Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Fix for the Architecture Junkie

I didn’t get to roam around Monday on Opening Day and missed out on all the fanfare of the kick-off to baseball season and a perfectly gorgeous afternoon. Yesterday, I made up for it and did something even better. (Well, better in the mind of a person who is totally into historic architecture.)

Camera in hand, walking shoes on, brain swirling with info from work, I took to the streets on a sunny, 80-degree afternoon. My first stop: St. Louis Centre. I got a quick glimpse of the gutting job going on inside it.
There was some irony in that roughly 25 years ago, I watched them build this failed shopping center. A multi-story structure that linked two older and anchor department stores, Famous-Barr (now Macy’s) and Dillard’s (formerly Stix, Baer and Fuller – and now many years vacant).

Now I’m watching them tear it down. Or, if the sign in the left-hand corner of this photo is to believed, I’m watching them convert it into a parking garage with, potentially, some ground-level retail space.

A little more irony here as "parking garage" is usually the plan after felling a historic building in downtown St. Louis. Thankfully, that’s not the case here.

Then, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for months. I walked up to Washington and pointed my camera straight up to the cornice level of the old Stix building (c.1905). This poor, neglected old structure. It sure has some majestic touches tucked away up top. It’s a shame there’s nothing else going on with it.

Fortunately, the same cannot be said a few blocks away at the Arcade Building and adjacent Paul Brown building. There is supposed to be work under way there to turn them into lofts. The state of the economy may have scuttled that. I need to check.)

There’s some evidence that there is work going on but I didn’t notice any activity. In this shot of the Paul Brown building, it’s worth noting that, reflected in the windows are two historic gems in their own right: the Chemical Building and the Old Post Office. The latter underwent a dramatic renovation/restoration in the early ‘80s. (I watched that go on, too … along with the exceptionally good-lookin’ construction workers that seemed to overpopulate that site. But I digress.)

I grabbed images of a few other places on my mid-afternoon journey and I’ll get around to sharing those soon. The place I spent the most time though won’t be mentioned yet either. It’s a truly inspirational spot and one definitely worthy of one of my historical blog entries. (And one that I'm now aware I may have missed an entire spectacular side of. IDIOT!) Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get around to documenting it. Watch for it!

In the meantime, hope you enjoyed my little walking tour.


Mama Martha said...

Loved the pics and your commentary. That eagle at the top of the Stix building looks suspiciously like something MG was trying to create at a crop!

Liz said...

I love these posts. Such great old architecture and insight!

NV said...

MM -- Thx! And you're right. It kinda does. :-)

Liz -- THANKS! Always glad when others enjoy this as I do. These buildings are too beautiful. (What they've managed to not DESTROY in the last 25 years or so ... :( )