Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Union Station, Interior

Wow, it's been a while but Union Station's mall is just about empty. What were once Dierdorf and Harts and a bookstore now sit empty. Abandonment is sort of like a snowball; if it starts rolling it can be hard to stop the momentum.But on a happier note, the hotel is still just as stunningly beautiful as it has always been since its renovation. The side lobby still elicits the same sense of style that it had a hundred years ago.The detailing, with its gilding and Romanesque Revival elements are still crisp and clean.The lighted floor, which my father said were once common throughout the United States, still impresses me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Union Station

I've always been impressed with the exterior of Union Station, a grand edifice that sits on what was once Chouteau's Pond, as well as Mill Creek.Once the busiest train station in the world, it is much more quiet nowadays. I let the limestone, Richardsonian Romanesque Revival building speak for itself.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Southern Tower Grove East

I've always been a little confused about Tower Grove East; it seems like it developed relatively late compared to other neighborhoods just across major avenues like Gravois.But I love all the different textures and surfaces in this neighborhood, whether it's just different colored glazes or different shapes of red brick.I suspect a lot of the customization was finalized a couple of days or even hours before the individual bricks were laid, probably the decision of the bricklayer himself sometimes.It results in truly unique architecture, and no two buildings in the city are perfectly alike, if seemingly homogeneous at a quick glance.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lever Soap Factory, Pagedale

I'm trying to find out more about the abandoned soap factory in Pagedale off of Pennsylvania Avenue. Did you or someone you know work there? Know anything about its history? I learned that it was only abandoned in 2001 when Lever "streamlined" its operations worldwide, after being in use for approximately fifty years.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Look at Gravois Park #3

Gravois Park shows different eras of buildings, from the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century. Below, these three houses demonstrate how the passage of time causes each house to slowly individualize even though they were built at once.Other buildings are clearly the same design structurally, but were individualized while being built.
The result is a sense of architectural unity while at the same time each building has its individuality.While red brick predominates on the front of buildings, tan and other colored brick begins to sneak onto the streets.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Look at Gravois Park #2

There's something elegant about the simplicity of Gravois Park architecture; clean lines and some ornament create beautiful houses in this neighborhood.Trees obscure the facades of many buildings, but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. The green contrasts perfectly against the red brick.I'm fascinated by faded signs on the side of brick walls; it's fun to see if you can figure out what it once said.I remarked one time that it's interesting that the architecture in general doesn't reflect German or Irish tastes in architecture, but instead conforms more to the prevailing style of America at the time. Perhaps the process of assimilation had already begun, just years after these immigrants built Dutchtown.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Look at Gravois Park #1

Gravois Park features some beautiful architecture, and was once known as the northern part of Dutchtown, hence the old, battered signs that say "You are in Dutchtown" in this neighborhood.I love the house above; if you look closely, you can see there is a portrait bust of a bearded man in the terracotta medallion on the upper portion of the facade.No neighborhood in the city would be complete without a corner store, and this area features many, including this one which is in the process of being renovated.I also really enjoy the multi-family residences on the block, such as these two buildings with Arts and Crafts elements.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Punctuated by churches throughout the neighborhood, Carondelet remains one of the most intact and stable areas of the city.Churches range in style, from simple Gothic Revival to more elaborate styles.It's cliche, but Carondelet really does feel like its own separate city, with the obvious note that it once was until I believe the 1870's.It seems like every architectural style in the city can be found on every block, unlike the rest of the city where you tend to find a more homogeneous, if still beautiful, streetscape.The Italianate house above sits just down the street from the more sturdy and square shotgun house below.The street wall undulates back and forth, as different eras and attitudes about the proper distance from the street mix together in a strangely harmonious manner.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Patch, or Southern Carondelet

An eclectic area of South City, the government calls this area Patch. However, many people I talk to simply consider this Carondelet, if the very southern tip of it.Shotgun houses are everywhere, as well as common four family flats you might find in Dutchtown.However, there are older buildings which reflect Carondelet's history as one of the oldest parts of the city.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eisele's Black Forest/El Lenador

Do you remember dining at the Black Forest back in the day, or any of the old German restaurants in South City? I'm interested, as there really doesn't seem to be much of a written record for these vanished but venerated institutions.

Friday, August 19, 2011

River Bottoms, St. Charles County

Some parts of the metropolitan region will never be developed hopefully. I had spotted this swath of river bottom north of the Missouri River from Google Maps in the past, and last weekend we drove out and took a look around.Despite having hundreds of thousands of people living around this river bottom, you'd think you're out in the country considering how isolated it is. I hope it stays this way, since river bottoms inevitably flood, so agriculture is the best use of the land.

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