The origin story and impact of Queeny Tower

The built environment speaks to us of our history. Buildings reveal our intentions when they were constructed, our expectations for the future and our considerations of what they replace. Even when they are gone, some buildings live on and continue to shape us and the world, decades into the future.

Becker Medical Library’s visual collection archivist, Philip Skroska, leads a walking tour through time in this brief history of Queeny Tower, a long-time landmark at the Washington University Medical Center, currently being demolished as part of the ongoing campus renewal plan.

An archival photo of Queeny Tower (left) and its demolition (right).

When it opened in the mid-1960s, Queeny Tower represented the height of patient care at Barnes Hospital, building on the hospital’s Private Pavilion which had preceded it. But the tower and the controversy surrounding it had an out-sized impact on the history of Washington University and the legacy of William Danforth.