Located at 5300 Lindell Boulevard is a little known landmark to the city of St. Louis. The Cabanne House was built by fur trader and merchant Jean Pierre Cabanné and first served as the family farmhouse before being converted into a lodge. A second house was built on the property after the first was demolished and is now used for office and event space. Although the Cabanne House is only open to the public for events, one can still get a feel for its history when driving or walking by. The Holiday Inn Hotel St. Louis and Hampton Inn & Suites – St. Louis at Forest Park are two hotels nearest the Cabanne House.
The Cabanne House was first built in 1819 by Jean Pierre Cabanné and, as stated above, first served as the family farmhouse before being converted into a lodge after it was sold to the city in 1875. The lodge would last until the 1880s when the building was demolished. Around the same time, a second Cabanne House was built from plans that were drawn by St. Louis based architect James H. McNamara. The house was built with relative quickness, being completed in June of 1876, in time for Forest Park’s formal dedication. The new house was built in the French Second Empire style, making it stand out from the more modern buildings that are in the area. In 1966, the house was severely damaged in a fire, but soon bought, repaired and occupied by the St. Louis City Beautification Commission the next year. The commission would stay in the house until the 1980s when the St. Louis Ambassadors took over the property for office and event space.
Ever since the St. Louis Ambassadors moved in, they have made it a top priority to preserve and maintain the historic nature of the house. Back in 2006, the Cabanne House was selected as the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association’s Showhouse. Numerous designers and contractors were brought in to renovate the Cabanne House in order to breathe new life to this little known St. Louis/Forest Park gem. Upon completion, the total value of the renovation ended up exceeding $600,000. Today, the house continues to serve as the head quarters for the St. Louis Ambassadors and as a wedding ceremony/event venue. On a more interesting note: Interior alterations and additions to the rear of the Cabanne House were undertaken in 1942. These were done in order to provide living quarters for the Commissioner of the St. Louis Parks and Recreation department. One of the commissioners who would use the house as his residence was John D. Ayres, the grandfather of the famous American actor Gregory Peck.