We've Moved

Ecology of Absence now resides at www.preservationresearch.com. Please change your links and feeds.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Some news today.


Masons are working quickly to close up the holes in the Syndicate Trust Building. Meanwhile, the Century basement is entirely excavated. The parking garage will sit on the basement floor, which will not be removed. So some part of the 1897 building will live on for the 60 years it will take for the parking garage replacement to collapse.

Oh, and the renderings of the replacement garage continue to show less and less detail. Perhaps the plan is to make the Old Post Office look better by building the ugliest downtown garage ever next to it.


Wreckers recently demolished the two-story storefront building directly north of Uncle Bill's Pancake House on South Kingshighway. The little building, respledent with braided terra cotta columns and other details, was the only traditional storefront building remaining between Connecticut (near Arsenal) and Beck (near Chippewa) streets. The building fell for a an expansion of the Uncle Bill's parking lot. Across the street, QuickTrip is building yet another new location.


A new Big Lots has opened in the once-moribund plaza at Kingshighway and Devonshire, behind the Department of Motor Vehicles office.


Arch City Chronicle reports that both Payless and OfficeMax in the St. Louis Marketplace are closing.


I love the one-story bungalows lining Kienlen Avenue north of Martin Luther King Boulevard. They are sturdy and simple, and due to road expansions now sit almost directly on the sidewalk line.


I am spotting lots of paired Irene Smith for Mayor and Darlene "Unopposed" Green for Comptroller signs, including some in Shaw. In Ward 19, the pair often gets a third wheel -- Re-Elect Michael McMillan for Alderman signs.


Steve Patterson posted an informative update on the shuttered Western Lanes bowling alley in his campaign blog. Steve in running for aldermen of the alley's ward, 25, in the Democratic primary. If he wins the primary, he'll be the next alderman, because no other parties have any candidates. Don't forget to vote for him -- in just eleven days!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Redlining: It's not just for banks anymore!

Tonight, Michael and I tried to get a pizza delivered, since Michael is painting our kitchen today and thus it's temporarily out of commission. Michael was tired from a day of painting, and I was tired from work and the Forest Park Southeast Community Council meeting I'd just participated in. We were both very, very hungry. We figured pizza delivery was pretty much our only option, since Michael was absolutely covered in paint and I can't drive.

I called Vito's Pizza, located at 3515 Lindell (Lindell and Grand). I asked, "Do you deliver to 4462 Swan?" They said that we are outside of their delivery area. When I told Michael, he said that Vito's had advertised that they'd deliver anywhere in the city when they opened.

I called the Domino's located at 4583 Laclede. I asked, "Do you deliver to 4462 Swan?" They said that they do not deliver here after dark.

I called the Imo's located at 4479 Forest Park. I asked, "Do you deliver to 4462 Swan?" They said no.

I called the Cecil Whitaker's Pizza located at 226 N. Euclid. I asked, "Do you deliver to 4462 Swan?" They said no.

I would have liked to have called more places, partially in hopes of actually getting that pizza delivered, and partially just to find out which places won't serve my neighborhood, but I was too tired and hungry to go on with that. Thankfully, our downstairs neighbor Kim kindly drove me to go pick up a pizza from Imo's. Kim also told me a couple of interesting things. She said that a pizza delivery man was beat up very badly and had $65 stolen from him a couple of years ago on Norfolk, which is the next street south from Swan. She also said that years ago, she'd tried to get a pizza delivered here when her car was broken and she was very hungry, but she called and called and nowhere would deliver here. She told her son DJ, and he asked her with concern and sadness, "If no pizza places will deliver here, will Santa deliver here?"

The story of the pizza delivery man getting beat up is very sad and does partially explain why no one will deliver here, but still, I can't help feeling rather hurt to discover that pizza places won't send their delivery people onto my block. After I hung up from talking with Domino's and being told that they don't come here after dark, I found myself shouting "Some of us have to live here after dark!" And, of course, that's my reaction as an adult. DJ's reaction--wondering if even Santa would come to his block--is more telling. These companies ought to think about the hurtful message they're sending to the people who live in a neighborhood when they refuse that neighborhood service. We have feelings just the same as anybody else, and just like anybody else, we have to eat.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Some News Today

Moving Westward

Employees at the now-shuttered Western Lanes bowling alley at Gustine and Bingham in south St. Louis have told us that workers are removing its wooden lanes. These lanes will appear later this year at a new bowling alley at the St. Louis Mills Mall, located in west Bridgeton on the flood plain near the I-370 and I-270 interchange.

Needless to say, it will be awhile -- if ever -- we get to use those lanes again.

Hopefully the removal won't doom the venerable alley, the city's last remaining full-sized bowling alley until its closure at the end of January. I know that Western suffers from a discrete location, but good advertising and strategically-placed signs on nearby Gravois Boulevard could really help bring the place to people's attention if it reopens. A good remodeling wouldn't hurt, either, but I'd rather have prices low than fancy decor.

One rumor had a towing company buying the Western Lanes building and its huge parking lot, but the employees say that's not going to happen.

Bright Minds

Kudos to Rodney Burchfield, running for alderman in Ward 17, and Steve Patterson, running for Alderman in Ward 25. Both candidates are running thoutful, well-organized campaigns that are gaining ground rapidly.

Rodney has raised his profile with the launch of great new yard signs, T-shirts and a website. He's been meeting people door-to-door and at many small events, including a meeting today at La Dolce Via Bakery on Taylor Avenue. This meeting was hosted by state representatives Maria Chappelle Nadal and Rachel Storch (our representative, we're proud to report) and drew attendance from school board member Veronica O'Brien, Ward 17 Green Party Committeeman Don DeVivo and many Forest Park Southeasters. The tone was causal but the talk of issues -- eminent domain abuses, lack of affordable housing-for-purchase -- was serious.

Steve Patterson has been working his ward -- walk or drive down Grand Boulevard and see his signs, one after another -- and also spoke at a great event at Gallery Urbis Orbis downtown on Friday. That event drew together some of the city's leading urbanists and cultural movers-and-shakers and accomplished the goal of emphasizing the importance of Steve's campaign to the entire city.


How exactly did Rollin Stanley get to be the head of the St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency?

Pevely Cares -- And So Does Bellon

The Pevely Dairy is completing tuckpointing and brick replacement on its landmark plant at Grand and Choteau. Meanwhile, Don Bellon is painstakingly rebuilding the front wall of a storefront building in the 4100 block of Manchester in Forest Park Southeast. Slowly, the Choteau/Manchester corridor rejuvenates.

Friday, February 4, 2005

The end of the Century (correction)

My mistake on that last post--there's still a little bit of the Century left, though last night was a pretty significant loss (complete with rivets popping out by themselves). Tonight will be the last night that any of it's left above basement level. Rumor has it that some of the developers who were instrumental in its senseless and heartless destruction will be in attendance to watch and celebrate their "victory."

We encourage you to come watch, too. The Century is bounded by Olive, 9th, and Locust. We think wrecking will start some time after 5pm to accomodate the developers' schedules, though we're not sure. Tonight there will be lots of gallery openings downtown, so there'll be plenty to see while you wait.

Come say your goodbyes to the last of this structurally innovative, beautiful piece of downtown. We suggest wearing black to show that you're mourning.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

This is forever.

The very last piece of the Century Building fell down about ten minutes ago.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

EoA shows photographs at CAMP this weekend

InFlux10: Possessed / Dispossessed takes place this weekend with a wide array of performers (five bands, three DJs), visual artists, a movie and organic food.

All funds raised go to the St. Louis Indymedia and the Community Arts and Media Project (CAMP).

Ecology of Absence will be exhibiting photographs of an abandoned shopping mall by Michael R. Allen and Claire Nowak-Boyd.

When: Saturday, February 5 from 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Where: CAMP, 3026 Cherokee (at Minnesota)

Suggested donation: $7

More info: 314-776-1721 or www.stlimc.org

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Targeted revitalization

From the St. Louis Business Journal:

Regional housing alliance planning two new projects

"[Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance's] commitment to community improvement through partnerships with local redevelopment agencies has led to an affiliation with Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Forest Park Southeast Development Corp. The three have teamed up in an effort to revitalize the Old North St. Louis and Forest Park Southeast neighborhoods through a project called CONECT St. Louis, which stands for Coalition of Neighborhoods Effecting Change Together. The project plans include a combined 59 apartment units in 22 buildings, as well as more than 100 single-family for-sale homes throughout the two neighborhoods."

Guzzardo's folly?

In today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Eminent domain takes life's work

Our correspondent says:

This is yet another example of upper class condescension towards those who make up the true fabric of our nation. It reminds me of what is currently in the works for a twenty- building stretch of neighborhood along Loughborough Avenue, adjacent to Carondalet Park. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, it is not a depressed sector of the city. On the contrary, the homes are beautiful, stable and well-kept. Yet all twenty homes will soon face the wrecking ball to make way for a strip-mall. Right across from one of the city's finest parks. Won't that be lovely?
But back to the original subject...

The Post article stated "Grand Center's vision has the area becoming the 'cultural soul' of the city, a residential and commercial district that will rival the Delmar Loop and Central West End." Is that truly what St. Louis needs? Another Loop? Another CWE? It seems like the vision here is for an eventual Great Corridor of Merchandise- A miles-long strip mall stretching from the disco meat markets of Washington Avenue all the way to Clayton. Petit-Bourgeouis playpen, anyone?

I for one would rather know that there's a well-established independent auto-shop close by.

- jason wallace triefenbach