The search is on for an architect with experience in historic buildings to revamp the Red Cedar Inn building at 1047 E. Osage for use as a city of Pacific welcome and history center.

The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 2003, while the Smith family that founded the building was still operating it as a restaurant.

The city purchased the historic structure in September 2017 for $290,000.

The city has published a request for qualifications (RFQ) through newspapers and the American Institute of Architects St. Louis Chapter to begin the search for a renovation design expert.

Officials say they want a firm with a strong track record in repurposing historic structures such as the 85-year-old Red Cedar Inn building.

The building, which originally was outside the city limits, now sits at the eastern city limit on Route 66, near another historic landmark, Lars Peter Jensen’s Lookout, which is now Jensen’s Point Park.

The Red Cedar structure, which was a family restaurant for 70 years, was an icon on Historic Route 66, a favorite watering place of famous athletes and media personalities, featured on national television and promoted on European travel guides that continue to bring international visitors to Pacific.

“We have to preserve the building with as much historic accuracy as possible,” said Herb Adams, aldermanic liaison to the tourism committee which helped to fund the purchase and an outspoken advocate for the structure.

“This is the ideal location for the tourism commission and history group to take their place providing vital city services,” Adams said.

Members of the city tourism commission and museum genealogy committee have been working together to design a plan for the best use of the space.

Former Mayor Jeff Titter, who created the history museum, Tourism Commission President Dennis Oliver and Washington Historical Society Director Marc Housman will serve on the space planning committee.

“The idea is make this a meaningful visit for people coming into the building,” Titter said.

At the same time, the city is putting together an application for a grant from the St. Louis County Municipal Parks program for financial assistance in improvements to the building.

Roth said aldermen would see a draft application at the Aug. 21 meeting. Deadline for the final application is Aug. 31.

The St. Louis County Municipal Parks program previously awarded two grants to the city of Pacific to be used for the purchase of Jensen’s Point and to improve the site as a city park.