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Robert Moore

Robert J. Moore Jr. is a senior lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis and a retired public historian for the National Park Service. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Syracuse University, and a master and doctoral degree in history from WashU. Moore has written articles for national and regional magazines on Lewis and Clark, westward expansion, architectural history and Dred and Harriet Scott. He is the author of eight books, including “The Gateway Arch: An Architectural Dream,” “Tailor Made, Trail Worn: Army Life, Clothing and Weapons of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,” “Natural Wonders of the World,” “Native Americans: A Portrait; The Art and Travels of Charles Bird King, George Catlin, and Karl Bodmer.”

Born and raised in Oriskany, New York, Moore was employed by the National Park Service for 40 years, working at such diverse areas as Saratoga, Yorktown, Morristown, Gettysburg, and Sagamore Hill. His scholarly interests include the architectural heritage of the U.S. and St. Louis, French colonial history, art and motion picture history, Native Americans, the African American heritage of St. Louis, the early role of women in architecture and design in the U.S., conservation, the progressive era, and presidential history. His recreational interests include travel, photography, hiking, creative writing, and carpentry. He lives near St. Louis with his wife Susan and daughter Karen.

Moore teaches two courses in the Sam Fox School, “Landscapes through Time: St. Louis Architecture, from the Mound Builders to the Arch,” about the architectural heritage of the region, and “Historic Preservation: Honoring the Past While Designing for the Future,” about the history of the preservation movement and how historic preservation is conducted today in the U.S. During the 2023-2024 academic year he also taught two half semester courses, “Visions of a Brighter Future, The History of Progressive Design at World’s Fairs, 1851-Present,” and “Challenging Cultural Assumptions – Women in Architecture, 1827-1960.”

Select Publications

Urban Innovation and Practical Partnerships: An Administrative History of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, 1980-1991 (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994)
Native Americans: A Portrait; The Art and Travels of Charles Bird King, George Catlin and Karl Bodmer (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York, New York, 1997)
Tailor Made, Trail Worn: Army Life, Clothing and Equipment at the Time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Far Country Press, Helena, Montana, 2003)
The Old Courthouse (Jefferson National Parks Association, St. Louis, Missouri, 2004)
The Museum of Westward Expansion (Jefferson National Parks Association, St. Louis, Missouri, 2004)
The Gateway Arch: An Architectural Dream (Jefferson National Parks Association, St. Louis, Missouri, 2005)

Featured Projects

Moore authored “Visualizing Early St. Louis,” a chapter in the anthology French St. Louis, Landscape, Contexts, and Legacy, edited by Jay Gitlin, Robert Michael Morrissey and Peter J. Kastor (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2021). The chapter is about the recreation of vanished landscapes of the past, in which Moore has an intense personal interest. Using Sketchup he recreated the entire city of St. Louis as it stood in the late 18th century as a 3-D model. Primary sources utilized in this creation included an 1820s survey map of the city with each property measured to the nearest ¼ inch, colonial real estate records translated from French and Spanish, and probate inventories of estates detailing outbuildings, gardens, personal belongings, etc. The hope is that in the future, a virtual reality version can be created so that people can walk the downtown area and see the historical structures in real time. Fly-throughs of the historical city were created from the model and are displayed in the new museum under the Arch.

This model, which is on display in the Gateway Arch National Park Museum, was needed to help visitors better imagine what the St. Louis riverfront looked like before the Arch was built. Primary sources of information included historical lithographs, business letterheads with depictions of specific buildings, city directories, fire insurance maps, 19th- and 20th-century photographs, parcel files that included dimensional and volumetric data on each structure, and historic paint color books. A total of 65 buildings, 12 paddlewheel riverboats, and over 200 HO scale human and animal figures make the model come to life. The model was created by 3D printing from Moore’s Sketchup model.

For the past few years Robert Moore has spent a great deal of time researching the contributions of women to the field of architectural design. At first he included a section on the topic in his St. Louis architecture course, but the amount of information kept growing and so he had to scale back what he was able to share with students. He continues to integrate the designs of women in general discussions about architecture wherever possible in that class