Thompson House was completed in 1910, and is the oldest building on campus, pre-dating the founding of Webster University by five years.
The University Archives provides detail about the house, its first owner, and its builder. Webster University acquired the building in the 1950s and re-purposed the building for music. At one point, though, two nuns lived on the top floor, where we now have a classroom and four faculty studios.
Thompson House is full of character, with beautiful quartersawn oak paneling in the Recital Hall (a combination of the original parlor and dining room), a few fireplaces, and even a walk-in safe in the corner of one piano studio. The building now houses twelve full-time faculty, the department office, the office of the Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, practice rooms, classrooms, a computer lab, a student lounge, and the Recital Hall.
These photos tell of the first life of Thompson House:
The former dining room is now part of the Recital Hall. Eleanor Roosevelt once dined in this room! Recitalists now perform in front of the fireplace (now sealed) on purpose-built stage that holds a Steinway B piano. The wall sconces are gone, but the oak paneling remains.
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