We've Moved

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

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Losing It

My goodness, I hate passing the corner of Cass and Florissant and seeing a strange mess of masonry rubble where before the Brecht Butcher Supply Company buildings stood. It's getting harder to know when I'm back home. I hate to engage in outbursts of emotion, but I feel that this problem is pretty logical: the loss of tangible landmarks erodes a living environment to the point of unfamiliarity.

Do you want to pass by daily a pile of rubble that may stay a vacant lot for years?

Do you want to look through that rubble and see intact and recognizable parts of the building?

Do you want to deal with the failure of any legal authority to protect the sanctity of place?

This was no mere run of the mill (method) building. The Brecht buildings were among the finest of the near north side's industrial buildings, and completely worth the loss of reputation I risked to defend them. Additionally, they defined the southern portal of my neighborhood, Old North St. Louis. Without them, I have a vacant lot as a grave and -- perhaps surprising -- more energy to resist the next assault on my neighborhood. I'm not angry, I'm agitated -- and that leads to action.

2 comments:

Barbara said...

I too get strangely disoriented crossing Cass these days. First there is the weird disappearance of the landmark, as our bricks are crated and transported for sale to the wealthy who can afford vintage St Louis brick. Then there is the dizzying rise in my blood pressure. I become incandescent with rage when I think that my city government has allowed incredibly wealthy developer to destroy an irreplaceable building by a process which stinks of venality and graft. We few city taxpayers are paying $42K plus to bulldoze our own landmark while Mr Paul McKee, Jr and fellow Blairmont co-owners continue to evade the community and normal Preservation Board review process. Why do we have to *pay* to get fucked over? Surely the pillaging and looting is enough humiliation. I can't drive by it and I can't not drive by -- witnessing it fuels my resolve every day to do more to save what is left.

Doug Duckworth said...

We need more green space in the City. County people won't move here. Didn't you get the memo? Paul McKee must not have CC'd you.