We've Moved

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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Side-Style Storefront Addition

As I navigate the city, I am always on the lookout for storefront additions to historic homes. Regular readers will recall some recent posts of mine celebrating the sometimes-ungainly but always-intriguing vestiges of a city teeming with commercial life. The example above is located on the 2800 block of Lafayette Avenue just east of one that I chronicled seven months ago (Just Another Vacant Building?, December 21, 2007). That example was one of the prevalent types that stand in front of the parent house.

This one here, located at 2819 Lafayette Avenue, is of the gentler type. Built on the side lot of a stately single-family residence, the one-story flat-roofed addition creates more square feet of space on one level than the sort placed directly in front. I'm sure the builder's concern was with the economy of the structure, but the end result led to an addition that left alone the lovely front elevation of the Romanesque Revival house next door, built in 1893. That move proved fortuitous, as the front elevation retains original its limestone porch, granite details and wooden windows. The addition itself, probably built in the 1930s, is complementary without being dull. Spaced courses of pale brick, a continuous soldier course over the storefront opening and a framed frieze of angled brick offer simple but forceful masonry expression. We still have dozens of these additions left, and each one is a unique compromise between cost and ambition, change and history, old and new. These additions remind us that cities are creatures built for growth, and "historic" architecture is a tangle of buildings -- including historic buildings that block other, prettier historic buildings buildings.

Your Building Here?

When the two old stucco-covered buildings at the southwest corner of Washington Avenue and 14th Street fell late last fall, few would have guessed that the site created would be an empty, open pit this summer. The buildings fell for the proposed SkyHouse project (see "SkyHouse Raising Issues," April 29, 2007). That project seemed like a sure thing. Now, the project is dead in the water, and the site is the subject of rumors of foreclosure. We may not see a new proposal for a 22-story building on the site, but hopefully this site doesn't become the Bottle District of Washington Avenue -- just the Ballpark Village.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Post-Dispatch Publishes Special Section on Historic Preservation

Yesterday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch included a special Entertainment section on historic preservation written by Diane Toroian Keaggy and David Bonetti. The section includes lists of buildings most worth preserving selected by experts like Larry Giles and Kate Shea as well as an article about the "underground" documentation efforts of myself and others. Read it all here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

God and Man in St. Louis Place

This striking urban view in St. Louis Place includes four one-story, shaped-parapet houses on Sullivan Avenue and the imposing Gothic roof line of St. Augustine's Church. This is the sort of view that doesn't happen overnight, and benefits from inherent architectural differences between forms, styles, heights and uses. The church, designed by noted ecclesiastical architect Louis Wessbecher, came first in 1896. Wessbecher also designed the majestic Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Salisbury Avenue in Hyde Park. The church served a largely working-class German parish, and its style is very influenced by North German Gothic architecture. Clearly, the church expresses the highest aspirations of the neighborhood at the turn of the last century. That aspiration has been recognized through both City Landmark and National Register of Historic Places designations.

The houses -- part of a longer row between Parnell and Lismore -- arrived in the first decade of the twentieth century. In contrast to the church, the houses were designed with great modesty by local builders. The one-story homes are mainly decorated with the shapes of the front parapets and simple tin cornices (some removed). Yet the buildings were sturdy and practical for their residents, offering a single-family home rather than a space in a tenement. The houses are not part of any historic district, locally or nationally. In this view, three of the four houses shown are owned by holding companies controlled by Paul J. McKee, Jr.

Here we have high style and vernacular, a spire reaching upward to the maker and the houses laid out low to the earth of the workaday world. While the contrast is strong, the image tells a very coherent story about the origin of this part of the neighborhood. The tale told about the future is less clear. The long-suppressed parish church has found new use as the home of a mission, but its repair needs seem extensive. The houses sit largely empty and in limbo as part of a development project with no clear parameters or timeline.

The narrative of our past that is embodied in these buildings built itself over time. All it takes is a moment for us to decide that their preservation is a worthy goal.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cut Off

Shown here is the house at 2569 Montgomery Street in St. Louis Place before its demise at the hands of brick thieves earlier this year. When I took this photograph in February, thieves had already taken down much of the western wall of the house, causing interior collapses. Not long after I took this photograph, a brick wall collapsed on some thieves working on this house and, in the ensuing attempt to dig out one of the wreckers, police arrived on the scene to ticket the "crew" with trespassing. At least, that's the word on the street -- court records don't turn up anything.

The false-mansard-faced two-story house was built in 1888, long before Parnell Avenue to its east was widened out of proportion with demands. This house stood on a block orphaned between the needless expanse of Parnell -- a formidable pedestrian boundary -- and the expansion of industries to the west that involved major street closures. The life-flow of cities and blood alike is circulation. Any part cut off from circulation eventually dies. This house ended up in the possession of Blairmont Associates in 2005. No surprise that the owners of the house next door sold to Blairmont sister company Sheridan Place in 2006.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


The row of houses at 2917-25 N. 13th Street (at center) in Old North St. Louis being painted back in 1984. (Photo from the collection of Landmarks Association of St. Louis.)

The now-vacant, city-owned row of houses at 2917-25 N. 13th Street in Old North St. Louis on December 21, 2005.

The row of vacant city-owned houses at 2917-25 N. 13th Street in Old North St. Louis on February 8, 2008. A winter storm led to the collapse of the roof of the southern building.

The row of vacant city-owned houses at 2917-25 N. 13th Street in Old North St. Louis on July 20, 2008. A mysterious fire the night before led to the collapse of the northern section.
Previous coverage: A Middle Path? (February 12, 2008)

UPDATE: The What's New In Old North blog has posted another Old North progression -- this one from decay to new life: "The History and Transformation of Old North, as seen in one building"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Lost Chance

In "Daily Dose of Blairmont #12" back in March 2008 (the daily series is now up to #137), Built St. Louis author Rob Powers presented the graceful mansard-roofed four-flat at 2341 University Street in St. Louis Place. Powers' chronicle of historic buildings in north St. Louis owned by developer Paul J. McKee Jr.'s holding companies shows us both solitary survivors and houses that contribute to groups of historic houses. This building was one of the latter -- while the block face across the street is gone, the north side of the 2300 block on University is fairly intact toward its west side.

In his blog post, Powers asked the question: "Will this row, like so much around it, become nothing more than a memory, leaving no trace of what this neighborhood once was?"

Sadly, the answer has come: Yes.

On June 9, the city's Building Division issued an emergency demolition permit for the building. Unlike many other McKee-owned buildings on the near north side, this house was protected by occupied neighboring houses. The brick thieves never arrived to carve up the fine house. Although vacant and deteriorating since at least 1989, the house was in pretty fair shape as vacant north side buildings go. The house was pretty rough when McKee's Blairmont Associates LC purchased the house from Ruth Erbschloe in 2006, but not unsound under reasonable interpretation of city code. An emergency order seems rash, even from the perspective that the house needed wrecking.

Then again, we don't have means for making very careful choices about houses like this one. The 5th and 19th wards, where McKee's holdings mostly lie, lack preservation review for demolition. Even without the questionable emergency order -- not the first in this neighborhood for a building that seemed sound under city ordinances -- there would have been little to stop this demolition, save the owner. The owner, of course, has made no plans clear. With no comprehensive plan for land use and preservation coming from either the city or McKee, much of St. Louis Place and JeffVanderLou stand in a torpor -- except that which will no longer stands. Add the house at 2341 University to the list.

What a shame this loss truly is. As Powers notes, that block is pretty solid architecturally. The house immediately to the east is obviously well-tended, retaining many original architectural features including its iron fence. Obviously, that house should be an anchor for spreading redevelopment on a block still residential in character. There are plenty of blocks in St. Louis Place where one can find large expanses for new construction. Those retaining historic residential fabric and homeowners need a careful approach we're not likely to get without a public planning process. The real "emergency" is the lack of coordination between city government, McKee and stakeholders in St. Louis Place and JeffVanderLou.

Monday, July 21, 2008

AIA St. Louis Supports Design Competition for Arch Grounds

Last week the St. Louis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects sent the following letter to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Superintendent Tom Bradley:

Dear Mr. Bradley,

On behalf of the architectural community, we wish to thank the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial for the opportunity to participate in St. Louis community open houses. We believe that the new management plan for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial presents new challenges, new possibilities and new dreams; an embodiment of the pioneer spirit seeking a better future.

Unlike other memorials preserving an historic event or an American leader(s), this national park is a tribute to change, a tribute to action and a tribute to energy. We can only image the spirit of the early pioneers as they began their westward trek for a better life. We must continue to learn from, and be inspired by, the bold spirit of the pioneers moving to a better life.
The late Architect Sam Mockbee of Auburn University (AIA Gold Honor recipient, 1995) charged architects with his mantra, Proceed and Be Bold in their work and in their lives. AIA St. Louis now forwards this mantra. We ask that the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Proceed and Be Bold.

To that end, then, we recommend that an international design competition be held to determine how the grounds can better connect to the city on the north, south, west and the river. A design competition will bring the park to the city, and the city to the park. A design competition can explore expanded programming. We found the proposals at the open houses only beginning to touch on solutions.

The Arch founds its future and its voice from an international design competition in 1947. From that competition, a wise jury selected Saarinen’s Gateway Arch. Saarinen’s program was never completed, and today the grounds and surrounding present new challenges that can be met with a design competition.

We understand that the Danforth Foundation may fund such a design competition and ultimately fund the award winning design. This opportunity must be seized with great vigor and with boldness by the entire St. Louis community. We look to the National Parks Services for bold leadership to meet this astounding opportunity.

Thank you again for the opportunity to opine. Please know that AIA St. Louis and its members welcome you to our community and we are hoping to develop a strong and collaborative relationship with you and your office.

Vanishing Bakery

Currently under demolition, an old bakery complex stands at the northwest corner of Cook and Sarah avenues inthe Vandeventer neighborhood. While not as large or as architecturally refined as some of the larger bakeries of the city, the complex here typifies the smaller bakeries that were opnce sources of neighborhood employment across the city's working-class neighborhoods.

While growing into a complex of at least four different sections, this complex had its start as a small neighborhood bakery operated out of the two-story brown brick corner building. The permit for the corner building dates to January 6, 1904, when baker F.J. Schneider (who resided nearby at 1115 S. Sarah) took out a permit for a $13,000 facility. The bakery may have been small, but that cost is not insignificant. H.F. Holke (office at 2583 Wrne Avenue) served as contractor and little-known Otto Bachner (office in the Wainwright Building) was architect. These names indicate the extent of German settlement in this part of north St. Louis.

Schneider continued to expand his operation, adding oven in 1905. The operation was called, oddly enough, the "French Bakery." In 1909, Schneider built a two-story stable on the alley side, hiring A.H. Haesseler as architect. The 1909 Sanborn fire insurance map captures this point in the bakery's history:

Here we see the bakery building at the corner, showing the first floor partitions and the three bake ovens then in place. This map shows that the block was essentially a residential block, with houses just a few hundred feet from the hot, pungent world of the bakers. However, just west of the bakery the map shows a "bottle works" operating along the alley behind a house. (That building was later incorporated into the bakery.) This mix of uses was not uncommon in the early 20th century even in well-kept neighborhoods west of Grand Avenue. Our ancestors were doing the "live-work" lifestyle long before it got any coverage in Dwell.
In 1910, Schneider again expanded, taking out a $19,000 permit for "alterations to a second-class bakery." Hartmann Building and Construction Company served as contractor. Additional permits from 1918 show installation of four more ovens and significant alterations. By 1919, the bakery was owned by Nafziger Baking Company. That company continued to expand the facility, and on February 18, 1928 took out a $42,000 permit to build a two-story addition to the west of the 1904 building, most of which is missing in my photographs. This particular bakery ended its baking days as the Taystee Bakery, operated by the American Bakeries Company.

The robust concrete-framed inudtrial buildings showed few signs of deterioration when owner Transformation Christian Church took out a permit this year for demolition. Located in the 19th Ward, which is not covered by the city's opt-out preservation review laws, the demolition was never reviewed by the Cultural Resources Office.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A New Use for the San Luis

In a St. Louis Beacon commentary, Landmarks Association President William Wischmeyer raises a possible reuse scenario for the mid-century San Luis Apartments on Lindell Boulevard: "San Luis apartments, a Modern gem, can be new again"

Post-Dispatch Editorializes on Arch Grounds

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch today editorializes on the discussion about the Arch grounds in an oddly-named article entitled "Top Shelf." What's most interesting is that alongside the Danforth plans the editorial discusses the merit of Rick Bonasch's plan for remaking Memorial Drive, with nods to Steve Patterson and myself (at least in the online version). Once more, grassroots urbanism trickles up. Usually, the ideas get the nod without their source named.

The best part about the editorial is that while welcoming Danforth's leadership it also calls for inclusion of different vision: "In short, there’s still time for sharp thinkers and innovative ideas. But they must get into the process. And they should be welcomed."

We must be doing something right.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New North Side Holding Companies Share Address With McEagle

On May 8, I reported on two new companies rapidly buying parcels in north St. Louis, Union Martin LLC and Larmer LC. While the companies are buying exclusively in the parts off St. Louis Place and JeffVanderLou where Paul McKee's companies are buying, they are registered to F & B Properties, unconnected to McKee's companies.

However, Mayor Francis Slay's July quarterly campaign finance filing reports received contributions of $1,350.00 from both of these companies. The return address reported is 1001 Boardwalk Springs Place in O'Fallon, Missouri, which is the address of McKee's McEagle Properties.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Phoenix, 14th Street

One of the most important local preservation success stories ever is unfolding at the present moment: the rescue and rehabilitation of 26 historic buildings around the 14th Street commercial district in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood. The $35 million project centers on two blocks of the commercial district closed to vehicular traffic in 1977 and redubbed the "14th Street Mall," infamous as an urban ghost town after a majority of buildings fell vacant by the 1990s, with all but two vacant by 2005.

When I first started exploring the neighborhood, contemplating the purchase of a building, the 14th Street Mall was an eerie void in the heart of a rebounding neighborhood. Rehab activity was eroding the decayed quality of many blocks in the neighborhood, but not the two blocks closed to traffic. These blocks were the exception: blocks getting worse, losing vitality and sucking it away from surrounding blocks. No part of the neighborhood seemed to be as formidable a reminder of the neighborhood's plight -- or as valuable an asset.

For years, neighbors had been trying to revive the commercial district. Without the capacity to reopen the closed streets (14th and Montgomery) and tackle a large number of the buildings at once, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group had little success at attracting development. A bid by an Atlanta developer to acquire the entire four-block mall area spurred a capacity-building partnership between the Restoration Group and the Regional Housing Community Development Alliance. The impossible became the actual. Acquisition began in 2004, and intricately-arranged financing was ready in fall 2007.

After I moved into Old North in 2005, I always spoke of the 14th Street project in the future tense. Even last summer, as the reality of the project seemed imminent, I noticed a reluctance in the neighborhood to speak about the project in the present tense. As if naming the project were a curse that would doom the ghostly landscape’s chances at revival, people remained cautious. Who could blame people?

Then, all of a sudden, at the end of September 2007, an army of contractors descended. Dozens of buildings were gutted, walls were rebuilt, fences erected and roofs removed. The whole tone of Old North changed – the dead center, 14th Street, was now the hot bed of neighborhood action. Like a phoenix, the heart of Old North began to rise. By spring 2008, a handful of historic buildings on Warren and Montgomery streets had been fully rehabbed and leased to new residents.

By the spring, the streets should be reopened and the rehabbed buildings will house 78 housing units and 6,000 square feet of retail space. The life will continue to grow. For now, even incomplete, the difference is life-affirming for this old neighborhood.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Dying House on Clinton Street

The poor old house at 1219 Clinton Street in Old North St. Louis may be headed toward the end of a long death cycle. The beautiful side-gabled brick house is one of those Federal or Greek Revival-inspired row houses that lines streets in Old North in the middle 19th century. Prior to the popularity of the Italianate and Second Empire styles in the 1870s, and with materials like tin not widely available for ornamental cornices, builders tended toward a restrained, elegant form. These houses had segmental arches or flat (sometimes arched) stone lintels over doors and windows. They were two stories with an attic in the roof. Cornices were usually simple dentillated rows or wooden boards with beading or other patterns. Mostly tenements, these houses had gallery porches in back with staircases leading to second floor flats. Amid dense blocks, with buildings attached, mouse holes opening to gangways were necessary to allow for the passage of residents to and from the streets.

Later, as the Italianate style hit the neighborhood, some builders built transitional buildings like this one. Here we have the restraint of the mid-19th century with Italianate touches like the rusticated limestone foundation and the Roman arches over the mouse hole and front door entrances. This house may date to the late 1870s or early 1880s, but it shares tendencies with homes built in the 1850s and 1890s. Furtermore, Old North has few buildings with intact mouse holes; the number may be around ten. This orphaned house tells us a lot about the stylistic evolution of vernacular architecture in Old North. Yet as the last surviving house on its block, its existence has been precious in recent years.

Battered by a major freak storm in July 2006, the house nonetheless improbably survived the next two years without further loss of walls. Sure, the house roof structure was essentially unsupported, and shifting gradually every month, but there was enough building material left to envision rebuilding. Definitely became maybe this June, when two storms led to devastating wall collapses, including all of the remaining east wall. Settling is fairly advanced with as much rain weight as has passed through the neighborhood this year.

Yet this advancd state of decay is a long time coming. The city Building Division listed the house as "vacant" since 1991. Sheila Bass, currently listed as owner of a house in the Academy neighborhood, owned the house for years before defaulting on real estate taxes; in 2005, the Land Reutilization Authority took title after there were no bids at a sheriff's sale. (Oddly, none of Paul J. McKee Jr.'s agents bid on the house.) At that point, much damage had already been done. For many years, the house was accessible through the first floor windows, left unboarded and without both sashes. A peek inside in 2004 revealed partial joist failure in the front parlor.

Many factors take a proud old house to death, but none are as powerful as water and negligence. Any one of these factors over a long enough period of time is a death sentence for an old building.

Thoughts on Ed Boxx

I don't know if prolific tagger Ed Boxx (also known as Rexx Ram or Red Foxx) is really dead, or if he faked his death as a prank.

I don't know who Ed Boxx really is, and I don't think that I know anyone who has met him in person.

I have no idea what is meant by "Get Up, Get God."

I don't know how I feel about the artist's use of historic buildings as tablets for his work. Actually, I do. I don't like it. But I don't like it a whole lot less than I don't like property owners letting their buildings deteriorate to the extent where they don't even try to clean up grafitti.

One thing that I know for certain is that this Ed Boxx piece on the dormitory buidling of St. Mary's Infirmary captures my attention and admiration. The skyline drawing, the colors, the imitation of the building's rooftop cross in the work -- this is pretty deliberate work. I'd rather not see this work on this building, but that's not the root problem. Not at all.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Historical Building for Removal"

On CraigsList. The ad shows a photo of a small front-gabled frame building with shed-roofed addition. The location is New Melle, Missouri. The cost seems to be $1: "Good 100 year old lumber including wide plank floors for the cost of removal plus $1."

Time to Revise Memorial Drive

In my latest commentary for KWMU, I join what is becoming a bandwagon call: "Time to Revise Memorial Drive".

Kudos to Rick Bonasch, whose STL Rising blog post "The Case for a New Memorial Drive" served as my inspiration.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gill Building Gets Its Due

The fate of the diminutive Gill Building at the southeast corner of Seventh and Olive streets downtown has been in question in the past few years. Originally built in 1910 and designed by St. Louis architect and builder Moritz Eyssell (but previously attributed to Kansas City architect Louis Curtiss, whose Boley Block is almost certainly the inspiration for this design), the building was part of a grouping of white Winkle terra cotta-faced building on the 600 block of Olive Street. Across the street remains the massive Railway Exchange Building, but gone are the Tower Building, the Erker's Building and one other commercial building that comprised the district. In 1978, these buildings were included in the National register of Historic Places as the Olive Street Terra Cotta Historic District. At that point, the massive Famous-Barr parking garage already dwarfed the Gill Building.

Jack Randall owned the Gill Building for years, maintaining an apartment on the upper floors. In 2002, May Department Stores abruptly closed Randall's access to the fire escape in the parking garage (the only fire escape for the building, since the footprint doesn't allow for an internal one) and started a protracted legal battle. Randall abandoned the building and put it up for sale. When May sold its assets to Federated Department Stores, I expected a new deal for the building -- and that's what came.

Mark Pitliangas, who has developed a specialty in rehabbing the narrow buildings of Olive Street (including the Eastman-Kodak Building), purchased the Gill Building earlier this year and has just completed a full exterior renovation. The white terra cotta glistens, the window sash and casements are painted and the first two floors (long since altered) are attractive. Interior work continues, with the lower floors slated for retail and the upper floors for offices. (Office and retail projects seem stable downtown amid fluctuating financing.)

The end result will be a consolation to those who have admired the graceful building. Delicate modernism -- the curtain wall, the abstract ornament that avoids classicism -- and the striking color create a building whose architectural power is greatly out of proportion with its small size. The Railway Exchange Building holds the eye, surely, but when you some upon this block the Gill Building gets the first glance.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Opportunity on Locust Street

The building at 1008 Locust street that most recently housed Blustein's Bridal Shop is for sale. Owned by Alverne Associates LC, which owns the beleaguered Alverne Building to the west, the building has been empty since 2004 when the bridal shop relocated to St. Charles. The commercial building is one of the last buildings in this part of downtown unclaimed by a serious developer. With its striking arcades, finely detailed terra cotta spandrels between the second and third floor and elegant contrasting stonework, the building is an outstanding composition in the Romanesque Revival style. The building dates to 1886, making it earlier than almost all of its neighbors and a virtual contemporary of the Old Post Office. Unfortunately, the building has never been listed in the National Register of Historic Places although it would have contributed to a downtown historic district axed in 1978.

Fortune has turned favorable for this block since 2004: Craig Heller's LoftWorks completed rehabilitation of the Delany Building at 10th and Locust, and has just announced that Left Bank Books may soon occupy its ground floor; LoftWorks is wrapping up work at the Syndicate Trust Building, which will create retail activity one block east; the long-suffering Farm and Home Building across the street is slated to be rehabbed for office space by LoftWorks; the Roberts Brothers are mulling over plans for a Hotel Indigo one block east at 917 Locust. This building won't sit on the market too long. Perhaps reuse of this building will spur a creative solution for the Alverne...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Barn Raising in Collinsville Starts Today

Starting today, the Timber Framers Guild will partner with the Collinsville Illinois Area Recreation District (CARD) and Trillium Dell Timberworks in a project to repair and re-assemble the historic 36' x 85' Gindler Barn at a TFG workshop running through July 19 at Willoughby Farm, Collinsville, Illinois.

The 19th century Gindler Barn was donated to CARD in 2007; it will be the second restored barn to be re-erected at Willoughby Farm. CARD oversees more than 400 acres of parkland and provides recreational programs and special events for the community. As part of this program, CARD purchased the 40-acre Willoughby Farm, a community fixture in the Collinsville area since the 1900s and one of the last significant tracts of open space along the Collinsville bluff line.

CARD plans to make Willoughby Farm into a living history farmstead and a real working Midwestern farm as it was in the 1920s to 1950s. Another goal is for visitors to gain appreciation for the outdoors while hiking or strolling on interpretive trails in the conservation area. The farm area is 10 acres and the conservation reserve area is 30 acres. Willoughby Farm will also demonstrate and promote sustainability practices of the era and how those same values can play a significant role in protecting the environmental investments of our present and future.

Willoughby Farm is located on a secluded hilltop farmstead 15 miles northeast of St. Louis.

More information is online here.

Friday, July 4, 2008

View of the Fireworks

From where will you be watching the downtown fireworks tonight?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mound Marker

Perhaps you have seen the rough granite stone ceremoniously placed in the limestone ring at the intersection where Howard, Broadway and Seventh streets meet on the north riverfront. Know what it is? This stone once held a plaque -- later stolen, perhaps to be scrapped at the metal yards up the street -- commemorating the famous prehistoric Big Mound. The Big Mound stood one block north at the northeast corner of Broadway and Mound Street until 1869, when it was removed to make way for industrial construction. The iconic Big Mound was 30 feet tall and 150 feet wide, and plainly visible from the Mississippi River. That mound and others helped conjure our city's nickname of "Mound City."

The new Mississippi River Bridge will not impact the site of this marker, but it will claim the site of the old mound. Federal funds ensure that archaeological mitigation work will be done, so we may have a chance at making discoveries about the mound. Meanwhile, the Mounds Heritage Trail Route will connect the north riverfront mounds with those in East St. Louis and at Cahokia Mounds. That project will include permanent markers. perhaps the plaque will return.