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Robert Moore

Robert J. Moore, Jr. is a public historian. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in history from Washington University in St. Louis. His dissertation, Social Darwinism, Social Imperialism, and Rapprochement: Theodore Roosevelt and The English-Speaking Peoples, 1886-1901 (Washington University, 2003), was about British influences on Roosevelt prior to his Presidency.

Moore worked for the National Park Service for 40 years, and between 1991 and 2020 was the historian at Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. His duties included the conservation and preservation of two significant structures: Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch and St. Louis’ Old Courthouse. In addition he was compliance officer for regional National Historic Landmarks and worked on preservation issues for such St. Louis-area structures as the Old Cathedral; the Jarrot Mansion; French vernacular architecture sites in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri; and the Soldier’s Memorial. He has written articles for national publications on Lewis and Clark, westward expansion, architecture, enslavement, and Dred Scott. He is the author of eight books, featured below.

Moore has taught as an adjunct professor at Washington University in University College and in the American Culture Studies program in Arts & Sciences since 2004, and regularly as a senior lecturer in the Sam Fox School since 2011 with courses on the history of architecture in St. Louis and on historic preservation in the United States.

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.