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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Maybe Uncle Bill's Didn't Need More Parking

In the two years since Uncle Bill's Pancake House on South Kingshighway demolished the two-story brick commercial building to its north -- you know, the one with the weird braided polychromatic terra cotta columns -- for additional parking, I have seen someone park in the expanded lot area maybe three or four times. Mostly when I pass by, the cleared and paved lot is an empty black plain striped with white lines that would serve a purpose if ever more than one car parked there.

10 comments:

DeBaliviere said...

That building does not ring a bell. You wouldn't happen to have a picture, would you?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this will help...

It was the one that had all the white tiger and Aztec-themed area rugs hanging from display racks in front of the building.

Remember?

Anonymous said...

I guess you never go to Uncle Bill's on a weekend morning for breakfast or brunch.

Michael Allen said...

Even on weekends, the new lot area is rarely filled. Of course, exceptionally busy times will draw excptionally large amounts of patrons. I'm not sure why anyone would consider it appropriate for a restaurant to build extensive surface parking based on its customer volume two days a week, when an easier solution would be to have re-introduced metered parking on Kingshighway.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they learned from suburban retailers who build parking lots big enough for the day after Thanksgiving.

Thomas said...

At one point, that building housed an Italian restaurant. I remember eating there a couple of times as a kid. Though I may be way off on this, it may've been the original location of Grassi's.

On the other hand, I never bought a tiger-striped rug there.

Lana Jacobs said...

Back in the 50's that building was a neighborhood bar.I lived in the 2nd floor apartment with my mom for a few months in 1963.
Lana Jacobs

Tom Duda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom Duda said...

The loss of this building saddens me primarily because its form, in center of the block between Uncle Bill’s and the small automotive shop to the north, was as striking as it was discomfiting.

Long before I even knew what historic preservation was, I remember admiring the building’s south fa├žade, which had a recessed section of the second floor wall punctuated by double hung windows. “What a unique feature,” I thought at the time…

Before long, I would go to a middle and high school that required me to pass the building twice each day, giving me an opportunity to ponder its meaning while stuck in the then-unsynchronized Kingshighway traffic.

Years later, while stopped at the traffic light at Bates and Grand, I looked over at a comparable commercial building to the west and something clicked. The recessed second floor light well originally served as a cavity in the building’s party wall, allowing light to enter the its second floor interior!

Each time I passed the building, I came to understand it, and the historical development of Kingshighway, through increasingly comparable revelations at the same time the building fell into worse states of repair.

Just as I finally accepted its significance as a Landmark, the structure disappeared from the St. Louis landscape, taking with it the questions that culminated my years of drive-by analysis:

Was the building an anachronism? Are its extant contemporaries on the west side of Kingshighway on the block north of Chippewa and adjacent to Southtown Center? What about nearby car dealerships? Uncle Bill’s itself? Later fast food restaurants? Or is the biggest of all a policy that accepts demolition in order to construct useless, anti-urban and anti-human parking facilities?

Yeah, it was just one building, but it had the potential to shape our understandings of so many more.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Bills is a Terrible place to work for. The Korean owner who has owned the place for 20 years is VERY RUDE to his employees. If you work 8 hours a day as a Cook or Dishwasher,You are not allowed to take a break because you haven't anyone to fill in for you.Uncle Bills can Justify their butts if the Labor Dept hears about it & checks it out by saying"No The employees can take a break,All they have to do is clock out which we all know is bullshit! Weekend nights are filled with nothing but drunk asses that Puke all over the tables,Bathrooms., Fistfights between the customers,Besides all of the walkouts are a common problem, As Uncle Bills hasn't any Security to Keep The Peace & Protect their Employees. Uncle Bills has been sited with a Nuisance Order because they're to cheep to hire Security.I suggest you eat at Chris's Pancake House.As a Waitress here at Uncle Bills, I can assure you that you will get a Sincere Smile, Great Service,& you will do us justice because as an employee/Waitress at Uncle Bills? When we see you walk through our door? We really wish you would go some other place. I know i need the tips as a Waitress? But with todays economy & the way the Korean owner treats us.Who really wants to smile at you so he can get richer! Thanks