Christian Peper Bldg
707 N First Street
Here at 707 N 1st is the expansion of the second and third phase of the Christian Peper building, which totally fills the 700 block of North 1st street. It was completed in 1898-9 by architect, A. M. Beinke at a cost of $50,000. The broad unified design of this six-story warehouse picks up the floor lines very successfully from the original building attached on the North end. Even though this mass of brick appears as one building, if you look closely, there is a distinguishing difference in the style of windows used that separates the two new additions south of the Raeder building.
At the end of the 19th century, St. Louis was the largest processor of chewing and pipe tobacco in the United States. This building, which now houses the offices for the Metro transit system, once stored the leaf for the Christian Peper Tobacco Company. Its plank floors were slanted so workers could roll large barrels down toward the levee.
In 1906, the company produced a series of racy cards for their Turkish brand Kadee cigarettes – one of the first uses of artistically-posed nude models for advertising.
Peper was the pioneer tobacco merchant of St. Louis. Born in Germany, Peper lived in the United States since the age of 13. On coming to this country, Peper settled in St. Louis & went into the grocery business. In 1848 he engaged in the tobacco industry and conducted the business, known as the Christian Peper Tobacco Company.
Peper also built the first cotton compress in the United States. The success of its operation made St. Louis a leader in the cotton trade for many years. Mr. Peper also served as the president of the Broadway Street Railroad for 35 years & was one of the first contributors to help fund the 1904 World's Fair.