The Oldest Continually Operating Tavern West of the Mississippi
"John Pfautsch and Phillip Kuhn, in partnership, erected the Concert Hall in the spring and early summer of 1878. John Pfautsch came from an early Hermann family, immigrating with his mother in 1847. Together with his brother, Eustach, John built a saloon and residence on East Third Street. Phillip Kuhn was in his early twenties when the hall was built, but had experience running a saloon and restaurant near the railroad depot for many years.
Together they visited St. Louis during the winter to get ideas as to what sort of building their new hall should be. In March of 1878 they began its construction employing St. Louis contractors for the lumber and iron work. One year after completion, the "able artist" Henry German Sr. painted the Concert Hall sign—very likely the sign visible today on the facade. The tavern, with concert hall above, became a focus of activity in the community, with numerous plays, lectures, singing events, balls as well as music concerts given in the spacious hall. The saloon, "one of the largest and finest west of St. Louis," quickly acquired a pre-eminent reputation, serving as host to the growing number of St. Louis holiday excursion trains. In the summer of 1881, Lorenz Raus, a local builder, constructed a bowling alley as a one story ell to the rear of the building (since removed). In the spring of 1886 Pfautsch and Kuhn erected a "summer garden" on an adjacent lot (the present location of the First Bank building) where outside band concerts were a regular feature with four covered pavilions and a wooden paling fence."