Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Poplar Street Bridge Under Construction

If I could only go back in time and warn people about how much trouble the Poplar Street Bridge would become...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Western St. Louis County

The far western stretches of St. Louis County, now the city of Wildwood, contain some of the most beautiful vistas I have encountered, and all within a 30 minute drive of my house in the city. While there is nothing urbanist about the country, the very thing that urbanists are fighting for is not only the revival of our cities, but in tandem, the preservation of our beautiful countryside that is ever continually being swallowed by sprawl.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Beautiful Neo-Baroque Classical Chapel

In an undisclosed location on the Near North Side, I had the opportunity recently to view a truly unique chapel in a style that is not very common in St. Louis, a city of Romanesque and Gothic Revival churches. Combining elements of classical architecture with elements of 17th Century design, the chapel is stunning.Even in its ruined state, the quality of the stucco work is superbly preserved, despite the increasing threat of water damage.What is really disgusting is the looting of the beautiful marble altarpieces, shown above in a severely pillaged state. Of course, the looting didn't result in some new, beautiful work of art as the spolia of the Roman Empire often became, but rather the marble components lie shattered on the floor of the chapel, too heavy (obviously) to remove easily.The roof collapsed last May, and now the clock has begun to tick even faster.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Building Arts Foundation Mardi Gras Benefit

The St. Louis Building Arts Foundation invites you to its first ever:

Saturday, February 21 from 9AM - 9PM
2412 Menard Avenue (at Victor) in Soulard

Lola van Ella and the Bon Bons

Plus live music:
John Chiecsek
John Bonham and Friends
Jive and Wail Dueling Pianos
Red Ass Jones and the Gold Bondsmen

$30 at the door gets you in for as long as you want. We'll have food and drink available, but also cooler valet if you bring your own.

Most important, we have a restroom!

For more information, call 573-760-3161 or email Leigh at

Please help the Foundation raise money for its ongoing rehabilitation of the former Sterling Steel Casting foundry in Sauget, Illinois. Your contributions on Mardi Gras will help us keep our good work going!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

St. Augustine at Twilight

Last Saturday in the Central West End, I found myself inexorably drawn to my favorite, forlorn friend in St. Louis Place, the august St. Augustine Church. The sun was setting, people were driving insanely around me, but I made it there and snapped this photo along Hebert.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


These windows face the Metrolink tracks just before the Busch Stadium stop. I don't know if they were once part of a warehouse that faced the tunnel, or if the room was some sort of railroad office. It would be interesting to know.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Interesting Links

Various blog posts of note recently:

Dawn Griffin: Super 8 Footage of unfinished Gateway Arch and downtown

56 Houses Left: Last house in Carrollton being demolished.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Search of Alswel

In the grainy photo above, you can see my attempt to photograph one of the other legendary houses owned by the Lemp family, in this case one that looks like a giant Swiss chalet. It is unreachable due to a security gate, but you can see pictures here at the St. Louis County website. Also, the entire historic nomination file is here. Like its cousin Cragwold, up the Meramec River, Alswel represents a fascinating look into St. Louis's past, when Sunset Hills was a resort and the hideout of the city's industrialist families.Alswel sits at a strange bend in the Meramec, where it spreads out into a lake. Just like Cragwold, the best photograph I could get was from the bottomlands below the estate. The park at the bend in the river has these cool delta wing shelters.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Deteriorating House in Fountain Park

I wish I knew the story behind this house; why it is falling apart, and what it was after it was a house. Was it a funeral home? A church?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

City Affair First Event

Remember the first meeting of the new urbanist and preservationist group City Affair will meet tonight at 7:30 at Jefferson Avenue and Victor Street.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Old Roundhouse, East St. Louis

Nestled between the interstate and some railroad tracks, an old locomotive roundhouse sits in splendid isolation, hidden from the highway and the rest of East St. Louis.The interior is incredible, though rapidly deteriorating; I see the day when the roof completely collapses.I don't see this spot being cleared anytime soon; it is so isolated that it will probably remain here in some form for another one hundred years.What is cool is seeing everyday objects sitting around in the last place they were put decades ago.Also are visible are the names on office doors; the last occupants left the signs there when they left for the last time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Skyhouse Debacle Update

I walked by the site of the Skyhouse development; there's a new sign up on the fence that says "Washington Avenue Parking." I guess all the negative publicity is getting them moving.

Skyhouse Debacle Media Attention

One of my favorite columns in the Post-Dispatch, On Your Side is taking up the cause of the giant hole where the Skyhouse condos were going to go. As many of you know, historic buildings were torn down right before the development was abandoned. We'll see what happens. I'm not impressed with the local alderwoman's response--which in a strange case of gerrymandering, is also my alderwoman, even though I live several miles from downtown. I covered the hole back in April, almost nine months ago.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Big Box Blunders

Big Box stores are a symbol of bad architecture in the new millennium. While in the past department stores sometimes constructed the most beautiful buildings in a city downtown (see Railroad Exchange, Syndicate Trust, etc.) the current level of artistic achievement in large retail is abysmal. And even worse, unlike a building such as the Syndicate Trust, big boxes are not necessarily easy to convert to new uses. But people are trying; read the articles at the Post-Dispatch and Washington Post about attempts at reusing these great behemoths.

A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.