It provides a convenient and bright location outside for students to eat and occasionally hold classes. There are also a number remembrances to donor contributions in the court.
Stephen Ridgley was born on July 26, 1806 in England and moved to the U.S. at the age of 10. He entered the lamp manufacturing business of William Carleton of Boston in 1830.
After working as a laborer for some time, he moved to St. Louis — after visiting the area a few years earlier — and started his own business, Webb, Chapin and Ridgley. After a year he bought out his partners and joined with Aloner Stone of Lexington, Massachusetts. Stone withdrew eight years later, and Ridgley continued for another couple of years.
When Ridgley retired in 1850, he had accumulated a considerable fortune. In 1866 he was elected State Senator, and served as Chairman of his Senatorial Delegation throughout his term. He gave $76,000 to Washington University for the construction of a fireproof library, Ridgley Hall. He died in May 1892.