The Ballroom Hotel was at one time the largest and most well-known hotel in the area throughout the first half of the 20th Century. It was hurriedly constructed in the early 1900's to assist in accomodating the 19.7 million guests who would attend the World's Fair.
Contruction broke ground in March of 1903 and work at the site would see sixteen hour days in order to meet the impending deadline. Prior to officially opening for business, this hotel was chosen as the location to inaugurate the social season of the World's Fair. A formal ball was held on April 8, 1904 and was sponsored by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Confederate Memorial Society. The ball was said to be the "most strikingly brilliant social affair ever held" in the area and guests were reported to include "representatives of every civilized country, high World's Fair officials, soldiers, consuls and multimillionaires". The hotel was able to meet the construction deadline, opening on April 29th 1904, the day before the Fair was to begin.
Among those registered at the hotel on the eve of the World's Fair included the official delegation of the U.S. Senate and House. President Theodore Roosevelt personally telegraphed the signal to commence the opening from the white house. The hotel would host several Democratic National Conventions throughout the years.
Despite ownership changes over the years, the hotel thrived up until some time in the 60s. In the mid 1970's, the hotel closed and was threatened with demolition. It was fortunately saved from that fate and remodeled into small apartments for "over-50" residents. The future remained troubled for the building, however, as it eventually closed in the early 2000's.
The one time "Aristocrat of Saint Louis", "as handsome as the Waldorf-Astoria, or the handsomest hotel in America" has now been sitting vacant for the better part of the past decade and as a result has sadly been in a state of rapid deterioration ever since.
Source: National Records of Historic Buildings Nomination form