Our History


In 1952, John J. Smith Sr. came back from Korea, and started work repairing furnaces at Scullin Steel Mill on Manchester. Not long after, John became a masonry apprentice at Elam Masonry, where he completed his apprenticeship, became a journeyman, and eventually became Vice President. In 1975, he split off from Elam Masonry to pursue his own business, and incorporated John J. Smith Masonry in 1977. He worked out of his basement, laying the groundwork for the years to come. 

The first big break that John J. Smith Masonry had was to complete a Shoney's on Manchester Road at Hanley in 1975. This initial project allowed for a series of amazing work. In 1977, John J. Smith was completing his apprenticeship at Elam Masonry. He joined John J. Smith Masonry full time in 1978, doing payroll in the basement in the evenings and laying brick during the days. 

The 1980s brought new work with greater opportunities, including the first projects completed for Washington University, as well as the repair and redesign of Union Station in St. Louis. John J. Smith Sr., as President and CEO, continued to grow the company, and John J. Smith became foreman, and as the new decade approached, he became the riding boss. During the 90s, the company was proud to become one of the top 10 masonry contractors in the nation, completing Ameren World Headquarters, Greybar, and Boatman's Bank. In 1996, Ed Smith joined the company as Vice President, starting off as an estimator and moving on to the management of the financial/administration end of John J. Smith Masonry. 

As we entered the new millennium, John J. Smith took over the Presidency, with John Sr. maintaining his role as CEO, and Ed as Senior Vice President. Our work has continued at Washington University, and we have completed work in every industry, including:


  • Commercial
  • Educational
  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Community
  • Financial
  • Industrial
  • Sports
  • Corporate
  • Governmental
  • Religious
  • Transportation
  • Correctional
  • Health Care
  • Restaurant








In 2002, the next generation started at John J. Smith Masonry. Brian Smith, John J. Smith's son, started at the company. As of 2013, Brian has become the riding boss. 

With a team that includes our CEO, President, Sr. Vice President, five office staff, our riding boss, fifteen foremen, and more than 60 bricklayers and 30 laborers, we are proud of our history and our people. We truly believe that the essence of quality is teamwork.