A 1919 plan, written with the assistance of Harland Bartholomew, reimagined the area around Market Street and Twelfth Street following principles of the City Beautiful movement. Bartholomew and his peers envisioned a mall surrounded by municipal buildings, including a memorial to honor fallen World War I veterans. Following the approval of a bond issue in 1923, multiple blocks between Market and Chestnut Streets were cleared to accommodate the plan, displacing largely African American tenants and property owners. Seven blocks were set aside as public space and its center block was chosen as the site of the new memorial. Designed by local architecture firm Mauran, Russell & Crowell, the Neoclassical edifice, adorned by modest Art Deco details, was completed in 1938. The museum building faces a commemorative plaza, The Court of Honor, to the south. The court was designed by Eugene Mackey, Jr., and opened in 1948. In 2015 the Missouri Historical Society assumed operation of the four-acre property and assembled a team led by Mackey Mitchell Architects with DTLS Landscape Architecture to revitalize the memorial Court of Honor. The work preserved the historic character of the space while strengthening the axial relationship between building and plaza. Though separated by a street, the plinth of the memorial and the plaza are bound by shared elements, such as metal bollards and a sidewalk interlaid with granite bands. Linear sidewalks bisect the plaza which, along with mature trees and walls featuring memorial plaques, define room-like spaces along the edges of a reinforced turf lawn. A black, linear reflecting pool extends through the approximate center of the plaza and is aligned with a relatively thin, 40-foot-tall limestone pillar, designed by Hillis Arnold. The reflecting pool is complemented by a raised water feature to the north, oriented on axis with the museum and featuring fountain jets and corresponding inscriptions for five branches of the United States military.