Monday, April 30, 2012

Rock Hill Presbyterian Demolition Continues

The demolition of Rock Hill Presbyterian continues, and the windows have now been removed and presumably stored for safe keeping.
The apse of the church has been removed, but I do not know if that was constructed of stone or not, judging from the foundations below where it once was.
The interior of the church is now visible, and the smell of old wood permeates the area.
I thought they said they're saving the stones, but there are dozens of stones tossed around the site. There is no sign of pallets, where the stone could be stacked safely.
The lintels above the windows have been removed as well, though I don't know if those are going to be saved either. I'm starting to suspect the rebuilding out in Warren County is going to be a far cry from the original church.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Northwest Plaza Famous Barr

Besides the Fairview Heights and South County stores, the Northwest Plaza Famous Barr is the third of the remaining signature domed departments stores.
Much ado has been made of the enclosure of the original outdoor mall, but it is interesting to see that the anchors at the mall changed very little on the exterior.
I'm fascinated by the concrete forms on the side of the store. Was it always painted white, and there was bare concrete originally?
Sadly, very few pictures seem to exist of the mall in its heyday, which is a shame, because I have fond memories of walking around in its courtyards.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Grand Viaduct Nearing Completion

I don't know what to say about the new Grand Viaduct, as I don't plan on every using it, as despite all the expense, the exit off of Highway 40 will remain just as dysfunctional as before. And I assume the traffic will be just as bad.
And sadly, I have a feeling it will be torn down in fifty years anyway, all of its pseudo-historical elements and blocks of styrofoam.
Maybe then I'll be able to snap a picture of the old original bridge's stone left in situ under the roadbed on the north side of the bridge.
I know one thing for sure; Chouteau and Grand will remain vacant, devoid of life, nothing more than sewers spewing traffic on either side of the bridge.
One of my few vices is battered fish, so I stopped in the Captain D's; the staff was very friendly and implored me to post their picture on the internet. I sat and chatted with the staff for a couple of minutes; they were sad to hear the Pevely Building was being demolished as well. Behind the facade of that decadent Cape-Cod Revival fast food restaurant is some real heart.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pevely Dairy, Coming Down

The Pevely Dairy complex is being torn down, though you might not necessarily see it from Grand.
In fact, the street facade is still perfectly preserved until SLU gets the necessary demolition permit, so perhaps there is still a chance they'll see the light.
The office building isn't the perfect urban building, but replacing the glass block windows with better windows would go a long way to making it look much better.
In the meantime, go enjoy the uniqueness of this structure, from the white bricks forming the Pevely name on the smokestack... the little patches of green terracotta high up on the parapet of the office building.
When the new Grand Bridge opens this year, commuters will not have to worry about any pesky buildings blocking sight lines at the corner, and can confidently fly around the corners with little worry of anything coming--certainly not pedestrians, other than the few unlucky souls who transfer buses at this most forlorn corner.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Old Deaconess Hospital

There's not much left of the original facade of the old Deaconess Hospital on Oakland Avenue, slated for demolition if the sale of the property to the zoo proceeds.
There is still this nice nurses' wing, I believe, that could be reused by the zoo. It looks like it's in good shape, and has architectural merit.
My favorite part of the hospital is the row of three nurse statues that line the corridor that links the hospital with the west wing above.

The rest of the hospital site is definitely looking worse for wear. The glass box office building, to be saved for the zoo's expansion, is still in good condition.
It's a shame the building is being torn down, but I must say that I believe the zoo would be a good steward of the property. Forest Park lost many, many acres of land to Highway 40, and I see no reason why the park can't spread south a little, into space that has been institutional for close to a century. Less surface parking would be nice, if the zoo could alter its plans for the site.
And the saving of the two iconic towers would be a welcome sign from the zoo as well.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rock Hill Presbyterian Being Destroyed

Time has run out for the historic Rock Hill Presbyterian, and the wrecking crews have arrived and have already largely demolished the 1950's Sunday School wing to the east of the church.
Honestly, having attended church in this building in the 1980's, that is not really any big loss; it was a classic example of "sick building syndrome" and detracted from the simplicity of the original rock church.
As of Saturday, the original stone church, renovated after a fire in the 1930's was still largely untouched, the stain glass windows in place; whether there is any interior demolition occurring I do not know.
So apparently a winery owner has bought the church, and it will be disassembled and moved to Warren County. Sounds good, but the original church will be gone; only its stones, moved to a new site and placed in different positions, will remain. The new church will be nothing more than a pastiche of the original structure. My favorite line from the Post-Dispatch article is this:

"But no one had anticipated that [the church] would be so expensive to move."

It's made out of stone! How easy did you think it was going to be?! The whole thing stinks, and I want to know what was really behind this whole deal to build this gas station. What is the IQ of the Rock Hill city council?
The aspect of the whole U-Gas proposal that mystifies me the most is the seemingly inhospitable lay of the land where this gas station will now go. As you can now see more easily, the site is actually a giant hollow, buffeted on the west by a giant retaining wall that holds up McKnight Road. Surely huge amounts of fill will have to be brought in to make the site usable as a gas station.
By the way, it bears repeating; there is a gas station a grand total of maybe 500 feet from the new gas station. How would you like to be the owner of that place?
And even more infuriatingly, there is a dumpy, run-down strip mall across the street. Geez, do you think that maybe the gas station--or even the church--could have possibly been moved there?
So in a couple of weeks, the "city" of Rock Hill (I use that term loosely) will still have one run-down strip mall and one less incredibly historic church. Does it make sense to you?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

McRee Town Doorway

I never get tired of this perfectly painted corner doorway on Tower Grove East just south of Vandeventer.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Grade School, Castle Point

I was actually impressed with the Castle Point neighborhood; it has stunning mature trees and overall well-maintained properties.
Unfortunately, the travails of the River Gardens School District is still always present.
This school was a religious school until last year, when it apparently when out of business.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chinese Restaurant, Hazelwood.

Back in the day, this splendid restaurant was the place to get Chinese food in Hazelwood. Nowadays, it sells granite sculpture imported from China.

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