History of the St. Louis Fed's Headquarters

historical image of St. Louis Federal Reserve building

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis as seen in 1924. Note the cable cars in the bottom left corner of the picture.

Choosing St. Louis as a Central Bank

During the 19th and early 20th century, financial panics and bank runs plagued our nation. The Panic of 1907 prompted many Americans to call for a central bank. In response, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, which President Woodrow Wilson signed into law on December 23, 1913, to provide our nation with a more stable financial system.

On January 21-22, 1914, the Reserve Bank Organization Committee (RBOC) came to St. Louis to solicit the views of St. Louis bankers and business leaders to make the case for St. Louis to be a Reserve Bank city.

Eventually, the RBOC heard arguments in support of 37 cities seeking designation as a regional Reserve Bank city. Ultimately, the committee chose St. Louis, the nation's fourth largest city at the time, as the headquarters of the Eighth District, which covers all of Arkansas and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

St. Louis Fed Centennial

At the St. Louis Fed's Centennial website, explore 100 years of historical materials from the Eighth District, including an interactive timeline, photos and audio clips, and historic documents.

Providing the public with access to economic information and data has long been an important mission for the St. Louis Fed. Interested in learning more or in conducting your own research? Explore the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER) to discover 100-plus years of central banking.

Federal Reserve System Centennial

All 12 Federal Reserve districts are represented on a commemorative Federal Reserve History website. Find Fed facts, information about key economic events, details about instrumental people who shaped the Fed, and insights into the Fed’s purpose. Meanwhile, the Board of Governors highlights answers to frequently asked questions about the Fed's centennial and the inventory of these historical collections.