Gratiot Street Prison

Main page/Introduction

Then & Now

Gratiot Street Prison

Picture of Gratiot Street Prison in the 1860s from "Story of a Border City During the Civil War" by Galusha Anderson, published 1908

 8th & Gratiot

Site of Gratiot Street Prison today--a parking lot of the headquarters of Ralston Purina Company


The building that became Gratiot Street Prison originally housed McDowell Medical College, owned and operated by Joseph Nash McDowell. The wing north of the tower housed the college, the wing to the south was McDowell's home. 

McDowell's College 1848 

This 1848 illustration of McDowells College shows the unfinished building and tower lacking the distinctive dome


 Ralston Purina

Ralston Purina's history on the site of the former Gratiot Street Prison begins well after the building had been demolished.

An article in "Square Talk," an in-house publication for Ralston Purina employees, from May 1995, discusses the history of the site. Gene McCoskey, Manager of Contract Services and Security, is quoted in the article as saying, "Whenever the grounds crew does any type of digging on the property near the Administration Building, they always come back and mention all the rubble they find after going into the ground just a short distance...I think they are finding rubble of the old prison."

Ralston Purina has some history of their time at the site on their website.

Ralston Purina Company Historic Information

Gratiot Street Prison Main page/Introduction


Prisoners List Transcription from Gratiot ledgers

List 1-200 men List 2 - 200 men List 3 - 34 men, more to come Women & Children - 212 names  Prisoner Notes

A. C. Grimes -- Confederate Mail Carrier & escape artist

Elijah Alexander Mays - story of a Missouri man held at both Gratiot St Prison and Alton prison

Robert Payne Byrd - story of a Missouri man who vanished to a small pox hospital never to return

Gratiot Street Prison FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about the Union prison in St. Louis

Information Sources -- Print and microfilm sources on Gratiot 

Gratiot Street Prison-Then & Now - The site as it appeared in 1848, the 1860s, and now

Gratiot Journal:journal account of Gratiot Street Prison with notes on the people and events described

January - February 1863

March - April 1863

October - November 1863  

December 1863 - January 1864

March - April 1864

True Tales of the Tenth Kansas Infantry Articles by Howard Mann

Raid On a Nest of Nymphs

Excitement at Alton Prison Story of an escape from Alton, Ill., prison

Paradox of Capt. George D. Brooke

Sorrowful Revenge by Firing Squad the execution of six Confederate soldiers in St. Louis

 True Tales of the Tenth Kansas Infantry: The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time, The Execution of Barney Gibbons  execution of a Union deserter in St. Louis

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2001-2003 D. H. Rule

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