Wayman T. Crow was born March 7, 1808 in Kentucky.
Crow entered into the dry goods business as an apprentice at the age of 12.
Eight years later, when the company expanded, Crow was given control & interest in a new branch.
Crow soon became a successful businessmen and moved to St. Louis in 1835, married Isabella Buck Conn and helped raise two children.
He opened his own wholesale dry goods business known as Crow, Hargadine & Company.
Crow diversified his holdings in the wholesale trade and later branched out into insurance, railroads and real estate.
Crow became president of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, and in 1840, he was elected as a Whig to the Missouri state senate.
In 1846 he secured the charter for the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association, the oldest library west of the Mississippi River.
Crow drafted the charter for Eliot Seminary, the precursor to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He went on to secure its passage through the state legislature on February 22, 1853.
Eliot Seminary, started out as just one building — Academic Hall — at the intersection of 17th Street and Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis.
The institution’s original name was Eliot Seminary, a tribute to Wayman Crow‘s close friend, St. Louis educator William Greenleaf Eliot.
Crow named his close friend William Greenleaf Eliot as chairman of the original Board of Trustees. A modest man, Eliot thought the name too local and restrictive, so in deference to his wishes, Crow and the Board of Trustees officially changed the name to “Washington Institute in St. Louis” in 1854.
The institution’s name was then changed to “Washington University, St. Louis” on February 12,1857.
Wayman Crow was also the co-founder of the first art museum west of the Mississippi River known as St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts in 1881.
Crow had conceived of a public institution modeled on London’s South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum).
He donated the land in downtown St. Louis on which the original Museum of Fine Arts was built, selected and commissioned the architects and
funded the construction of the building as a memorial for his son, an art lover who had died while at school in London in 1878.
The Museum’s original building, on the northeast corner of Lucas Place (now Locust Street) and 19th Street, was
located in one of St. Louis’s elite mid-19th-century residential districts.
“[A]esthetic culture is one of the best proofs of national and individual refinement. The study of art is
elevating…It will be the aim of this School of Fine Arts to educate the public taste, instill sound principles of
aesthetic culture and foster a distinctively American type of art. Nor will the delight which the cultivated mind
feels at the sight of beauty be the only result of this aesthetic culture. Industrial art will feel a quickening
– Wayman T. Crow, 1881
Crow continued his activities with Washington University as a member of the board of trustees until his death May 10, 1885.
Wayman Crow Hall, was built in 1933; designed by two Washington University architects, George W. Spearl and James P. Jamieson, to house the Department of Physics in Arts & Sciences.
Crow Hall wad dedicated in 1934, constructed with the nature of the experiments that involve the study of falling objects in mind. The building is not subject to Earth’s natural vibrations, and contains a shaft that extends the full height of the building.
Now WE know em
- Washington University in St. Louis (2u.com)