feared the Reconstruction Finance Corporation probably would have to take the bonds. He placed the blame squarely on Nolte. Luther Ely Smith had not anticipated this complication, and wrote that he "had supposed that our banker friends stood on firm ground when they stated that Mr. Nolte would come through all right." [15]

In May 1936 bonds valued at $1,800,000 finally sold at a 2 percent discount to private interests. A contribution totaling $36,000 from the Progress Council, a business and civic group, made up for the discount. The city's Water Division bought the remaining $450,000 in bonds for its sinking fund, money it set aside to invest. On May 15 St. Louis deposited $2,250,000 with Secretary Ickes as its share of the memorial funds. Since the city had authorized an issue of $7,500,000 in the bond election, unissued bonds totaling $5,250,000 remained available to match any further Government appropriations at a ratio of three to one. Two law firms (Thompson, Wood, and Hoffman of New York, and Charles and Trauernicht of St. Louis) ruled favorably on the bonds' validity and legality, while Secretary Ickes formally accepted the St. Louis funds and notified the Department of the Treasury. By the end of May, legal matters progressed to the point where the Justice Department could begin condemnation of the riverfront properties. [16]

This progress did not serve to quiet the opposition. In Washington, on Thomas Jefferson's birthday, Paul Peters visited President Roosevelt, urging him to withdraw the project's funds. At the same time Peters and his group worked to defeat Representative Kent Keller in a reelection bid. Keller, from the Illinois Twenty-fifth Congressional District, was an appointed member of the United States Territorial Expansion Commission. Max O'Rell Truitt was not worried; in fact, he thought the effort would help Keller. Nevertheless, Truitt found the whole situation embarrassing. Wanting to assure people in Washington that Peters represented "no one of consequence" and that "substantial" St. Louisans favored the project, Truitt exclaimed that Peters' "activities have been most disgusting and in my opinion will prove hurtful if (a) he is not quieted down or (b) we do not start work immediately." [17]

Luther Ely Smith responded by mailing letters to commission members expressing his regrets if Peters' activities embarrassed them. William Allen White replied, "Don't worry about the activities of Mr. Peters. They have caused me no embarrassment. Takes more than that to excite me. [18] Smith considered Peters and his supporters to be nothing more than selfish individuals standing in the way of public improvements and refusing to move from the memorial district because they enjoyed low rents. As far as Bon Geaslin could discover, Peters did not make any progress in his talks with congressional members. [19]

Smith was on the mark when he identified the opposing groups as low-renters. City Counselor Edgar Wayman learned that a variety of factors contributed to the low riverfront property values. Of the approximately 5,000,000 square feet of space in the thirty-seven blocks, 40 percent stood unoccupied. Much of the property was worth less than its assessed value; the majority of tenants paid rentals easily matched by outside offers; and in some cases, lease terms could cover moving costs. A majority of the riverfront buildings did not possess sprinklers, resulting in these businesses carrying higher fire insurance rates than for sprinkler-equipped properties. Low rentals were directly attributable to the lack of leases, a condition precipitated by the possible Federal Government acquisition of the area, and the buildings' obsolescence. [20]

Uncertainties concerning the park's boundaries vanished in May after Bon Geaslin discussed the problem with National Park Service officials. Because the United States Territorial Expansion Commission had approved the project and established the memorial's boundaries in its May 1, 1935, meeting, Geaslin believed that no additional order was necessary. Superintendent John Nagle also believed the commission's action in the matter of the boundaries to be definitive. [21]

Legal Action

Owners of property located within the proposed memorial boundaries who objected to these plans took action on June 1. Thirty-six property holders filed an injunction suit in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., restraining Secretary Harold Ickes and his associates from using the appropriated funds or proceeding with the work. Luther Ely Smith spent three days at the Department of Justice, conferring with Assistant Attorney General Harry Blair, Solicitor General Stanley Reed, Senator Bennett Champ Clark, and the association's counsel Bon Geaslin. They all agreed that the memorial commission should enter the case, filing a brief as amici curiae (friends of the court). Solicitor General Reed suggested filing affidavits supporting Ickes and Cammerer. During its meeting on June 19, the commission's executive committee adopted a resolution endorsing these two courses of action in the case of August Balter et al. v. Harold L. Ickes et al. [22] Twenty-three days later Judge Cox of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia dismissed the suit. He held that the project, involving the preservation and memorialization of a historic site, was within the established and recognized scope of congressional power. He also ruled that the President had legal authorization to allot the project's funds. [23] The plaintiffs moved to appeal.

While these legal cases moved through the courts, John Nagle and his National Park Service staff established their headquarters in St. Louis in June. Nagle had prepared for the move immediately after the city deposited its funds in the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis on May 15. While still in Washington, he organized an office, drew up approved personnel lists, swore in persons already transferred or appointed to the new St. Louis office, and checked on the status of funds before making purchases. [24] The WPA accounting office paper work did not pass through channels until June 17, so Nagle used this time to organize. He made three return trips to St. Louis, "flying always by night so as not to lose any working time." He advertised and opened bids for office space, accepted the most favorable bid, and arranged to move into the Buder Building (at Seventh and Market Streets) even before he signed a lease. He also interviewed and concluded preliminary arrangements with three men to serve on the Real Estate Consulting Board (whose establishment Cammerer had requested). On June 16 Nagle sent Director Cammerer a draft of a letter from Secretary Ickes to Attorney General Cummings, seeking formal establishment of the memorial's boundaries and requesting that condemnation proceedings begin. [25] Just when Nagle was ready to move to St. Louis, a WPA accountant informed him on June 20 that Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., had ordered all payments of memorial funds stopped. When Nagle inquired about this on June 22, National Park Service legal representatives told him not to spend any further funds, even though no formal word had reached them concerning Morgenthau's policy. Complying with this order, John Nagle stopped his purchasing, but nevertheless established his office in St. Louis in late June. [26]

Bon Geaslin, acting as amicus curiae representing the Commission, filed a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Balter et al. v. Ickes et al. case. The Justice Department also filed a memorandum in the case, one that Geaslin described as "extremely well done." No word came of any court action during July, causing Luther Ely Smith concern. As the guiding spirit of the association he received many inquiries from property holders and interested citizens. Seeking information from Bon Geaslin he wrote, "We are being bombarded every minute of the day by questions and we are doing the very best we can to parry them off." [27]

City Counselor Edgar Wayman took action in the court case, writing a memorandum citing the city of St. Louis as an indispensable party to the action. He did not file this memo on behalf of the city, however, as he feared it might have the effect of an entry of appearance. Instead, Geaslin filed the memorandum as a supplement to his original. Making comments on the plaintiffs' memorandum, Geaslin argued that the plaintiffs had misstated facts. He wanted to insure that the court's attention could be called to this important matter of the city's status in the case. [28]

Even though the indefinite status of the legal case affected National Park Service operations in St. Louis, Director Arno Cammerer advised John Nagle in late June 1936 to continue the project until further notice. Department of Justice officials informally told Cammerer that they held no objection to proceeding with the work, and that they did not object to the Park Service's efforts to commence a land acquisition program, so Cammerer proceeded to have the real estate consultants appointed. His main effort at this time pushed toward lifting the stop order issued by the Department of the Treasury against the expenditure of funds. [29]

John Nagle did exactly as ordered; he continued his activities to establish his office in the Buder Building. The leased space had to be painted and reconditioned, office furniture received, switchboard and telephones installed, and blueprint and photostat services acquired. He even provided soap and towel service for the employees. The Park Service's Landscape Branch had the immediate task of studying the memorial's design. By the end of July the payroll list contained twenty-one names. [30]

It seemed as if John Nagle could keep working throughout the court case's duration, yet this was not to be. On August 17 the United States Court of Appeals granted the plaintiffs a temporary injunction, pending appeal. This prevented any land acquisition until the appeal's disposition. The Justice Department could only seek to have the case advanced for a hearing early in the court's October term. [31] Bon Geaslin admitted to Smith, "Frankly, I do not know just what to make of the Court's decision." [32]

Smith wondered whether the plaintiffs would be required to put up a bond, a normal procedure whenever an injunction is granted. Damages to the city and other property holders were substantial in this case. Smith stated, "We are constantly having inquiries from property holders as to what they can do and why it is that a very small number [with an] inconsequent interest at stake should be able to inflict such very great damage on all other property owners in the district." [33] Securing a bond from the plaintiffs would help insure damages for the city if the plaintiffs lost the case. Smith met with several property owners in the area who believed that if a bond were required most of the plaintiffs would drop the case. Contacts made with some of the plaintiffs revealed that quite a number of them wanted out, but did not want to withdraw and abandon the rest of the plaintiffs. Smith urged the property owners to join in a petition of intervention, appearing as friends of the court. [34]

Near the end of August the Department of Justice prepared a motion requiring the plaintiffs to give bond. They asked for bond sufficient to cover the interest on $2,250,000 at a rate of 2-1/2 percent for a period of five months. [35] Officials also considered submitting affidavits from a few property holders showing that under the injunction they could do nothing with their property, being unable to sell or lease their holdings. [36] Bon Geaslin very carefully considered Luther Ely Smith's suggestion that the property owners intervene as it meant filing more briefs. This could result in more delays, while the only advantage would be in emphasizing to the court the interests of other property holders in the area. [37]

On September 25 the court of appeals ordered the plaintiffs of Balter et. al. v. Ickes et. al. to post a bond of $7,500. [38] Park Service officials then resumed payment for administrative expenses by securing a removal of the stop order issued by the Treasury Department. John Nagle received procedural instructions to follow in securing bids for title certificates, but upon the advice of the Justice Department he could only perform administrative duties. Land acquisition was delayed for months until the court of appeals made its ruling. [39]

Officials prepared an alternate plan of action in case the judgment in the injunction suit proved unfavorable. If the courts kept the Federal Government from proceeding with development at all, the project would fail and be abandoned. On the other hand, the courts could tell the Government to restrain only certain matters in their real estate purchases, allowing administrative duties to continue. John Nagle submitted an outline of matters needing consideration if either of these events occurred. Nagle did not prepare these plans in anticipation of any unfavorable developments, but as a routine matter of preplanning. [40]

Now the only action left open to Smith and Nagle was to wait until the various legal procedures passed through court. The case would not be heard before November; meanwhile, the temporary injunction prevented Ickes from making any start on the project. Even if the injunction were removed, no work could be done until the next spring. Printing the complete record in the case took thirty days after it was presented to the court of appeals. Attorneys for the opposing property holders had thirty days to file their brief, with another twenty-day period being granted the Federal Government for a reply before the case could even go into the court calendar. [41] Memorial backers just had to wait for further developments.

Alleged Election Fraud

They did not have to wait long for another crisis. "WIDESPREAD FRAUD FOUND IN JEFFERSON NATIONAL MEMORIAL BOND ISSUE ELECTION" ran the St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline on September 8, 1936. Thus began the paper's exposure of "gross frauds" just discovered in the September 10, 1935, bond issue election. The paper's reporters had gathered evidence indicating there may have been enough ballot box stuffing and vote falsifying to invalidate the election. At the same time the paper sarcastically praised the ward precinct captains of the Democrat "machine" who had succeeded in getting out such a favorable vote in the election, stating that "They well deserved the compliments which Mayor Dickmann in his gratitude publicly heaped upon them." The Post-Dispatch predicted that the invalidation of the election through an official recount probably would end the whole riverfront project, "which has met strong opposition and had a precarious career from the beginning." [42]

One aspect of the law worked against the election's investigators. Section #10,315 of the Revised Statutes of 1929 provided for the destruction of the ballots at the end of a year after any election, with the exception of those involved in any grand jury investigation pending at the year's end. In this latter case the ballots should not be destroyed until the investigation was completed. A grand jury could subpoena the ballot boxes and poll books, and examine every ballot. It was not in the grand jury's power, however, to declare an election invalid; only a circuit court judge, if he accepted a contest of determination, could declare a recount and then declare an official result. In this election, held September 10, 1935, the ballots could now be destroyed any time after midnight of September 9, 1936. [43] Whatever the city's action, it would have to be taken or the evidence would be invalid.

After disclosing an alleged election fraud, the Post-Dispatch launched a full-scale investigation. On September 8 the paper printed detailed reports of the votes by precinct, asking voters to scrutinize them and report any evidence of irregularity. [44] In the following days the paper carried accounts of new evidence ranging from poll clerks admitting they had witnessed ballot-stuffing, to forged names being discovered in the precinct registration books. Apparently fraud existed in all nineteen of the wards in which the bonds carried the election. [45]

The Post-Dispatch saw two clear conclusions coming from the fraud disclosures. First, an official recount should take place to determine the validity or the invalidity of the election, since doubt existed whether the election would have carried without the fraudulent stuffing. Secondly, the St. Louis Election Board had proved itself unfit and should be removed from office by Missouri Governor Guy B. Park. [46]

St. Louis' Board of Election Commissioners had already been charged with corrupt practices earlier in the year. In early September the board worked to select 4,020 new judges and clerks of election to serve for the next four years because of the exposure, once more by the Post-Dispatch, of frauds in past registrations. The judges and clerks being removed from office had served in the bond issue election in 1935. This major scandal, coming on top of the earlier registration scandals, seemed enough reason for the Post-Dispatch to demand the removal of the board itself. The decision lay with Governor Park. [47]

On September 14 the September term grand jury was impaneled, with a major duty being the investigation of the election and registration frauds. On September 17 Governor Park appointed new Board of Election commissioners and named former city counselor Charles Williams as chairman. Nevertheless, St. Louis' taxpayers could not cancel the riverfront bonds. There was no method by which the riverfront bond issue election could be contested. Even if the grand jury could find in its recount of ballots that the election should not have carried, there was no way to cancel the bonds. [48]

Down on the riverfront reaction to the fraud exposé was one of joy, the Post-Dispatch reported. Business was better than ever in the area, with many firms making improvements in buildings and equipment. New companies had moved into the area and remodeled buildings for use. "No stone has been turned for the memorial," reported the Post-Dispatch, despite the fact that a year before, campaigners for the project predicted dirt would fly within ten days. Several of the riverfront opponents felt confident they would never have to move. [49]

Luther Ely Smith, assured that the bond issue could not be invalidated, told Bon Geaslin that if "mere evidence of fraud" in a municipal bond election could invalidate an issue, no municipal bond would be sold until a year from the time of that election when the ballots might legally be destroyed. Smith believed the whole thing rather confusing because of all the factors now entering the picture, which had nothing to do with the project's merits. "Never has the truth of the statement that 'politics makes strange bedfellows' been more evident," wrote Smith. [50]

Unfortunately, Smith thought, "all the propaganda" did little good for the project. The association's executive committee members adopted the policy of avoiding controversy by issuing no public comments or written statements. Smith would wait until "tempers once again become more normal." [51] Bon Geaslin did not believe these disclosures could affect the pending court case, since the record had just been printed, thereby denying the plaintiffs a chance to properly bring the news of the investigations to the court's attention. [52]

National Park Service administrative duties, permissible under the court injunction, continued despite the election fraud disclosures. The Park Service approved contracts for the abstracts of title on the memorial area in November, which then needed only Secretary Ickes' signature. Some confusion surfaced over whether the Park Service should obtain the titles or wait until after the court decision. John Nagle's office in St. Louis favored obtaining the titles immediately, and Luther Ely Smith also believed the Park Service should proceed. Nevertheless Nagle had to wait for clearance from higher authority before proceeding. Approaching Congress for a legislative appropriation still remained out of the question, as the political situation there stood unchanged. Association members could attempt to secure congressional funds only if the court of appeals dismissed the case, thereby not ruling on the validity of the various acts of Congress involved. [53] January 5, 1937, became the day set for argument in Balter et al., v. Ickes et al. Bon Geaslin filed a brief on December 29 supporting the Government's position that acts authorizing the memorial construction appeared constitutional. [54]

In December Luther Ely Smith tackled yet another problem, one affecting the association's funding. A few months before, the Bureau of Internal Revenue had disallowed a contribution made by a taxpayer to the association. Smith wrote the department presenting reasons why he thought contributions to the association should be deductible as contributions for an educational purpose. He urged that the Bureau reconsider the question and rule the contributions deductible. This unresolved problem was to plague Smith for years, causing him constant worry about finances. [55]

In late November and early December opposition leader Paul Peters wrote Smith, appealing to him to make a frank statement about why he proceeded with preserving riverfront historic sites in substitution for the "improved National Park or Plaza" originally described by the association in 1935. Peters asked Smith and his supporters why they allowed their names to be used in the promotion of the memorial, "based as it is upon fraud, corruption, and misrepresentation." [56] Peters questioned the project's legality, the bond issue's validity, Cochran's statement that no money would be sought for the project, and the role of the United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission. He taunted Smith by saying, "Where do these public minded citizens who formed your association now stand when the mask has been torn aside and the fraud and corruption connected with the election made public? Do they intend to hid [sic] behind a mask of silence and indifference[?] [57]

Luther Ely Smith decided to ignore the letters. Association member William D'Arcy agreed with him. He believed that Peters probably was trying to provoke a newspaper controversy, since he had not succeeded in disrupting events in Washington, D.C.. Peters and his Citizens Non-Partisan Committee responded by sponsoring a public protest meeting offering Smith or any association member a place on the program. Smith ignored the invitation. [58]

While Luther Ely Smith handled his own problems, John Nagle tried to overcome others that disrupted the memorial's development. Some success finally came when Secretary Harold Ickes signed the first contract for the abstracts of title in December. Simultaneously, the Department of the Treasury ruled that they would not make payments in so-called "borderline cases." Until the injunction suit was settled, contracts for Jefferson National Expansion Memorial would be considered borderline. John Nagle promptly wrote Park Service officials, urging that they seek a Department of Justice ruling in the matter. Having written authority from the Justice Department would enable the Treasury Department to continue making payments on the title contracts. Luther Ely Smith also urged Bon Geaslin to try to obtain this important written authorization. [59]

Interpretation and Architecture

Despite the incessant delays and never-ending problems, John Nagle and his National Park Service co-workers kept up the necessary preliminary work for establishing the memorial. Starting in 1936, and continuing for the next four years, historical and planning studies developed along with the land acquisition program. Park Service personnel developed proposals for two different museums during the fall of 1936. In September Carl Russell sent Acting National Park Service Director Arthur E. Demaray a prospectus and tentative exhibit plan for a Museum of the Fur Trade. The proposed scope of the museum's interpretive program covered the early fur trade of the American colonists, the Mississippi Valley trade, the Far Western trade, and the modern trade. Russell believed the proposed memorial also offered an opportunity to memorialize Thomas Jefferson's acquisition of Louisiana. Because the western fur trade was a direct outgrowth of Jefferson's expansionist actions, Russell stated that a comprehensive Museum of the Fur Trade would be "a proper establishment in Americanism in which the nation may honor the memory of the author of the Declaration of Independence." [60]

Charles E. Peterson, landscape architect for the National Park Service, proposed a Museum of American Architecture. He described his plans in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects in November, emphasizing that Thomas Jefferson was an "enthusiastic student of architecture." Proposed museum exhibits included entire buildings, parts of buildings (specimens of construction and ornament), architectural drawings, photographs of buildings, and craftsmen working materials "in the ancient traditions." [61] Peterson thought it possible to save structural and ornamental fragments from the more than four hundred buildings in the riverfront area slated for demolition. Cast iron facades on riverfront buildings particularly attracted Peterson's attention. Noting that the Park Service maintained as "historic" twenty-five buildings in the country, he believed that the proposed museum would preserve fragments of structures which might otherwise be lost due to lack of maintenance or mechanical obsolescence. In Peterson's view the builder's art was a graphic expression of political and social history; as he phrased it, "The nature of the American people and the chronology of their movements are permanently recorded in their structures." [62]

One building in particular possessed redemptive value. Built on a patch of ground deeded to St. Louis by one of its founders, Auguste Chouteau, the Old Courthouse stood empty in 1936 after use as a public meeting house and home for the courts for eighty-eight years. Its relationship to the memorial was unclear. John Nagle asked Russell Murphy, the Commission's executive secretary, to identify the building's position within the memorial scheme. Important both historically and architecturally, the courthouse possessed some "unusual" legal restrictions. According to the deed, the building could be used only as a courthouse. John Nagle could find no record of any commission decision to include the courthouse, or the land on which it stood, within the boundary of the memorial. Nagle understood the building held a place in the commission's plans, but he did not know whether the commission's members wanted the Federal Government to pay for the desperately needed repair and restoration work. The building stood in a conspicuously dilapidated condition. [63]

On behalf of the National Park Service, Charles Peterson desired that several suggestions be made to the commission for consideration. He believed the commission should thoroughly review all plans offered for riverfront development. Members should also consider the other current aspects of memorial planning: the two museum plans, the estimates and recommendations for the Old Courthouse restoration, the enlargement of the memorial's boundaries to include the Old National-Scotts Hotel (to be restored and leased for operation as a hotel), zoning plans for structure height and use, parking, the park's landscape design, and the possibility of development on the East St. Louis riverfront across the Mississippi River. [64]

Daniel Cox Fahey, Jr., executive officer for the National Park Service, agreed with Charles Peterson that the commission should consider details of memorial planning. No one individual or group of individuals had taken a definite stand so far on the area's design and use. All responsibility passed to the Park Service, which Fahey thought proper since the Park Service was the executive agency entrusted with planning the memorial. The complete cooperation and backing of the Territorial Expansion Commission was necessary, because if a favorable decision came from the court of appeals, the National Park Service would have to make some definite, concrete recommendations. Fahey also wanted a policy statement from the commission concerning parking in the area. No determination had been made about whether parking should be available only for memorial visitors, or if plans should provide for general downtown parking. [65]

Late in 1936 the National Park Service asked Thomas E. Tallmadge, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a national collaborator for the Historic American Buildings Survey, to study the memorial site. The Park Service wanted his opinion of the architectural value of certain buildings in the memorial area, along with his thoughts on the form of the memorial itself, especially in regard to the Museum of American Architecture proposal. John Nagle, Charles Peterson, and John Bryan (a National Park Service historic architect) held many conferences with Tallmadge, who visited the area three times, looked at almost every building, took photographs, and obtained statistical information. Several buildings in the area seemed "unusually interesting" [66] to Tallmadge. He praised the Museum of American Architecture proposal and believed the Old Courthouse should be included in the memorial's "great architectural scheme." He considered the building a very fine example of the Greek Revival style, though he believed the 1854 dome, which had been a lower Roman style, a much finer piece of design than the 1862 Renaissance revival cast iron dome. Despite this, he adamantly believed the Old Courthouse should be restored and made an important part of the memorial. [67] Tallmadge's opinion concerning the architectural, historical and aesthetic value of the buildings in the memorial area bears repeating here:

In general, I do not believe that the destruction of all of the buildings in the area, (provided certain details can be saved) with the exception of the old cathedral on Walnut Street, will result in serious loss to the city or the country as a whole; first, because while many of them are of considerable interest on account of age and architectural treatment, none is outstanding in this respect, second, because the area is apparently a blighted one, business having moved up town and there is no indication that any other activity except the memorial proposes to take its place. Without a possible return of business, the buildings are doomed to decay. With a return of business, they are doomed to destruction, and only the land would have value. There would be a conceivable value to future generations, in a social and architectural sense, if the area were preserved as an example of a business district of the second half of the 19th century — but the realization of such a scheme would be practically impossible, even if advisable, which in my opinion, it is not. [68]

Tallmadge's report proved significant in the sense that National Park Service officials followed proposals along this line when determining which buildings possessed enough historical and architectural value to be spared demolition. The Park Service later razed all the buildings in the thirty-seven city block memorial area, with just two exceptions: the Old Cathedral and Manuel Lisa's Warehouse (the Old Rock House). In 1936 the Federal Government could not justify saving more of the buildings. As Tallmadge stated, many buildings possessed architectural and historic value, yet, in his opinion, none were outstanding. In retrospect, St. Louis suffered a major loss of its heritage. Depression economics played a major role in this decision, for no monetary justification existed for saving decaying warehouses in an area plagued by depression. Maintaining restored buildings seemed economically prohibitive in 1936.

Thomas Jefferson's memorial remained in jeopardy two years after its conception and one year after its authorization. Legally, judges in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals held its fate in their hands. Morally, its reputation depended upon the outcome of the bond issue election investigations. Progress occurred only in the field of administrative planning as Park Service personnel proposed different programs to immortalize Thomas Jefferson and his western dreams. Still, enthusiasm for the project ran high in the Park Service and among Commission and association members, with the coming year promising more progress and even more problems. Uncertainty became a major factor in the minds of Bernard Dickmann, Luther Ely Smith, John Nagle, and others working for the memorial. Plans hung in the balance awaiting so many decisions from outside sources. It is a testament to the faith of men like Dickmann and Smith that they continued to hold on to their dream.

Part of this dream involved making the Old Courthouse a part of the memorial. Since the building stood on city property, condemnation seemed unnecessary to Luther Ely Smith, who recommended that the association advocate a supplemental resolution seeking an inclusion of the building within the memorial. Smith stressed that the president's Executive Order of December 21, 1935, mentioned the courthouse as one of the historic spots in the area. For this reason Smith believed Roosevelt intended the building to be part of the memorial. [69]

During the year since the memorial's authorization many people proposed development ideas in addition to adding the courthouse. No architectural contest had been held as yet, so no one plan was touted above the others. John Nagle's office received plans that included museum ideas in addition to the two proposals already offered by Peterson and Russell. These included ideas for a natural history museum, a museum of science and progress, a planetarium, and an aquarium. [70] These proposals began to receive publicity, as St. Louisans began to take an interest in plans for their riverfront. In years to come additional ideas developed for airplane landing strips, a Mark Twain Memorial, low rent housing, a naval memorial, and a baseball stadium. The interest generated by such proposals aided the memorial in the sense that publicity and awareness helped keep the project alive. Detrimentally, these proposals tended to make the memorial limited in scope, giving the project purely local dimensions. Dickmann, Smith, and the association walked the fine line for years between generating interest and keeping a semblance of control over the memorial's development and form.

Association work could be carried on only if the group secured funds. Its financing fell into trouble in 1937 when the Bureau of Internal Revenue ruled contributions to the association were not tax deductible. Because the association was a non-profit corporation without capital stock, dividends, or resources other than contributions, Smith could not understand why the Bureau ruled contributions not deductible. Smith asked the Bureau to reconsider the entire matter. After examining additional data concerning the association's purpose and activities, the Bureau ruled that the association was entitled to exemption under the provisions of certain sections of the Revenue Acts of 1934 and 1936. Individual contributions to or for the use of the United States for exclusively public purposes were deductible under section 23 (o). [71]

Smith rejoiced in the decision, until he caught its implication. Contributions by individuals were deductible, but nothing covered corporate contributions. Bon Geaslin checked on this and was told corporate contributions were deductible, but checked again upon Smith's insistence. He discovered the error the second time. Section 23 (o) covered only individual contributions made to or for the use of the United States. This caused a serious problem, as more than two-thirds of association subscriptions came from corporate contributions. After the Bureau ruled the first time that contributions were deductible for both corporations and individuals, association officers sent letters to all their contributors, informing them. Then they found the ruling did not apply to corporations, even though they inquired before they sent the letters. Smith was embarrassed. Corporate contributions were not deductible if made to the United States. They were deductible only if made to or for the use of a domestic corporation, organized exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes. Smith believed the Bureau's ruling to be too narrow. It was true that the contributions were given to the United States, but it was also true that they were made for educational purposes. [72]

This question of tax deductibility affected the memorial's development in several different ways. Association funds paid for all travel expenses of the United States Territorial Expansion Commission members, association lawyer Bon Geaslin's salary, and public relations work. The association later sponsored the 1947 architectural competition and paid expenses stemming from early 1950s congressional committee authorization hearings. The association's work remained vital throughout the years, making funding problems crucial.

Just as Smith took the deductibility problem seriously, National Park Service officials did not take lightly the alleged charges of election irregularities in St. Louis. When Secretary Ickes requested information on the project's status, Director Cammerer told him of newspaper clippings charging fraud. Mayor Dickmann denied all charges and City Counselor Edgar Wayman stated that the bond issue could not be invalidated even if fraud existed, as there was no statutory provision made for contesting elections. As for the rumors that city officials were making improper profits on the area's real estate, Cammerer believed them untrue. No basis existed for such allegations because the Park Service had not acquired any land as yet. No land acquisition commitments could be made until the court acted. [73]

Court Decision

The long awaited court of appeals decision in Baiter et al. v. Ickes et al. came on March 8, 1937. Associate Justice Josiah A. Van Orsdel's written opinion served as the court's decision. The case had been a special appeal from the District Court of the United States on the District of Columbia's order denying an application for an injunction. The court of appeals affirmed this decree. The defendants had urged that the city of St. Louis was an indispensable party to the suit, and this objection proved fatal to the appellant's action. Van Orsdel examined the exact relationship between the United States and the city of St. Louis in connection with the memorial, for if the city was an indispensable party the case could be dismissed. After looking at the orders, enactments, and ordinances establishing the memorial, Van Orsdel believed that the Federal Government could establish the memorial provided the city donated one fourth of the cost. [74] He then developed an argument that the memorial backers seized and used as a weapon for the next twenty years whenever they ran into Government resistance:

We think that the action of the City of St. Louis in raising its portion of the money and paying it into the Treasury constituted an acceptance of the offer of the United States and resulted in a contract. So far as the City is concerned, the contract has been executed. All that remains to be done is for the United States to carry out its part of the agreement by constructing the proposed memorial. This is not a case where the United States was proposing to build this memorial regardless of the assistance of the City, and the City gratuitously contributed one-fourth of the total cost .... We think this creates a situation where the City of St. Louis is unquestionably an indispensable party. [75]

Van Orsdel considered both parties essential for the project's completion; neither one could proceed without the other. A decree in this case definitely affected the interests of St. Louis. The court believed that being a party to the contract, the city should be heard. The appeals court thus reversed the lower district court's injunction decree because of the plaintiff's failure to bring the city of St. Louis, being substantially interested in the result, into the controversy. [76]

The plaintiffs could now file a petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. [77] This eventually was done, but only after days of delay which served to aid the memorial's detractors. Both the Justice Department and the Interior Department held up all development and condemnation plans for the memorial while awaiting word from the Supreme Court, but this policy was not adopted until some time had passed after the court of appeals ruling. Until this course of action became apparent, John Nagle and other National Park Service officials believed they could commence with condemnation.

Confident that plans would move forward after the court ruling, John Nagle waited for positive written instructions to filter down from the Justice Department to the secretary of the interior. Justice officials gave oral assurances to go ahead, but Park Service officials would not proceed without specific written instructions. [78] On March 17 Director Arno Cammerer again wrote Secretary Ickes about the project's status. The funds would be available for land acquisition only when the Treasury Department received formal clearance from the Department of Justice for the removal of the stop order issued by the Treasury Department against them. Cammerer believed the stop order would be removed within the week. Two days before, on March 15, Department of Justice officials informally advised the Park Service that they saw no reason to further withhold the institution of condemnation proceedings. In Cammerer's mind, the most feasible way of proceeding with the land acquisition program was to institute blanket condemnation proceedings. He anticipated that most of the condemnation suits would be of a friendly nature. [79]

By March 29 John Nagle had received no orders to proceed, even though he believed that the March 8 court of appeals ruling removed the only legal obstacle. The treasury secretary had just sent a letter to the attorney general asking his opinion regarding the project's legal status subsequent to the March 8 ruling. This led Nagle to believe that the Department of Justice would soon advise the Treasury Department to go ahead and spend the funds. Until this happened, the Department of the Interior was informed that no activity could be started. [80]

Another worry presented itself to the project's backers. Federal law stated that allocated relief funds had to be obligated within one year or else lapse back into the treasury, rendering them unavailable for use. Luther Ely Smith understood this, as did National Park Service officials. Even though the project was estimated at $30,000,000, only $9,000,000, or enough for one year's work, was available for use. Smith wanted proof that the funds were obligated. John Nagle told Smith of the Justice Department's opinion that the President's executive order covered the funds, and as a result obligated the money. Smith wondered if the treasury secretary's legal staff concurred with this view, while Nagle's impression was that they did. [81] Smith still did not feel secure about the fund's status. He wrote Geaslin that he "would feel more comfortable if I knew that you had seen or had a copy of the ruling by the Treasury Department that the funds are obligated by the order of December 21, 1935 and that there is no danger of the funds reverting back to the General Treasury." [82]

In an attempt to break the impasse on condemnation proceedings, newly reelected Mayor Bernard Dickmann and the city's counselor Edgar Wayman traveled to Washington for a discussion with various Federal officials. Wayman failed to accelerate filing of the condemnation suits, but he nevertheless concentrated on obtaining the comptroller general's ruling on the status of Federal funds. By this time association members discovered the reason the condemnation was stalled, even though they could do nothing to get the program started. Because the case was not yet disposed of in the courts, the solicitor general issued a stay of mandate to keep the injunction in force until the petition for certiorari could be filed. [83] The plaintiffs secured a continuance of the stay of mandate until May 6, and Edgar Wayman believed their petition would be filed on the last day. [84]

As May 6 approached, memorial backers were anxious to learn if any more applications for a further stay of mandate appeared. St. Louis property holders favorable to the project did not want the court to grant any further stays because every delay meant more monetary losses through lack of rents and property decay. One more delay was granted; a delay of one day of mandate until the petition for certiorari could be filed on May 7. [85]

Immediately after the court of appeals decided Balter et al. v. Ickes et al. in March, Luther Ely Smith correctly predicted that the Supreme Court would not review the case. Before adjournment on June 1, 1937, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari, terminating both the case and the injunction in effect since August 17, 1936. [86] On June 3 the Federal Government finally filed the first condemnation suits. The months of waiting were over.

Other problems remained. Luther Ely Smith's deductibility problem took a turn for the worse when the Bureau of Internal Revenue ruled on May 4 that corporate contributions were not deductible. Section 23 (q) of the Revenue Act of 1936 did not cover contributions made to or for the use of the United States for exclusively public purposes. The only alternative left for Smith and Bon Geaslin was to convince the bureau that the association was organized and operated exclusively for educational purposes. Smith became frantic. "We just HAVE to get that ruling reversed. I shall have to leave town and probably the entire country if we don't." [87]

Problems caused by the memorial's most vocal opponent, Paul Peters, gained new intensity during the summer of 1937. Representative William Lambertson of Kansas, taking up Peters' cause, stood on the United States House of Representatives floor, declaring that "The St. Louis proposition smells. It stinks. Sixteen wards where the election was carried to match this one dollar to the Government's three have been proven to be fraudulent.... The mayor of the city used to be head of the real-estate dealers. It is a real estate proposition." [88] Lambertson went on to attack Missouri Congressman John Cochran. He claimed that during the debate on June 8, 1934, Cochran stated twelve times that the Federal Government would never spend a dollar on the memorial. Cochran responded by reminding the House that the resolution then under consideration had created the commission, not authorized the project or appropriated any money. He reminded Lambertson that the original bill asking for $30,000,000 had been withdrawn, but Lambertson retorted, "It was withdrawn because they knew it would be defeated and it gives us an inkling of St. Louis and the thing that has come about." [89] Cochran insisted that he had held true to his promise, made two years earlier, not to ask for any money for the project. Again he asserted he would never be in favor of spending so much money for a memorial on the St. Louis riverfront or anywhere else in the country. As for the people of St. Louis, he was confident that they knew his views on a memorial costing that much money. [90] Luther Ely Smith admitted his dismay over the whole episode, believing that Cochran had never understood the project's full significance. [91]

Less than three weeks later Lambertson again blasted the project. He pictured the President of the United States as misguided by the influence of "purported friends" in St. Louis, and "hornswoggled" into allocating the funds. Lambertson, as a member of a Department of the Interior subcommittee, promised he would be there to meet the National Park Service when they came to Congress for funds for this project. "Think of the National Park Service leaving the lofty grandeur of the Yellowstone to dip into this cesspool of St. Louis." [92] Congressman Lambertson made many charges. He told of the election fraud, charged that association members had monetary interests in the memorial's success, stated that the United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission tried to obligate the Federal Government to spend money even though it possessed no power to do so, and believed the Departments of Justice and the Interior ignored the charges of fraud in connection with the memorial. In conclusion, Lambertson hoped Congress would begin a full and complete investigation into the memorial and its use of Federal funds. [93]

Paul Peters made even more charges in a letter to commission member William Allen White on June 4. After the 1935 election, the bonds were sold under "suspicious circumstances," Peters asserted, as they were sold only after giving the purchasers a "bonus or bribe" of $36,000 to take $1,800,000 of the bonds, and after taking $425,000 out of the sinking fund of the city's water department. He also charged that of the eight historic sites named in Roosevelt's Executive Order of December 21, 1935, only two existed and could be improved. Peters stated that White's good name could only be "besmirched" by being associated with the memorial project. [94]

Luther Ely Smith answered Peters' charges by assuring William Allen White that every step taken by the memorial backers was done legally. All eleven court decisions (counting appeals) upheld the project's legality; estimates and plans had been checked by the best engineering, construction, and architectural talents; and the historical sites within the area were authentic. Smith admitted some irregularities existed in the bond election, but he considered the election to be freer from fraud than most elections. The ballot boxes had not been opened, but Smith believed their full disclosure would help his movement. The project was not a real estate unloading deal, for all the memorial property would be acquired under Federal condemnation proceedings. Smith also offered a full explanation of the bond sale. The block of bonds valued at $450,000, purchased by the sinking fund of the St. Louis Water Department, was done as an investment upon the unanimous vote of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. There existed no mystery concerning the "bonus" or "bribe" of $36,000. Smith went on to explain the "most suspicious circumstances":

Our State Constitution prohibits the sale of bonds below par. However, in order to expedite the transfer of the City's $2,250,000 to Washington, it had been arranged that the bonds should be printed, and, in view of the money rates then prevailing, that they should carry a 2-1/2% coupon. Thereafter, the municipal bond market eased off, so that by the time the bonds were offered for sale, 2-1/2% bonds could not be sold at par. The bonds could have been sold at par or better if they had carried a higher rate than 2%, as for example a 3% rate, but this would have meant a reprinting of the bonds, or of the coupons, involving a still further delay. Therefore, buyers were asked to submit a bid for the 2-1/2% bonds at their best price. This turned out to be 98. Therefore, with a bid of 98 for bonds that had to be sold at par, there was a two point difference to be met. This two point difference aggregating $36,000 (or two points on $1,800,000) was made up partly by funds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association and partly by advances made by public-spirited leaders of the community. [95]

Smith and other memorial backers had no fear of being "besmirched" by their connection with the project. On the contrary, Smith considered it a high honor. He and Bon Geaslin decided not to reply publicly to Lambertson's speeches, thinking that any attempt to make a reply might attract unfavorable attention. [96]

A month later, in August 1937, Representative Lambertson introduced a resolution calling for an investigation of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial project. The House took no action on it. John Cochran informed Mayor Dickmann that Lambertson put everything into the Congressional Record that Peters gave him. Had Cochran been on the floor when Lambertson introduced his resolution, he would have told Lambertson that the resolution was an insult to the six members of Congress (including Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley) belonging to the United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission. [97]

All of the charges lodged against the memorial evoked different responses from the various interested supporters. Luther Ely Smith bore the brunt of answering the charges, no matter where they originated. He answered Lambertson's and Peters' assertions whenever possible by letter, and by letter only. He never publicly answered either man, to avoid unfavorable publicity. Regarding the election fraud, Smith knew irregularities had occurred and admitted as much. Regardless of this fact, he did not believe the election should be invalidated; and legally this was impossible. Therefore, progress should continue on the project. The Missouri Supreme Court had not ruled as yet whether the election ballots should be opened; Peters could shout "fraud" all he wanted until the final decision came from the court.

Peters and Lambertson were successful in making their views known throughout Congress, but they did not succeed in halting the project. True, the National Park Service knew not to attempt to acquire funds for the project, but this situation was due to the national economic atmosphere rather than Lambertson's influence. Several times within the next few years, the memorial's opponents introduced resolutions and amendments to cut off funds and kill the project. They never succeeded. Association members waited, sometimes not too patiently, until the time was right to obtain authorization and allocation.

In St. Louis, National Park Service officials kept at their administrative duties. They expressed concern about the accusations, communicated with their superiors about the alleged fraud, but continued the planning process for the memorial. Staff members reevaluated the reasons behind the memorial's creation, verified the site's significance, and justified in their own minds their right to be on the St. Louis riverfront. They believed Mayor Dickmann innocent of any wrongdoing, put their faith in Edgar Wayman's pronouncement that the bonds could not be invalidated, and had operational plans ready whenever the court cases were decided in the Government's favor. The opposition caused worrisome problems, but it also served to unite the association, the city and the Park Service in their individual desires to overcome all obstacles legally and completely.

It took more than twenty years to overcome the obstacles created by the existence of the railroad tracks running on the eastern boundary of the memorial. Negotiations took place principally between the Terminal Railroad Association (TRRA) of St. Louis and the city, with the National Park Service and the association being very interested spectators. Removal of the elevated railroad tracks always remained their goal. First mentioned as a desirable action in John Nagle's recommendations for the memorial, relocating the tracks became a highly emotional, controversial, and time-consuming task. Although the tracks stood outside Federal Government property, Secretary Ickes ruled that no money would be advanced toward building the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial until they were removed.

Altogether there were three surface and two elevated tracks along the riverfront on the east side of the memorial, between Poplar Street and Washington Avenue. The city owned one of the surface tracks that the TRRA leased. The Missouri Pacific Railroad owned the other two surface tracks. Both the elevated tracks, which stood on city property, were owned by the St. Louis Merchant Bridge Terminal Railway company, and were leased and operated by the TRRA. [98]

National Park Service officials hired Frank C. Wright in March 1937 to serve as a negotiator between the railroads and the various memorial interests. Wright could begin work as soon as the court dismissed the injunction and he received clearance from Washington. When the Department of Justice refused to approve development until after certiorari was filed and decided, John Nagle thought it prudent not to start the negotiations. He urged Wright, however, to meet with railroad officials privately in his capacity as consultant for the Department of the Interior. [99]

After the United States Supreme Court decision of June 2 denying certiorari, John Nagle proceeded with the track removal negotiations. He carried on a confidential correspondence with the president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company while meeting with the president of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company upon the suggestion of Frederic A. Delano of the National Resources Committee. Both these railroads used the TRRA tracks and Nagle met with them to acquaint them with the Department of the Interior's policy regarding the tracks. [100] Superintendent Nagle also met with Missouri Pacific Railroad Company officials over a boundary dispute. When railroad officials examined the first condemnation petitions on several city blocks filed in Federal court, they discovered that part of the condemned land included Poplar Street between Third and Wharf Streets. Important tracks were situated on Poplar Street that caused the officials some concern. They did not want the Federal Government's condemnation to extend south beyond Poplar Street's northern boundary. After checking with his superiors, Nagle assured the railroad officials that the Park Service held no plans to interfere with their tracks. [101]

Now that initial contacts had been made for moving the tracks, memorial backers could deal with yet another lawsuit filed against their project. The same group of opponents who filed Balter et al. v. Ickes et al. attempted to obtain another temporary injunction in June when they filed Balter et al. v. Nagle et al. Luther Ely Smith felt confident that City Counselor Edgar Wayman and United States Attorney Harry Blanton could handle the case with no complications. William D'Arcy stopped by the court, and could immediately see by Wayman's face and Blanton's smile that they were confident of victory. D'Arcy described the opposition as attempting to "scratch a pyramid with a tooth brush." [102] Their optimism was founded in fact. On July 12, 1937, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri denied the application, ruling the defendant's action of acquiring land to be constitutional. [103]

Advisory Board

Armed with this fresh court victory, National Park Service officials continued planning for the ultimate memorial. Part of the Historic Sites Act of 1935 established the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments. Composed of not more than eleven representatives competent in history, archeology, architecture, and geography, the board was appointed by the secretary of the interior. Members were paid travel expenses, but received no salary. The board advised the secretary on any matters relating to national parks or to the administration of the Historic Sites Act. It recommended policies to the secretary pertaining to the restoration, reconstruction, conservation, and administration of historic sites. [104] In mid-June, John Nagle asked Director Arno Cammerer to request an advisory board inspection of the memorial site to receive the benefit of their opinion on planning. [105]

Nagle's staff prepared lists of specific questions for the Advisory Board concerning the preservation and restoration of the Old Customs House, the Old Courthouse, the Old Rock House, the Old Cathedral, and the National-Scotts Hotel. Should the elevated railroad come down? Should the Museum of American Architecture appear within the memorial? Should the memorial encourage East St. Louis, Illinois, to improve the east bank of the river? Association members had contributed few additional development ideas, but Charles Peterson was concerned about any particular plan receiving approval without the local community's understanding and consent. [106] National Park Service officials still entertained doubts concerning the relationship between the United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission and themselves. Roosevelt's executive order did not mention the commission or allocate funds to it; however, Director Arno Cammerer believed it desirable to develop memorial plans acceptable to the commission. [107] In June 1937 Secretary Ickes formally asked National Advisory Board members to visit St. Louis to make recommendations for Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. John Nagle immediately contacted Dr. Hermon C. Bumpus of Duxbury, Massachusetts, chairman of the board, to advise him of present progress. Dr. Bumpus and two other members of the board, Dr. Herbert Bolton and Archibald McCrea, formed a subcommittee to make preliminary investigations and a report for the full board. [108]

Within the National Park Service itself, the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings prepared recommendations for the memorial. Historian Thomas M. Pitkin drew up preliminary estimates of historical research needed for the site. Research on the various historical sites, according to Pitkin, was to include collecting drawings, plans, and photographs. Questions of restoration, reconstruction, preservation, and maintenance of individual structures possessing historical interest would receive attention. Pitkin believed that a general historical and educational program relating the area to westward expansion and to other sites under the historic sites program should be developed. The Park Service's Museum Division should collaborate with the development of any historical museums. Pitkin stressed that this work should begin before demolition of the site, or else the bulldozers might destroy historical and archeological information. A record of the area's history would form a principal basis for commemorative work in the area. Pitkin used the George Rogers Clark Memorial in Indiana and George Washington's Birthplace in Virginia as examples of sites compromised by inadequate treatment, and desired that no such oversight should happen in creating Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Believing the Louisiana Purchase the most important single event memorialized at the site, Pitkin urged its historical treatment to be "painstaking" and "thorough." [109]

Stuart Cuthbertson, a field curator for the National Park Service, realized that a good deal of time would pass before any museums would be built on the memorial site. With available funds going for acquisition and clearing of the site, additional provisions were needed for constructing the memorial's buildings. Nothing existed on the site itself to attract visitors, let alone present them with its historical significance. Cuthbertson thought it desirable to plan some feature to give visitors an introduction to the memorial's importance. One method already suggested would be to install a temporary historical museum in one of the historic buildings standing on the site. This museum could form the nucleus for any "ultimate museum development" in the area, while existing as a step toward the memorial's permanent development. [110]

Pitkin and Cuthbertson's observations proved to be the basis for commemorative work in the area. Park Service employees made detailed drawings and took photographs of each building destined to be razed; they answered the questions of restoration, reconstruction, preservation, and maintenance for individual structures (even though their reasons supporting the necessity of razing most of the buildings did not satisfy some St. Louisans); they created historical and educational displays; and they established a general historical educational program relating to westward expansion. In 1943 the Old Courthouse opened to visitors. Within its walls stood a "temporary" museum that served to attract visitors for several decades. The oft-described "ultimate museum development" would not open for public viewing until 1976.

Despite the progress being made by Park Service planners, other problems plagued Federal Government officials. Secretary of the Interior Ickes wanted to know if the obligation of the contributed funds for the project would prevent them from lapsing into the Treasury. In July, Ickes requested a ruling on the matter from the comptroller general. He specifically wanted a decision on the city's funds; after they merged with Federal funds, could the Department of the Interior use the money to pay expenses incurred in the memorial's development? Could the Federal funds obligated for land acquisition purposes support legal and administrative expenses as well as development plans? [111]

Acting Comptroller General R.N. Elliott's reply came in August. He believed that while the action of the city in contributing the money and its acceptance by the Federal Government constituted a contract, it did not serve as an obligation of the allocation to make it available after June 30, 1937, for any other purposes than land acquisition. The institution of condemnation proceedings obligated the funds for paying condemnation awards, but this obligation did not include paying administrative expenses incurred after June 30. The city's money, however, remained exempt from the fiscal year limitations imposed on the Federal allotment, so the local funds could be used for administrative expenses after June 30. The unexpended balance of the allocated funds proved available only for two items: land obtained in the condemnation proceedings and any other obligations legally incurred prior to July 1. [112]

While Ickes received this ruling on the fund's status, his advisory board subcommittee made their report on the memorial site. Dr. Bumpus, Dr. Bolton, and Mr. McCrea arrived in St. Louis on September 1 to compile their statistics. A day later they reported their findings to National Park Service Director Arno Cammerer, recommending that the Park Service acquire the area to memorialize western expansion. The National Park Service should continue as the executive and administrative agency in the planning and operation of the project, which the board members considered to be of "very unusual memorial value." This subcommittee wanted the full advisory board to be convened soon to consider the project. [113]

Meanwhile, the city of St. Louis formally offered the title to the Old Courthouse to the Federal Government on July 1, 1937, by city ordinance, but a month passed with no response from Washington. Bon Geaslin talked three times during the month with both the Department of Justice and the National Park Service about accepting the building's deed. Interior officials told him that they submitted the question of the secretary's authority in the matter to the Department of Justice for its opinion. If the secretary could legally accept the deed, a policy question could arise whether the deed should be accepted before acquisition of the grounds. [114] On August 25 John Nagle provided Director Arno Cammerer with detailed information about the building, its history and importance. He insisted that the building seemed an appropriate part of the project under the terms of the executive order and the Historic Sites Act. The building stood in an advanced state of disrepair, with a leaking roof and faulty electrical wiring being its worst problems. Nagle predicted that the building would soon either collapse or disintegrate in a fire. [115]

In September Bon Geaslin talked with Interior Department lawyers. He discovered that officials did not want to accept the building's deed from the city of St. Louis until there had been a ruling on the legality of the procedure. Officials wanted to await the outcome of the condemnation proceedings before acquiring title to any property. Even the Old Courthouse's status as a gift did not influence Washington's decision. [116]

In November John Nagle again urged Director Cammerer to accept the building. He realized the legal difficulties involved if the Government accepted property before settlement of constitutional questions, but he still considered the addition worthwhile. Thomas Pitkin, Charles Peterson, and Daniel Cox Fahey, Jr. provided Director Cammerer with many justifications for taking the Old Courthouse. It represented an integral part of the memorial, it cost the Government nothing to acquire the building, a rapid state of deterioration existed in the structure, the Park Service could devote more time to its restoration at the present time than later when memorial development started, architectural research on the building had progressed for a year and a half, restoration would employ enough labor to help solve the local unemployment problem, and the mayor had approved the transfer. In addition, acceptance would show the local community that the Park Service intended to proceed with the memorial. [117] Nevertheless, the Federal Government failed to acquire the Old Courthouse for several more years.

Land Acquisition

Just as memorial backers expected the Old Courthouse's acquisition, they also expected the land acquisition program to be carried out expediently after the first condemnation suits were filed on June 3. Assistant Attorney General Harry Blair's intent to purchase land at the earliest possible moment had guided the Park Service through all the court proceedings. Toward the end of the summer, the memorial's supporters recognized a situation developing within the Justice Department which led to further delay in the demolition process. A radical change of policy occurred. Previously, the Park Service placed all land in park projects under condemnation proceedings under a policy that did not interfere with the private sale of property. In August 1937, however, the Park Service in the St. Louis project wanted a determination of each property's value. To obtain a "yardstick" measure the Park Service first proceeded with a typical block to establish a standard of value, then acquired the land by condemnation. [118]

Luther Ely Smith failed to understand the necessity of this step. He believed such caution on the part of the Park Service and the Department of Justice slowed the project. Since Smith felt that most property would sell for the assessed valuation or less, he did not see any need for a yardstick of valuation. Washington could save thousands of dollars by immediately purchasing the land. In Smith's estimation, the Federal Government could run into a jury in a condemnation case that possessed "lofty ideas of value" if they waited for a yardstick to be established. [119]

Such a land policy delayed consideration of acquiring the Old Courthouse, in addition to preventing development of the memorial site. Property owners in the riverfront area responded by writing Mayor Dickmann, informing him of the difficulties imposed by the Federal Government's lack of action. Owners could not attract tenants because they could have no guarantees on length of occupancy. With no income, some owners had trouble paying their taxes. Many believed that three or four years would pass before the condemnation proceedings reached the stage where the Government would acquire property. The entire district's uncertain status adversely affected business. [120] Dickmann promptly sent copies of the letters to John Nagle, who forwarded them to Director Cammerer.

The turn of events affected John Nagle's mission in St. Louis. When the Park Service office was first created, Nagle understood from Assistant Attorney General Harry Blair that the Department of the Interior would immediately proceed with the land purchase without waiting for the institution of condemnation proceedings. Nagle's office was established to handle land purchases and demolition operations. When the Government actually acquired property, Nagle was to prepare construction plans and then all operations would have followed in an orderly manner. Now Washington intended to obtain real estate by condemnation rather than direct purchase. Such a policy shift prevented Park Service officials from obtaining any land, even after the St. Louis office had functioned for a year. [121]

It appeared to John Nagle that he could not acquire any real estate for at least several more months. If so, he proposed to reduce personnel in his St. Louis office. He asked Secretary Ickes to reconsider the new policy in light of its impact on his operation. Pure legal reasons determined the Department of Justice's desire to pursue condemnation instead of purchase; Justice officials sought a Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Historic Sites Act. They also wanted an indication of the area's probable cost under representative jury awards. Nagle stressed practical advantages available under the original policy. It would permit Washington to obtain a good portion of the land at or under assessed valuation, it soon would initiate demolition, it would start relief labor, and it would encourage favorable responses from business interests looking toward early land acquisition. If, however, the new policy were followed, Nagle recommended a departmental assessment of his personnel reorganization. [122]

Mayor Dickmann wanted to go to Washington to speak with Attorney General Homer Cummings about permitting direct purchases of the real estate. John Nagle spoke with him, informing him of the National Park Service's new policy. If the courts upheld the right of the United States to proceed by eminent domain, and if court awards were fair in the proceedings for the first block, then and only then would juries be sought and the acquisition program begun. The National Park Service was very reluctant to advise the Department of Justice on purely legal questions, and did not want Justice officials to think that the Service asked Dickmann to make the trip. Mayor Dickmann understood, but wanted to make the visit as the city's mayor, being vitally interested in seeing the work begin as soon as possible. [123]

On November 17 Mayor Dickmann held conferences in Washington with the attorney general and other Department of Justice representatives. The talks continued for three days, attended by St. Louis city officials such as Counselor Edgar Wayman and A.R. Ross of the Board of Public Service; National Park Service representatives John Nagle and Donald E. Lee; Assistant Attorney General Carl McFarland; United States District Attorney Harry Blanton; and a number of attorneys from the Lands Division of the Department of Justice. They considered the possibility of obtaining clearance from the Department of Justice for the immediate purchase of land, if it seemed possible that purchases could be made at reasonable prices. [124] Out of these discussions Assistant Attorney General Carl McFarland developed a twenty page memorandum which he sent to the attorney general, in which he presented many legal reasons why it would be unwise to start land purchases. [125]

Mayor Dickmann presented forceful arguments favoring the acquisition of property by purchase, without waiting for any of the condemnation cases to be heard. Nevertheless, Park Service officials believed the legal situation warranted proceeding with condemnation. Voluntary purchases would not result in the safest and most orderly method of procedure. The Park Service would play directly into the memorial opponents' hands if purchases were started, for the prosecution of injunction proceedings in St. Louis had been suspended only because the United States had not purchased land in the area. If authority to proceed were established in the pending condemnation suits, there would exist no basis for an injunction. Department of Justice officials felt they could then sustain the National Park Service's position in the condemnation proceedings. Arguments on the Government's right to proceed had already been made in court. National Park Service Associate Director Arthur Demaray concurred with Assistant Attorney General McFarland's memorandum against revising the land policy for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Everyone representing the United States at the conferences felt the same way. In view of the serious legal problems involved, the Department of the Interior did not change their policy of proceeding with condemnation. [126]

Terminal Railroad Association President Henry Miller was not pleased with the turn of events. Although his company owned seven city blocks in the condemned memorial area, TRRA officials had refused so far to join other property owners in opposition to the project. Superintendent Nagle had agreed to negotiate directly when authorized to purchase the property, but when Washington changed its policy the company went to court. Miller still maintained that his company wanted to avoid litigation while preferring amicable adjustment. [127]

Up to that time, the purchase of TRRA's holdings remained distinct from the removal of the elevated tracks. As of November 16 the elevated track problem had not even been formally broached to the TRRA. The assessed valuation of the TRRA's property was $240,000, but President Miller told John Nagle the book value stood at $1,200,000. Nagle thought the discrepancy was striking, and did not know why the company objected to condemnation proceedings. He did not know if Miller expected to get a larger price by direct negotiation with Government officials than he could by condemnation. Because of the great difference between the book and assessed values, Nagle was tempted to believe that the company might expect more for its holdings as a result of condemnation. [128]

Henry Miller had other problems to handle involving the elevated tracks. The St. Louis Merchants Bridge Terminal Railway Company held franchises for the elevated structure, first issued to them by the city in 1881. By 1937, the TRRA still held franchises revocable by the Board of Public Service on thirty days' notice. During the summer the franchise was due to expire, which prompted the city to take action. City officials ordered the TRRA to quit use of the elevated tracks by July 8. On July 13, the city issued a permit for a continuation, but raised the annual rent from $5,000 to $18,000. The TRRA kept operating on temporary permits throughout the year, but in November the city took even more drastic action against the company concerning construction of a new railroad bridge spanning the Mississippi River. The city filed a suit against the TRRA for $5,000,000 damages because of the TRRA's failure to carry out a 1930 contract for the construction of the new Municipal Bridge approaches. [129]

No development could take place on the memorial site until the tracks were removed. This fact was strongly stressed during a meeting of the full Advisory Board on Historic Sites on October 28 and 29 in Washington, D.C.. National Park Service Associate Director Arthur Demaray and Superintendent John Nagle presented plans for Jefferson National Expansion Memorial to the board. After offering information concerning legality, finances, site conditions, authorization, and real estate costs, Nagle proposed three historic buildings for preservation: the Old Courthouse, the St. Louis Cathedral, and the National-Scotts Hotel. He also explained the elevated railroad structure situation to the board, picturing the railroad's removal as an absolute condition of any future development. [130]

Prolonged discussion followed Nagle's presentation, and a board member noted the lengthy period of time which lapsed between the Executive Order of December 21, 1935, and the request for the Advisory Board's reaction to the project. The plan appeared to be a slum clearance project to some board members, who doubted the project's justification under the Historic Sites Act. Nevertheless, board members gave advice on how the Park Service should proceed to conform its actions to the intent of the Historic Sites Act. They believed St. Louis to be an appropriate site for a memorial to westward expansion, but thought the memorial's purpose should be redefined to stress this. Members agreed on the necessity of the track removal. Because there was no assurance that Congress would provide funds beyond the $9,000,000 previously allotted, board members recommended limiting plans to that sum. Such a restriction would have made a radical impact on the memorial's scope and character. [131]

The board adopted a resolution stating further courses of action. Members wanted the National Park Service staff to prepare and submit recommendations concerning the memorial's objective form and subjective functions. They wanted a postponement of land acquisition until they received a concrete definition of the memorial's ultimate purpose. The Advisory Board members then recommended allotting $100,000 to be used in preparing illustrative museum studies for the site. Chairman Bumpus formally told Secretary Ickes and Director Cammerer of the board's resolution late in November. John Nagle's reactions to the resolution were mixed, as the Advisory Board failed to consider what the Park Service wanted them to consider, namely the role of the United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission in the memorial's planning. Nagle did not believe the board intended the Park Service to proceed independently by their omission of the commission. He also objected to the label "slum clearance" by pointing out the scarcity of human inhabitants along the riverfront. Nagle complied, however, with the board's request for a definition of the memorial's form and function by supplying Cammerer with his own recommendations. [132]

Arthur Demaray thought it very important for all this to remain confidential. It would prove unfortunate if the board's opinion on land acquisition got into print. Nagle's reply was blunt. "Procrastination or an indecisive policy with regard to acquisition of the necessary lands will lead only to additional complications, difficulties and delay." [133] On December 16, Nagle and Demaray met with Dr. Hermon Bumpus concerning the Advisory Board's land acquisition statement. The Park Service's viewpoint on the matter was clarified for Dr. Bumpus, while John Nagle furnished additional information regarding the real estate policy. Bumpus consequently agreed with the Park Service representatives to disregard the real estate acquisition clause in the resolution in order to prevent needless reference to it in future correspondence. Cammerer asked Dr. Bumpus to put the understanding in writing. [134]

John Nagle started planning for museum development using the allotted $100,000. He thought the museum program should be carried out under the direction of a Museum Coordinating Committee, consisting of himself as chairman, with members including Acting Chief of the Museum Division Ned Burns, Executive Officer Daniel Cox Fahey, Jr., Senior Landscape Architect Charles Peterson, and Historian Thomas Pitkin. Nagle wanted all museum material to be prepared in St. Louis utilizing studies already completed. Museum Division personnel, then engaged in museum work in the Interior Building in Washington, D.C., would begin working in St. Louis after they finished the Interior project. On December 17 Director Cammerer asked Secretary Ickes to approve the Advisory Board's resolution, which he did on January 10, 1938. [135]

John Nagle worried about how the National Park Service would arrive at an underlying idea for the artistic or historic development of the memorial. Charles Peterson thought the Park Service to be better equipped than any other agency to formulate the basic points; a more detailed development could be obtained later by an architectural competition. Nagle agreed that the Park Service could do the best job, but he wanted expert viewpoints from outside the agency. Director Cammerer insisted upon a competition, but Associate Director Arthur Demaray wondered if such a competition could encompass both the underlying idea and the design to dramatize the idea. He thought that Dr. Bumpus and the Advisory Board should write the basic fundamental idea that would serve as the basis for a competition. [136] These ideas later formed the nucleus for the architectural competition held in 1947. Those competing in the two-stage competition followed guidelines established in a written program. A professional advisory board coming from outside the National Park Service provided expertise that assured a high quality competition.

Progress proved slow during 1937 because of Government caution. One by one the United States District Court, Eastern Division of Missouri, handled the suits filed after June 3, 1937. Judges Charles Davis, George Moore, and J. Caskie Collet condemned thirty-seven city blocks between 1937 and 1939, even though more legal challenges arose in the next few years. In 1937 the courts cleared two court cases seeking to stop the Government's acquisition plans, the Advisory Board delivered their professional advice on the memorial's development, and definite guidelines evolved out of Park Service planning sessions. Despite these steps forward, Government caution regarding land acquisition held up tangible progress. By deciding to condemn only one city block in order to determine value and obtain a court ruling on constitutionality, the Federal Government brought both uncertainty to the area's property owners and pressure upon city officials, particularly Mayor Dickmann. Luther Ely Smith in particular became upset over the decision. He believed the project's Washington friends, in their zeal to save the Government pennies, failed to realize they would cost the Government $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 more by condemning rather than purchasing land. [137] Smith's fears proved to be partly unjustified, for the Government managed to keep under the $9,000,000 limit as it acquired the land.

Park Planning

The slow condemnation process did not affect the National Park Service's planning processes. John Nagle's desire for a museum coordinating committee materialized when Charles Peterson, Thomas Pitkin, and Daniel Cox Fahey met in January 1938 to consider museum policy. Their objective was to prepare an exhibit plan to tell the story of national expansion. Studying the memorial's historic value, the group considered it imperative that the area be carefully studied so that no important historic fabric would be unwittingly destroyed. The staff members designated five classes of materials salvageable from the memorial site: entire existing buildings, moveable furniture and equipment within them, architectural ornament fragments, mechanical equipment, and buried antiquities. They recommended several buildings for preservation: the Old Cathedral, the Old Courthouse, the Old Rock House, the National-Scotts Hotel, and William Clark's Warehouse. In addition to these five buildings there existed in the area some four hundred buildings dating from the nineteenth century, which comprised a historic and architectural period collection. The Park Service staffers wanted the country's best curatorial advice for the work. [138]

Dr. Hermon Bumpus reviewed the recommendations coming from the Park Service meeting. Pending approval by the secretary of the interior, these recommendations, along with Bumpus's comments and John Nagle's ideas became the general development principles. John Nagle's input proved especially significant. "The major purpose to be served in the establishment of the general plan for this project is to commemorate the westward expansion of the United States with emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase." [139] Their relation to national events, not local determined the importance of the site and its buildings. Buildings or portions thereof were to be preserved only because their history related to westward expansion. In Nagle's view, only the Old Courthouse and Old Cathedral were important enough in western history to be preserved. Justification for including any other buildings depended upon proof of their importance, judged by that criteria. As far as grounds development was concerned, Nagle wanted a minimum of pavement with a maximum of open green space. [140]

Nagle placed emphasis upon the relationship between the site and the Mississippi River. Because the relationship was historically close, the area's development would be intimate and apparent. The development's architectural elements would symbolize St. Louis' role in westward expansion, that of a "Gateway to the West." Composition of these elements would center along the east-west axis of the Old Courthouse. Any structures built on the site should house exhibits memorializing and illustrating the conditions and events prior to the Louisiana Purchase, including the economic and historic factors of westward expansion. Finally, Nagle stressed that a nationwide professional competition seeking the country's best talent should be held to utilize architecture in interpreting the memorial's fundamental ideas. [141]

Dr. Bumpus favored the proposals, but several members of the Advisory Board did not. John Nagle suggested that Associate Director Arthur Demaray write Bumpus a letter that might help sway the board members. Nagle guessed the problem lay with the uncertainty over the alleged election fraud. He wanted Demaray to explain to Bumpus that the Park Service should not be held accountable for any events relating to the project occurring before the Service entered the work. The Park Service held an objective view of the problem and interested itself only in solving the problem. Nagle drafted a letter stating these ideas for Demaray to send to Bumpus. [142] Nagle's concerns were valid in the sense that disapproval from the Advisory Board could lead to a slowdown in development. He wanted to prevent this by making sure the board members knew the National Park Service had not been involved in any of the alleged fraud of 1935.

Demaray refused to send the letter. He felt that certain Advisory Board members were not so much opposed to the project as a historic site as they were to the sheer size of the land acquisition. They were questioning the elaborate development that might be made on the land. Demaray's advice to Nagle was to let Dr. Bumpus handle the board members in his own way. He feared only that the members would recommend reducing the site's size. [143]

In St. Louis, National Park Service staffers completed three landscape studies for the area in March. The principal architectural features of the studies included two museum buildings on the east-west Courthouse axis, the Old Cathedral, the Old Rock House, and a formal approach from the river composed of steps and terraces. Nagle wanted the principal composition to be a strong dominant architectural feature which would "hold down" the remote north and south ends of the area. Other features exerting influence on the final design included the stone levee next to the river, and the freight switching tracks at grade on top of the levee. [144]

All these ideas were only proposals in 1938, but they became the strongest influences upon the "ultimate" memorial project. Throughout the late 1930s, the association and the National Park Service kept their main goal foremost: a major memorial to Thomas Jefferson. They had $9,000,000 to spend, they had problems to solve and criticism to abate, but they did not lose sight of their ultimate goal. Much of their planning served as guidelines for the construction of both the Gateway Arch and for grounds development twenty years in the future.

Since uncertainty over the relationship between the United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission and the Department of the Interior still existed in March 1938, the secretary of the interior asked the United States Solicitor's Office to advise him if the commission had the authority for memorial planning. Did the Historic Sites Act and the Executive Order of December 21, 1935, require him to secure the commission's approval of memorial plans? Solicitor General Frederic Kirgus decided that if the secretary of the interior was working toward a common goal in establishing the memorial, the secretary may, under the authorization of the Historic Sites Act, plan and develop the memorial independent of the commission. In addition, the provisions of the 1934 joint resolution that established the commission did not limit the secretary. If, however, it were advisable to cooperate with the commission to establish the memorial, the secretary could do so. [145]

One common facet of the various memorial plans remained the acquisition and restoration of the Old Courthouse. St. Louis had offered the building's title in July 1937, and the Government had to come to some decision soon because the courthouse's rapid state of deterioration needed attention. Yet, Director Arno Cammerer and Secretary Harold Ickes considered a more fundamental question. Should the United States accept title to the Old Courthouse when the courts had not yet decided the constitutionality of land condemnation at the memorial? If the courts rejected the memorial project, the National Park Service would own only the Old Courthouse. Cammerer decided it would not be desirable to have the building alone as a historic site, so he recommended deferring acceptance of the title until the Department of Justice could accept memorial land titles. After Ickes concurred, the Park Service informed Mayor Dickmann, and asked if any city funds might be used to rehabilitate and preserve the Old Courthouse. [146]

City Counselor Edgar Wayman replied quickly. City funds could be used for rehabilitation only if matched three to one by Federal funds. Director Arno Cammerer disagreed totally with this view. Federal funds had use restrictions, but city funds existed to be used for purposes for which Federal funds were not available. Since Cammerer considered the project to be an indivisible whole, he saw no reason why an objection should be raised against using Federal funds to acquire land while using city funds to develop and preserve the additional property. This was provided, of course, that total expenditures kept the three to one ratio. Wayman's view would prevent the Park Service's preservation of the Old Courthouse. Cammerer believed that prior to July 1, 1937, Wayman's views were correct, but the expiration of the authority to use the 1935 Emergency Relief Appropriation Act funds past July 1, 1937, presented new considerations which Wayman overlooked. Because the differences between the two opinions were based purely on the fund's administrative handling, Cammerer did not consider them serious. [147]

Even though Secretary Ickes and Director Cammerer did not know if the Park Service should accept titles before the constitutional issues were settled, condemnation proceedings continued in the courts. Following administrative practices in handling condemnation awards, the United States attorney advised the attorney general of the award amounts. John Nagle held the acquisition authority, and furnished the attorney general his recommendations upon the awards. The real estate office established in St. Louis under Nagle gave careful consideration to the value of the lands sought by the Government. When the court's initial awards far exceeded the Service's appraisal, the Government filed exceptions. Some awards were the same as the Park Service appraisals, while others were near. Ickes thought it advantageous for the United States to accept these if the owners were agreeable, provided it was proper to acquire the lands before the disposal of the constitutional issues. [148]

By March 28, 1938, the Government had filed twenty-seven condemnation suits, leaving nine blocks and three fractions of blocks to be obtained. All three Federal court judges involved in the proceedings ruled favorably for the Government. An appeal was taken on one of the suits as a test case in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. This case, Barnidge v. United States of America, involved the constitutional questions raised by objectors. [149] The Federal Government suffered additional delay accepting title to the memorial land while awaiting the court's decision.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service reached a point in May 1938 when a definite statement of their major objectives had to be made. Several policies needed Secretary Ickes' approval before further planning could proceed. The elevated railroad definitely had to be removed, for no money would be spent on development until removal was assured. Secondly, the city's offer to convey the Old Courthouse should be accepted as soon as possible, providing that final action was deferred until the constitutional questions were cleared. Third, every effort would be made to retain the Old Cathedral. Fourth, the estimated cost of the area, together with demolition and other clearance operations would amount to not less than $7,500,000. Taken from the $9,000,000, approximately $1,500,000 remained available for construction purposes. The National Park Service should submit a comprehensive prospectus to the Advisory Board, determining the extent to which Congress should be asked to authorize appropriations. Fifth, a policy of cooperation with the United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission should be formulated. All of these recommendations dealt with the fundamental policy that influenced memorial planning. Acting Secretary of the Interior E.K. Burlew approved the Park Service recommendations on May 21, 1938. [150]

While Park Service officials planned future work, Luther Ely Smith tried to secure the association's future funding. For a year Smith tried to obtain a reverse ruling on the deductibility question, and in March the deputy commissioner of Internal Revenue reconsidered Smith's assertions that the association was organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. After carefully reviewing the case's entire file, however, the deputy commissioner found no error in the ruling of March 9, 1937, and affirmed it. [151]

Association members hired an attorney, John W. Cross, to handle the problem. He warned Smith that in view of the situation it would be very difficult to obtain a reversal of the two rulings, which stood on the basis of individual contributions being exempt if made to the United States for public purposes, while corporate contributions were exempt only if made to charitable or educational private organizations. Cross believed there was merit in Smith's position that a contribution might be for a public purpose and not necessarily be educational or charitable, but since the Bureau considered the question twice within the last year, it would be very difficult for the association to secure a favorable ruling. [152]

Fortunately for memorial backers another obstacle disappeared. The Missouri Supreme Court decided on May 22 that a section of the law that governed elections in St. Louis was unconstitutional. Their decision ended the possibility of a grand jury investigation of frauds committed in the bond issue election. The ballots used in the election should have been destroyed a year later, the court ruled, and they currently were "legally nonexistent." The section of the law held unconstitutional stated that ballots need not be destroyed twelve months after an election if there was an election contest, grand jury investigation, or prosecution pending in which the ballots were needed as evidence. The supreme court's decision, in a certiorari proceeding instituted by Circuit Attorney Franklin Miller, sustained Circuit Judge Frank C. O'Malley's refusal to issue a subpoena in April 1937 for a grand jury to examine some of the election ballots. O'Malley's action followed that of Judge John W. Joynt, who in February 1937 declined to issue a subpoena. The state supreme court's action came after seven months of consideration. [153]

Thus ended all charges of corruption. No longer could Representative Lambertson and Paul Peters use the alleged fraud as a weapon against the project. Even though Lambertson renewed his demands for a congressional investigation during the summer of 1938, his peers took no action. [154] Other major problems remained to be solved, such as funding, but the court ruling allowed the memorial to continue development without a tainted reputation.

The summer of 1938 brought even more good news for the project's backers. Slowly but surely the condemnation cases moved through the courts. By September all the property, thirty-seven blocks, plus three fractions of blocks, was under condemnation. Purchases could not begin until the Barnidge v. United States of America case went through the appellate courts, so association members hoped for an early decision. Arguments in the case were heard on November 4, and Luther Ely Smith urged association members to attend the court's open sessions. United States Attorney Harry Blanton made an excellent argument, the judges grasped the facts well, and Smith hoped for a favorable decision before the new year. [155]

During the last months of 1938 St. Louis' Board of Public Service offered a very promising breakthrough in the railroad removal negotiations. In August the board's president, Baxter Brown, forwarded plans to the Park Service for consideration. Brown proposed placing the elevated double track line in a subway or tunnel along the levee, which would conceal more than half of the tracks. The tunnel would also eliminate the levee surface tracks. National Park Service Landscape Architect Charles Peterson examined the plans and objected to several facets; nevertheless the plans proved to be significant. [156] Twenty years' worth of meetings, politicking, newspaper campaigns, and work passed before the tracks were moved, but the final solution evolved from the proposals offered by Baxter Brown.

In November 1938 Dr. Thomas Pitkin recommended subjects and events to be memorialized in the site's museums. He outlined the main threads of westward expansion history, suggesting that a "dramatic approach" be taken. [157] Five months later, National Park Service Museum Division curators suggested museum plans that Pitkin approved. They recommended a central museum feature, composed of brief narrative groupings of exhibits on national expansion to tell the story in "dramatic, narrative form." Other exhibit halls would surround that group, displaying selected westward expansion topics. [158] In this way, research began for a museum commemorating westward expansion, and the National Park Service conducted intensive, detailed studies of the topic for many years.

Court Decision

The first major development of the new year came on January 27, 1939, with the United States Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Barnidge v. United States of America case, in which the court declared all the steps taken by the Federal Government in acquiring land to be valid. Plaintiffs in the case contended that the Historic Sites Act did not authorize land condemnation and that it was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. They also charged that no funds were available to pay awards in the condemnation proceedings. The court found these assertions to be invalid. The Historic Sites Act did not need to specifically authorize land condemnation, because other legislation gave the Federal Government the authority to condemn whenever it had the authority to acquire. As for the charge that the act appeared to be an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power, the court held delegation by discretion of the secretary of the interior and of the President to be constitutional. Concerning the availability of funds, the objectors raised three points: there was not enough money available, the Presidential order allocating the funds was invalid, and the relief act unconstitutionally appropriated the funds. The court, however, passed no judgment on these latter points because the case was a condemnation suit only, not a declaration of taking. The owner was not losing his property until the Government's money was actually placed in court. Since the Government had not taken the step of placing money into court, the court did not rule on the plaintiff's points. [159]

After the decision, congratulatory letters and telegrams flew between the memorial's principal backers. John Nagle told Luther Ely Smith that court machinery and written law did not obtain the victory; it was the conviction and determination of people like Smith. Nagle thought no one deserved the credit more. [160]

Now, the Federal Government could finally take title and acquire possession of the riverfront land, or so memorial backers thought. On February 10 Secretary Ickes released a memorandum for the press stating that the Federal Government would not pay excessive prices for the memorial land. Warning that the Government did not have to buy land where the awards ran beyond fair appraisal, he added, "My idea of a memorial to Thomas Jefferson is not to see how much money can be spent for land." [161] Court commissioners' findings ran in excess of appraisals made by the National Park Service, prompting Ickes to say there existed a strong possibility that he would not finish the project if he could not acquire lands at fair prices. [162]

What course the Federal Government would follow now remained undetermined. Ickes would not proceed. Government authorities had not taken any land titles yet and they would not suffer embarrassment by any ownership if the project fell through. [163] Luther Ely Smith believed Ickes' statement justifiable to a great extent, yet he believed the awards to be lower than those usually returned in the state court condemnation proceedings. [164] He expressed his views to Ickes, urging him to start immediate negotiations for purchase and payment. Assistant Attorney General Harry Blair tried to explain to Smith that Ickes did not want to file declarations of taking because the title would pass to the Government immediately, leaving open for determination the question of compensation to the land owner. Blair believed Ickes would not want to "tie his hands" by filing declarations. [165] Nevertheless, Smith knew that property owners would negotiate immediately for the sale of their property in order to pay accumulating taxes and dispose of their deteriorating buildings. "Instantaneous payment in cash would have an electric effect," Smith declared. [166]

Concerned as he was over acquiring land, specters of funds lapsing into the Treasury on July 1 haunted Smith even more. Money not spent on the site before the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 1939, would lapse into the Federal Treasury. (The money had to be authorized for expenditure by July 1, 1937 and spent by July 1, 1939.) Even if the Government succeeded in completing land purchases by June 30, Smith wondered how the memorial backers could spend the balance to prevent its return to the Treasury. At first, Smith believed the President's allotment and the Park Service's condemnation proceedings would appropriate or "spend" the fund to meet the Treasury act's technical requirements, but now he judged that a check must be drawn on the Treasury, paying someone the money. [167]

Smith confidentially learned that the Department of Justice wanted to prepare a resolution for introduction into Congress, seeking to extend for two to three years the time period within which the funds could be spent. Smith wanted to avoid Congress if at all possible, believing instead that the Government should make immediate direct purchases. [168]

Early in March John Nagle received instructions from Associate Director Arthur Demaray to proceed with negotiations for the property. For the time being, he confined all activities to negotiating with the property owners, obtaining signed agreements naming a purchase price for each holding. Conducting negotiations only with properties for which commissioners had returned awards, Nagle discussed these agreements with United States Attorney Harry Blanton to avoid prejudicing the legal position of the United States in pending condemnation proceedings. The secretary of the interior approved each price of each agreement before submitting it to the courts for judgment. [169]

All the awards granted up to this time averaged 17 percent above appraisal. Harry Blair, now counsel for the association, thought that average good. If the commissioners' reports yet to be made kept within this 17 percent average, Blair had no doubts that the whole deal could close by June 30. Blair traveled to the Department of Justice to discuss the entire situation. Officials told him that no possibility existed of the funds lapsing and that every effort would be made to close the matter before the deadline. Smith was not convinced. He wrote Justice Department officials, asking why the Government could not execute its part of the contract with the city by checking out its funds from the Treasury and setting them up as a special fund in another depository. However, the Government could not justify checking the funds out of the Treasury without incurring the comptroller general's opposition. The only recourse once again proved to be either obtaining legislation indefinitely extending the money's availability, or spending the money by filing declarations of taking before June 30, 1939. [170]

All of the association's worst fears about going to Congress for additional funds proved true in March. During the House of Representatives debate over the 1940 Interior Department's Appropriation Bill, Congressman John Cochran stood on the floor reemphasizing that he would never ask Congress for money for a Jefferson memorial. If the park ever was created, he advocated erecting a great granite shaft, but he pledged never to seek the construction of a memorial building costing millions. [171]

On March 16, Representative William Lambertson offered an amendment to the Department of the Interior Appropriation Bill providing for no appropriation of funds for expenses connected with the memorial. Cochran rose in challenge, saying the amendment would shackle Park Service officials from pursuing their duties. He did not want money to go directly to the memorial, but neither did he want to stop paying Government employees. House members agreed with him, for they rejected the amendment. [172] John Cochran therefore fought to save the memorial's original $9,000,000 allocation from Lambertson's political maneuvers. Cochran's attitude and desire to protect the project relieved Smith. [173]

July 1 loomed only three months away, with the Government still hedging on filing declarations. "We are, as I view it, in the direst need of a rational solution of our perilous problem," Smith complained. He feared the departmental delays. Harry Blair believed it impossible for Secretary Ickes to allow the money to lapse after the city deposited $2,500,000 as its share of the contract. Surely Ickes would take the risk of filing the declarations. [174]

Secretary Ickes refused. He held a conference on March 29 with various National Park Service officials in which he told them his objections to acquiring land before Congress passed on extending funds and before a more satisfactory showing could be made on property awards. He refused to approve excessive awards or the Park Service's proceeding with the project until they could furnish assurances that ultimate awards and prices would conform to the appraised values. He considered issuing yet another statement that the Department of the Interior would not pay excessive prices, believing the 15 percent differential between the commissioners' awards and Park Service appraisals too great. Ickes would accept title to the land only if Congress extended the availability of funds, and if property could be acquired close to appraised prices. If these guidelines were not met, Ickes indicated he would withhold approval of any further memorial development, possibly indefinitely. [175]

Missouri Senator Bennett Champ Clark made his move to secure the funds in Congress on April 7. He inserted an amendment in the Interior Department Appropriation Bill specifically reappropriating the memorial's money, making it available until expended. On April 18 the Senate passed the bill. Then the fight started in the House, whose rules required a separate vote on legislative items attached to appropriation bills by the Senate. Clark expected both a fight and a roll call because of the many attacks made against the project in the past. [176]

Luther Ely Smith consequently went to work to build support for the amendment. He informed United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission members, while St. Louis congressional representatives increased their activity, and both opponents and supporters placed pressure upon Congressman Cochran because of his influence in House financial affairs. Missouri Representative C. Jasper Bell received many letters opposing the rider from companies in the affected area. [177]

Despite Smith's effort, Representative Cochran learned on April 24 that the House conferees refused to accept the Senate amendment. Cochran tried another tack, asking the comptroller general whether the amendment was necessary, or whether the Government had obligated itself in making a contract with St. Louis. The comptroller assured him that additional legislation was necessary because of his August 7, 1937 ruling. The Emergency Relief Appropriation funds had been available for obligation only until June 30, 1937. The attorney general's institution of condemnation proceedings sufficiently obligated the funds for payments of awards. However, regarding those obligated funds, Congress could make no payments after June 30, 1939, without further action, because the appropriation lapsed on that date. (St. Louis funds were not subjected to the same limitations.) Conclusively, using the allotted funds for any obligation incurred after June 30, 1937, (aside from awards resulting from condemnation proceedings initiated prior to July 1, 1937, or for making payments after June 30, 1939, required of any obligations even though incurred prior to July 1, 1937) required additional legislation. [178]

Ralph Gilbert, floor leader of the Kentucky State Senate, went to Washington at that crucial time on behalf of the memorial. Speaking with several House conferees he knew personally, he learned that a feeling of unusual opposition had emerged in the House. The conferees would not yield to the Senate on the amendment, an action quite unusual, indicating an opposition based on more than patriotism. In Gilbert's estimation the St. Louis congressmen seemed "unable to cope with the situation." Speeches attacking the project went unchallenged. [179]

In early May, at the height of the memorial's uncertainty, Secretary Ickes took action by directing the payment of funds into court. On different occasions various memorial backers (Senator Clark, Frank Wright, and Senator Barkley) discussed the situation with the secretary, urging him to place the money into the court registry. They asserted that St. Louis citizens were entitled to that much, since they continued to pay interest on the bonds. Ickes, however, tied a string to the whole proposition. Willing to file the declarations of taking, he nevertheless required options on a number of parcels for safety. John Nagle had at this time approximately one half the land, at least $3,000,000 worth, ready for acquisition at a satisfactory price. [180] Expediency seemed vital to prevent the opposition from filing another injunction suit. Such a suit easily could be thrown out of court, but it would use valuable remaining time. [181]

Immediate reaction occurred in Nagle's St. Louis office. Four days after Ickes deposited the money, Acting Assistant Chief Counsel Donald E. Lee arrived in St. Louis to begin assembly of the necessary papers. Lee and Nagle drafted legal forms to secure the memorial lands by process of declarations of taking. United States District Attorney Blanton arrived to discuss legal and fiscal details. An assistant accountant and an assistant disbursing clerk of the United States Treasury State Accounts Office in Jefferson City, Missouri, arrived on May 9 to help clear the papers. Lee and Blanton agreed to submit a declaration of taking for each city block. One check, covering the aggregate of the estimated true value of the parcels within each block, would accompany the declaration of taking. [182]

By May 24 John Nagle had all the papers drawn up, expecting them to be signed the next day. All the money vouchers were ready, with the Justice Department awaiting only Ickes' go-ahead. Park Service officials arrived at the recommended amounts in accordance with several general principles, each discussed with Chief Counsel G.A. Moskey of the National Park Service and United States District Attorney Harry Blanton. Prices were never recommended in excess of the corresponding award fixed by the commissioners. Prices were not recommended in excess of the agreement with the property owners. In a few cases, owners who filed exceptions to the commissioners' awards agreed to withdraw their exceptions and accept the award prices. In all such cases, the spread between the awards and the first National Park Service appraisals amounted to only a few hundred dollars. [183]

Officials kept all their actions confidential in fear of last minute injunction attempts. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes executed the declarations of taking on May 25, 1939, for a sum of $6,000,000. He deposited $130,000 to cover appealed judgments. [184] Luther Ely Smith expressed concern about the monetary difference between the total amount of sums paid into court under the orders of taking and the $6,750,000 Federal allotment. He feared the money would lapse into the Treasury when it could be used for a variety of memorial development needs. Smith thought it absurd that the excess Federal funds could lapse because the original estimate was not high enough. Condemnation commissioners filed the last of the condemnation suits on June 1. [185]

Even though Secretary Ickes directed that the funds be paid into court, no one knew if he had signed the necessary papers. Association members did not know what procedure the Departments of Justice and the Interior were following. Smith was terribly worried, because only three weeks remained before the lapsing date; and no one in St. Louis had the slightest idea what steps would be taken, when they would be taken, or if they would be taken at all. [186] Finally, on June 14, 1939, the registry of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri received funds totaling almost $6,200,000. Half this amount represented values already agreed upon by property holders, with $150,000 already expended. Out of the total allotment of $6,750,000, $400,000 in leftover funds still remained in danger of lapsing. [187]

Lapsed Funds

July 1, 1939, the day of the lapse of funds, arrived. Luther Ely Smith and Harry Blair held sessions with Department of Justice officials in attempts to change the ruling. City Counselor Edgar Wayman wrote an opinion in May offering a different interpretation of the fund restrictions, upon which Blair now seized. Wayman believed that the balance of money allocated by the executive order could be used for purposes other than land acquisition as designated in the executive order. Luther Ely Smith believed the key factor in Wayman's interpretation to be the differences, if any, between the city and Federal funds. Both funds became one fund when the secretary of the interior accepted St. Louis' contribution. It was impossible to separate them. Since the St. Louis contribution could not lapse, Smith believed the entire fund could not lapse. The $9,000,000 fund therefore should continue as a whole to acquire, develop, and preserve the site. Blair argued that the three to one ratio would be destroyed if any portion of the funds reverted. [188]

Acting Secretary of the Interior Oscar Chapman jumped into the controversy when he wrote the comptroller general outlining the complete procedure followed by the National Park Service in acquiring the land titles. He explained why the declarations of taking, which could have been filed two or three years previously, were held up by the Department of the Interior until the courts ruled on the legal cases. Chapman asserted that the National Park Service took the action they did to fulfill the contractual obligations of the United States with St. Louis. [189]

In September, St. Louis Budget Director Arthur C. Meyers still had doubts about the funds' status. He understood that the Federal fiscal restrictions did not apply to city funds and that there existed no time limit on their expenditure; however, there was a limit on the amount that could be spent, determined by the amount of Federal expenditure. If $400,000 of Federal funds reverted, then $13,333.33 of city funds should revert to keep the three to one ratio. Comptroller General Fred Brown answered that if the excess Federal funds reverted, it would not necessarily mean that city funds would revert if there existed obligations against the Federal funds. Brown's answer did not satisfy Arthur Meyers. How could obligations be incurred against the Federal funds and the reversions take place without the obligations being paid? What would happen if appropriations were not made? National Park Service Director Arno Cammerer answered that the Park Service intended, when using the city's funds, to reserve a balance of $139,219.19, which could revert to the city if none of the lapsed Federal funds were used in the future. Cammerer did not agree to return the city's contribution, but he definitely kept the three to one ratio in mind. [190]

Neither the city nor the National Park Service pursued the lapsed funds situation for the rest of the year. At the end of October, counsel Donald E. Lee advised Director Cammerer to remember that Federal funds did lapse, and that money was earmarked for the city of St. Louis. If Cammerer tried to secure a reappropriation of the funds or an extension of their availability, Lee urged him to use the indefinite phrase "unexpended balance" rather than name any fixed sum. [191]

Beginning with condemnation petitions first filed in June 1937, court commissioners determined and reported values for each parcel of land. In January 1938 they submitted the ward reports to the court, filing the last one on June 1, 1939. The aggregate of the commissioners' awards for the entire area was $16,985,054, not including property parcels already owned by the Service, or the Old Cathedral. Legal titles to the area were thus transferred to the United States between June 13 and June 30, 1939. The National Park Service Real Estate Branch started negotiations for offers to sell immediately after the declarations were filed. By November 1, 1939, officials offered to sell 351 (out of a total 481) parcels with a face value of $3,788,000. Commissioners set awards for these areas at $4,108,000, which was $320,000 less than the commissioned amount. [192]

Demolition Begins

Demolition could finally begin, following delays not foreseen by the memorial's original backers. On October 10, 1939, Mayor Bernard Dickmann pried three bricks loose from a building at 7 Market Street that possessed no particular historical interest. (One person did suggest that the building be preserved as the abode of fifty-six ghost voters found registered there in the 1935 bond issue election). The city preserved the first brick while Dickmann sent the second brick to President Roosevelt. Brick three went to an enthusiastic young man in the crowd. Luther Ely Smith attended, and Daniel Cox Fahey, Jr., gave a brief talk on behalf of the National Park Service. [193] So started visible evidence of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, four years after the park's establishment.

When demolition started, no one knew what shape the memorial would take, even though National Park Service planners attempted to define goals and desires. No one knew how much time would pass before additional funds could be obtained; no one knew if funds could be obtained. The Government did not own the Old Courthouse, and the elevated railroad tracks remained, symbolically blocking in the way of progress. Yet Luther Ely Smith and John Nagle must have slept well the night of October 10, secure in their belief that the memorial's major stumbling blocks had been largely overcome. It was only a matter now of holding a national architectural competition and awaiting the right moment to approach Congress for funds; or so it seemed. Storm clouds rose in Europe to thwart the best laid plans. At the same time that St. Louis newspapers reported the news of the demolition, citizens read of Belgian senators debating the chances of Nazi invasion and of a British battleship sinking after a German U-boat attack.

Unaware of foreign threats to their plans, National Park Service officials concentrated on solving petty problems they faced once demolition started. Officials had difficulty removing tenants from the properties, even after title passed to the United States. In instances occurring in other Park Service areas, officials secured court orders evicting unauthorized occupants, yet Director Arno Cammerer wanted to avoid taking such drastic action. Other problems arose, including minor fires which occurred on several properties after the Government's take over. Should the United States collect the fire insurance? In addition, Federal courts fixed rents on the property; should proceedings be started against those delinquent in rent payments? [194]

Not all the problems were so trivial. There was no historical significance attached to the first building demolished, but that obviously was untrue of many other buildings in the condemned area. An increased awareness of the buildings' historical value prompted concerned St. Louisans to write Smith and Nagle. In response to an inquiry from the secretary of the General Council on Civic Needs, John Nagle detailed the reasoning behind the decision to tear down most of the buildings. Without exception each needed major repairs. Few were fireproof, officials could determine no use for them, and they proved economically prohibitive to maintain. The Park Service submitted each building to an examination based on historical and archeological criteria under the guidelines of the Historic Sites Act. Most of the buildings did not pass the test. Five buildings (the Old Courthouse, the National-Scotts Hotel, the Merchants Exchange, the Jean Baptiste Roy House, and the Joseph Labbadie House) whose architectural character if not actual existence remained in danger, stood outside the memorial area. The Park Service wanted an outside agency to care for these structures. [195] The council considered and rejected Nagle's explanation. They recognized the maintenance problems and removal costs, but thought them insignificant. Approaching demolition forced a hasty decision. Council members felt that in later years there would be severe criticism if efforts to preserve the historically important structures failed. [196]

Dr. Hermon Bumpus and the Advisory Board advised the acting secretary of the interior in November to exclude only the Old Cathedral and the Old Rock House from demolition. [197] This brought a memorandum of protest from Superintendent John Nagle to Director Cammerer. Newspaper articles and communications from interested citizens expressed civic concern for preservation of the historical values in the area. In view of the sentiment now being expressed and the obligations of the Historic Sites Act, Nagle believed several buildings should remain for a probationary period. [198]

The Old Courthouse

Nearly everyone considered the Old Courthouse worth preservation, yet Federal officials had taken no action since St. Louis offered the title in 1937. Park officials in early 1939 still did not want the building if acquisition plans for the riverfront area failed. Not until the National Park Service acquired titles to memorial property could it turn its attention to the Old Courthouse. John Nagle believed that the Old Courthouse would become a principal feature of the memorial if Congress authorized the project. To include the building in the present, limited project primarily represented a preservation measure. Estimated preservation costs stood at $250,000 to $500,000, while annual maintenance costs would approach $35,000. Because Nagle would need Federal funds for annual maintenance, he needed to know if existing authority allowed the Park Service to obligate such an expense. A ruling from the comptroller general was needed to change the memorial's boundaries before the funds were spent. [199]

In the same November 10 memorandum in which Dr. Bumpus and the Advisory Board cited buildings worthy of exclusion from demolition, they expressed their opinion of the Old Courthouse: "The preservation and restoration of the old St. Louis Courthouse is not needed or desirable because it does not possess the necessary historic interest or the 'requisite architectural pretensions' to warrant its being retained within the meaning of the Historic Sites Act, even if it could be related or adjusted to the desired expression of a Jefferson National Expansion Memorial." [200]

Nevertheless, John Nagle assumed that the Department of the Interior felt committed to accepting the building. He was so sure of this that he even suggested requiring the city to meet certain conditions before the Government would take over. The city should lease a portion of the building from the Federal Government to aid in the cost of maintenance and use the leased space for some form of public facility. Luther Ely Smith shared Nagle's belief that the Federal Government would be "really blind" if they did not accept title. Even more pressing was Smith's fear that the building might burn down at any moment. Unless something happened soon he feared he would wake some morning "to find only a pile of debris there." [201]

On the same date that the Advisory Board advised against accepting the building, November 10, Secretary Ickes wrote President Roosevelt recommending its acceptance. On November 16 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch broke the news to the city that it was a mere formality before President Roosevelt approved taking the deed. Mayor Dickmann announced Ickes' assurance that $250,000 was available for the structure's rehabilitation. On December 6 the newspaper announced that the Department of the Interior accepted the mayor's offer, even though the transaction still needed to be routed through the Bureau of the Budget and receive Roosevelt's approval. [202]

Despite all the news over the title acceptance, National Park Service Director Arno Cammerer had a few questions for Secretary Ickes. He made reference to Ickes' November 10 letter to the President recommending acceptance based in part upon the Advisory Board meeting held in Santa Fe in May 1938. At that meeting, the board approved accepting the Old Courthouse after constitutional questions were settled. Cammerer then drew Ickes' attention to the board's latest action toward the building; the action taken November 10 labeling the building undesirable for inclusion within the memorial. Cammerer stated, "In the light of this most recent action by the Advisory Board, the Department may wish to withdraw its letter to the President, dated November 10, 1939, now pending before the Bureau of the Budget. Your instructions in this matter will be appreciated." [203]

Although the Advisory Board's opinion reached the secretary on November 10, Ickes did not take action until Cammerer directed his attention to the paradox. St. Louis newspapers printed stories of the building's acceptance in early December; they did not know of the Advisory Board's changed opinion until February 1940. Even Luther Ely Smith, who usually heard all information in Washington concerning his memorial, did not receive accurate news about the snag. When Secretary Ickes' letter was referred back to the Department of the Interior in mid-December, Bon Geaslin informed Smith it was because the Budget Bureau did not consider the secretary's recommendation sufficient. John Nagle, of course, knew about the Advisory Board's opinion from Park Service correspondence. Luther Ely Smith wanted to have the Old Courthouse accepted before Congress convened. [204]

Throughout most of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial's history, developments and setbacks occurred simultaneously. All during 1939, when concern revolved around lapsed funds, land condemnation, and the Old Courthouse, negotiations started again concerning the elevated railroad. Various interests involved with the question offered solutions to the problem during the year.

Railroad Negotiations

In the previous December, the city's Board of Public Service submitted some plans to John Nagle for the elevated track removal. They proposed depressing all the tracks into a tunnel entirely under cover at Eads Bridge, with the grade line continuing to rise to meet the existing elevated structure southwest of the area. Nagle wanted to review the idea with consultant Frank Wright, for he objected to several features in the plan that could seriously restrict the ultimate park design. [205] From the Park Service's standpoint, the most desired scheme was to place the tracks in a tunnel for the entire length of the area, thereby assuring no future interference with development. [206] The Federal Government did not want to dictate to the city of St. Louis and the Terminal Railroad Association how to accomplish the track removal; rather, they possessed final approval authority over schemes these bodies might develop to achieve the final objective.

The difficulty lay in trying to meet the needs of all three groups involved — the city of St. Louis, the TRRA, and the Federal Government. Problems were many; plans offered by the city did not meet National Park Service standards, the TRRA proposed minimal changes to protect their operations, the city did not believe the TRRA's expressions of sincerity in their attempts to move the tracks, and local public opinion was manipulated by both the city's government and the press in efforts to come to an agreement with the TRRA. All the various local pressures — economic, political, and social — came into play in these negotiations throughout the years. In 1939, for example, the city and the TRRA proposed several plans besides the tunnel plan, (some of which seemed half-hearted), each of which was scrutinized and rejected as being too narrow or not feasible.

Frank Wright proposed a plan in April calling for the railroads to use the Municipal Bridge, which would result in abandoning the elevated railroad. His proposal involved giving certain privileges to TRRA, but Mayor Dickmann feared it might result in a monopoly on the bridge's use. The idea was rejected. [207] Later in April, representatives from all three groups met in Dickmann's office. The TRRA presented a plan to eliminate the elevated tracks by heading them three blocks north of the Eads Bridge, then west in an old tunnel running under Washington Avenue and along Eighth Street to Union Station. The double freight track on the levee would remain. Here John Nagle had to remind the officials that the Park Service reserved the right to eliminate the levee tracks. TRRA President Philip J. Watson, meanwhile, asserted that his company would suffer substantial damage from using trunk line railroads on the Illinois side of the river. He believed that public and city interests demanded a suitable means of railroad transportation on the riverfront. [208] Thus, another plan was tossed aside.

In May, Burlington Railroad officials proposed that their passenger trains run on surface tracks turning into Poplar Street in an open tunnel bridged at street crossings. The plan included a retaining wall built along the river side of the development. National Park Service engineers examined the plans, found various aspects unfavorable, but believed the effort exemplified a willingness on the part of the railroads to seek a solution compatible with the effect desired by the Federal Government. If absolute necessity demanded maintaining a rail connection between the city's north and south industrial sections, minimum amounts of track could be maintained along the Burlington plan's guidelines. [209]

To add to the confusion, TRRA president Philip Watson declared in a conference on June 20 that the proposed tunnel leading from Eads Bridge to Union Station was inadequate for the Burlington Route "Zephyr." He proposed that this and all other passenger trains should run on the levee tracks. John Nagle strenuously objected, as he knew serious automobile traffic problems would develop on the levee. He did not view the proposal as an honest attempt to solve the problem. Furthermore, Nagle believed that neither the city nor the TRRA had comprehensively studied a plan, from a city-wide standpoint, to eliminate the elevated tracks. Because the Burlington Route "Zephyr" only began service in May, Frank Wright declared that placing importance on changing the memorial construction to gain clearance to accommodate that one train seemed rather trivial. Wright hoped to reroute trains over the Municipal Bridge, scheduled for dedication in October. [210]

In August, Frank Wright spent several days in St. Louis conferring with city and TRRA officials. He met with Philip Watson, who declared that the city and the TRRA had agreed on a plan, with only certain steps needing the approval of both groups. The plan proposed a double track along the levee, curving into Poplar Street up to Union Station. Elevation of the double track measured two feet higher than the highest point along Wharf Street. The cost: $1,500,000. The Park Service would pay $900,000, the TRRA $400,000, and the city $200,000. Wright believed he could justify this money to Secretary Ickes, since many of the additional track adjustments needed in East St. Louis, Illinois, and north of the project would provide "inestimable value" to the city. [211]

John Nagle opposed the idea from the start. He stressed to Frank Wright the necessity for intimacy between the Mississippi River and the memorial. Separation by a railroad structure would affect the memorial's historic associations with the river. Nagle believed the project should reclaim recreational values almost entirely lost to the city on the riverfront. He disagreed with the TRRA's idea to replace the elevated tracks with a permanent low level line. He remained willing, however, to allow temporary retention of two freight lines at the levee level if the passenger trains on the elevated were removed altogether. Removal of the passenger trains would encourage the TRRA to develop some other means for freight transfer between the north and south ends of the city. If, however, passenger as well as freight trains continued to use the low-level tracks, a final solution would be hard to achieve. [212]

At the end of the year, the National Park Service still regarded track removal as essential. Considering what little Federal funds' would remain after demolition, Frank Wright hesitated to confer further with the railroads until he could offer some financial assistance. [213] Any additional appropriations could come only from Congress. Negotiations stopped until the city, the TRRA, and the Park Service could hold more conferences, obtain a promise of funds, or develop new ideas.

The year 1939 brought both progress and a major setback to the memorial. United States Circuit Court of Appeals rulings upheld the validity of the Federal Government's land acquisition, allowing the Park Service to proceed with its condemnation plans. Washington finally deposited funds in court for the declarations of taking, while demolition started in October. Problems cropped up, such as the attacks by Representative Lambertson and Luther Ely Smith's failure to get the deductibility rule changed. The worst blow was the lapsed funds — $400,000 became unavailable because it was not spent by July 1, 1939. Discussion, letters of clarification, and last minute efforts all failed to prevent the reversion. Negotiations for the railroad removal crawled along, amid schemes of retaining walls, tunnels, low level tracks, and communication failures between the city, TRRA, and Federal Government. Through it all, Secretary Ickes remained adamant. The tracks must go before one cent would be spent on developing Jefferson's memorial.

The next decade saw a virtual standstill in development. With the exception of the architectural contest in 1947, no other major step took place until the 1950s. World War II proved to be the most influential reason for the slow progress. No domestic memorial building could be constructed while the United States battled Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and the Japanese Empire.

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004