Thursday, August 28, 2008

Downtown Architecture, Part 1

One of the most incredible things about downtown St. Louis is its architecture. A whole lot of things got destroyed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Beautiful historic structures fell regularly to the wrecking ball, brought down with almost no debate or any resistance.

But about 20 years ago, a remarkable thing happened: People started to care. They decided that these grand old buildings did matter, and they started preserving and repurposing them. During the next few months, as long as the weather holds, I’m going to start going around regularly (OK, I already do this) – but armed with a camera to snap a few shots of these incredible beauties and whatever I can find out about them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Today, I captured the old Mississippi Valley Trust Company. On the National Register of Historic Places since 2001, the building was erected in 1896.

The Mississippi Valley Trust Company financed many early transportation and communication projects in and around St. Louis and was a major contributor to financing of the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. (Not that surprising considering that Fair President David R. Francis was also a director of the Trust.)


It later merged with Mercantile Bank and Trust.

The building was empty for several years until around the 1930s. Now an office building, it has previously housed an aircraft company, a restaurant and bar, and later, a medical clinic.

I just love the detail and craftsmanship that went into these old buildings. You just don't see too much of that today.


6 comments:

Jayne said...

Oh, I'm really looking forward to seeing your photos! In among all the skyscrapers and the ugly (in my opinion) modern buildings are some real treasures.

Ty'sMommy said...

Just beautiful! I love old architecture like that. It just amazes me the things they were able to construct back in "the day", and also makes me wonder why we don't build things that way anymore.

NV said...

Jayne - Thanks! I think it will be fun for me, too. :-)

ty'smom -- Me, too! Always been smitten with it. They don't build it like that anymore because 1) laziness, no pride in craftsmanship and 2) it would be cost-prohibitive not only for the materials, but to pay someone enough to display that kind of craftsmanship.

Ann said...

I LOVE old buildings - love love love. I've lived in many too and have always loved that as well.

notsosahm said...

I love "big city" and "old city" architecture. Nothing beats the buildings of Europe though...like in Prague and Budapest and Paris. Amazing. I can't wait to see more of St. Louis though!

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