Thursday, August 26, 2010

Taking the Girl out of St. Louis

You can take the girl out of St. Louis. But, apparently, you can’t take St. Louis out of the girl! At least not this girl and not for very long …

We’d been in downtown Dallas all of five minutes when I started spying a variety of cool, historic architecture. We were zipping by so fast there were many I couldn’t even begin to ID, but there was this art-deco meets Spanish style design that made me whip around: The Sante Fe Building.

As we roared into the heart of the city (with our cab driver rolling at top speed) we were slowed suddenly by a street closure. It seems a TV show filming was in progress (and would be throughout the day). We were close to our destination, so we trundled out of the taxi. And I got a good look at this beauty, The Adolphus Hotel. I was immediately smitten.

Please note that the Web site DOES NOT do justice to this structure. It is GORGEOUS, particularly at the roofline. I know, because I got to see it UP HIGH. And I’m kicking myself for not having brought a camera. (It would have been a bit unprofessional though to turn all touristy in front of clients, especially ones I’ve only just met.) The shots at this site are infinitely closer to what I saw. (*pauses to kick self again for lack of camera*) I found myself staring at it every chance I got yesterday.

But back to that whole St. Louis thing …

One of my colleagues quickly noted that this particular building was built by Adolphus Busch (you know, the St. Louis beer baron) and was the tallest building in Dallas when it was built in 1912. Further, it was designed by St. Louis architects Barnett, Haynes, and Barnett – utilizing so many of the features that I have come to love on downtown St. Louis buildings! Coincidence? Maybe. (Oh. These were the same guys who designed the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis or "new Cathedral.")

I also took immediate note of the nearby The Magnolia Hotel. This gem reminded me of some of the two-tower structures in St. Louis. Built in 1921, the 29-story structure designed by British architect Sir Alfred Bossom was the first high-rise in the United States to have air conditioning, and was the city’s first skyscraper at more than 400-feet high. It was the headquarters for the Magnolia Oil Co. Never heard of it? Me either. (But you’ve no doubt heard of its descendant, I’m sure: Mobil Oil, today ExxonMobil.) It still has a restored Pegasus logo neon (from the Magnolia days, which Mobil later adopted) on the roof! I would love to have seen it at dark.

At lunch, I got to find out the name of The Kirby, a building I’d glimpsed from the taxi at top speed and was immediately captivated by. Another beautiful sight! And, yet another St. Louis connection … Turns out that “The Old Girl,” as she’s affectionately known, is considered the kid sister of The Adolphus, built just a year later in 1913, and yet another product of St. Louis architects Barnett, Haynes, and Barnett!

Is it a coincidence then that, while I acknowledged several other eye-catching historic structures, I was so drawn to these two particular buildings? Maybe.

But I don’t think so.

1 comment:

Gene said...

The Adolphus is gorgeous. Not something that immediately comes to mind when you think of Dallas. But I've only seen the airport, so most of my vision of Dallas is from the old TV series :-)