Hunleth Music Company (1901-1974) | University of Illinois Archives
Frank J. Hunleth opened the Hunleth Music Co. in St. Louis, MO in 1901, at the encouragement of his son, Joseph F. Hunleth. Frank Hunleth had been the successful proprietor of a foundry, but found equal success in the music business. Originally located at 9 South Broadway, The Hunleth Music Co. soon moved to a larger building at 516 Locust St, where it remained for 40 years. The store was comprised of five floors of musical instruments and sheet music, making it an important hub for the music trade in the Midwest. Joseph Hunleth, who inherited the business from his father, traveled to Europe yearly to buy music and instruments for the store. The store was also the gathering site for many well-known musicians, such as Frits Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman, Yehudi Menuhim, and Rudoplh Gantz. In its heyday the Hunleth Music Co. had over a million copies of sheet music, and the largest collection of 78-rpm records in St. Louis.
In 1952, the store moved to 415 North Broadway, where it remained until it closed in 1974. It was demolished to make way for the Mercantile Center, a redevelopment project that was never completed. The University of Illinois purchased nearly 750,000 pieces of sheet music and 78-rpm records upon the Hunleth Music Co.'s closure.