The Sheldon, designed by the noted 1904 World’s Fair architect Louis C. Spiering, was built in 1912 as the home of the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Musicians and public speakers throughout the years have enjoyed the perfect acoustics of the Sheldon Concert Hall, earning The Sheldon its reputation as The Carnegie Hall of St. Louis. Well-known singers and ensembles have performed at The Sheldon, and speakers such as Albert Einstein, Dwight Eisenhower and Ernest Hemingway have spoken from its stage. The St. Louis Chapter of the League of Women Voters was founded in The Sheldon’s Green Room.
When the Ethical Society relocated to St. Louis County in 1964, The Sheldon became a primarily music venue. Then, in 1974, a former singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra purchased the facility, transforming The Sheldon into a church and the site for many glorious jazz and gospel concerts. A California attorney with a love for chamber music purchased the building in 1984 at the urging of the Paganini String Quartet. He began operating The Sheldon in 1986 as a venue for concerts and community events.