The Restoration Natatorium

The Restoration Natatorium is an event space located at 2nd & Francis in the heart of beautiful, historic St. Joseph, MO.

Fueled by sweat equity and some very determined hands, the historical importance of the space has been uncovered layer upon layer. There’s the Abe Lincoln connection, and consequently, a link to the Civil War. The space is at the exact launching point for hundreds of thousands of bold Westward expansionists, who gathered supplies and set out on the nearby river water from the very same block. There are ties to many early innovators and businesses, including a conveyor belt that ran underneath the alley connecting the neighboring warehouse.

One of the most uncommon features of the 117 Francis property is its conversion in 1897 to an indoor swimming pool, a truly rare and spa-like indulgence for the time period. Called a natatorium, the pool was 40 x 100 feet and held 280,000 gallons of water pumped straight in straight from the nearby Missouri River for a rollicking-good swimming experience. There were ropes, trapezes and swings all around the rafters. Tell-tale hand-written signs still exist today, such as “Everyone must take a shower bath before entering the pool” and the line markers of several different heights of water. Just west of the building was the Planters House Hotel, and the two were some of the first three-story buildings in the city.

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