ST. LOUIS – Major renovations are underway for the Old Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis.
As one of the oldest-standing buildings in St. Louis, the Old Courthouse has been closed to the public for several years. However, some new sources of funding recently became available, and it’s currently on track to reopen in 2025.
Work began in February to improve the structure, accessibility and visitor experience of the courthouse. The Gateway Arch Park Foundation will invest around $6 million of the total project’s $27.5 million cost.
When it reopens, the courthouse will feature its first elevator, improved HVAC and fire suppression systems, more office space and new historical exhibits.
One new exhibit will be dedicated to Dred and Harriet Scott, highlighting the family’s fight for freedom and St. Louis’ role in the historic court case. Guests will also be able to visit a 1850s-styled courtroom, commemorating some of the earliest origins of the Old Courthouse.
“It’s going to be a huge tourism draw,” said Ryan McClure with the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. “Once these renovations are done, we’re really excited to invite the entire community and our visitors back to the old courthouse to experience everything that is new.
McClure tells FOX 2 that the National Park Service will contribute around $21.5 million to the project, while the Gateway Arch Park Foundation will contribute around $6 million in privately-raised donations.
To help the cause, the Missouri Department of Economic Development recently approved a $2.7 million grant for Old Courthouse renovations through its tourism program. The state announced more than $30 million in funding for several Missouri-based projects.
“We are thrilled to receive this support in funding from the state of Missouri,” said McClure in a phone call with FOX 2.
“Many Missouri communities rely on tourism, travel, and hospitality for continued economic growth,” said Gov. Mike Parson via a news release. “Grant awards made through this program will give new life to attractions and local assets that are enjoyed by countless Missourians and visitors.”
The Old Courthouse represents nearly two centuries worth of St. Louis history. It closed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and has remained closed since then. Crews initially planned to begin upgrades in 2021, though that timetable was pushed back two years due to workforce and supply chain reasons.
The Old Courthouse is part of Gateway Arch National Park and is operated by the National Park Service. For a closer look at future plans, click here.