We've Moved

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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mullanphy Emigrant Home Hit Again

The Mullanphy Emigrant Home in Old North St. Louis sustained more damage during today's severe storm and accompanying gust. The biggest damage fell on the south section of the primary (east) elevation, adjacent to the south elevation that collapsed last year; that section collapsed from roof to foundation. (See photograph above.) The north elevation also partly collapsed. (See photograph below.)

The collapse of the east elevation is most damaging because the building's joists run perpendicular and are tied into the wall. Without temporary bracing between floors recently, the joists would have had no support and would have failed completely.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Where is Gaslight Square?

After work, I headed over to the Metropolis-sponsored reading from Gaslight Square: An Oral History by my friend Thomas Crone. The experience was unique, to say the least: Thomas narrated his own reading with stories about the making of the book along with bits of history and gossip that did not make it through. His presentation summoned forth ideas about a history with a palpable intangibility. After all, the reading took place in one of the new houses on Olive Street that sits on the site of long-gone building where the famous events went down. Through the windows of the new house, all one can see are other new houses occupying the sites of building vital to one of the most culturally formative stages in St. Louis' recent past. (The exception is the brick building that once housed Ben Selkirk & Sons auction house, newly rehabbed at the southeast corner of Whittier and Olive.)

Listening to Thomas invoke the history of this place in its stunningly reference-stripped incarnation gave me great appreciation for his work. While his account is not a thorough narrative of the events that went down, it is an essential record of impressions, memories, ideas and connections between his interview subjects and one place that doesn't even seem like itself anymore. Without buildings or other landmarks, an urban place could very well die in collective memory over time. Those who directly experience a place during a particular incarnation won't live forever, after all.

However, with Gaslight Square there is an enduring key to a place otherwise lost. Even away from the place itself and the author's voice, the book offers a chance to help us know where Gaslight Square is -- in many senses. Thank goodness the book exists!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Years Later, Sidewalks Still Dark

In the early 1960s, St. Louis began switching from shorter single- or double-globe street lights to taller "cobra-head" mercury vapor lights. Apparently, the new lights were not well-received by pedestrians. According to "Plaza Square Street Lights Leave Sidewalks in the Dark", an article in the October 23, 1960 issue of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, new lights around the Memorial Plaza area and other parts of the city increased light in the streetways while short-changing sidewalks. The new lights were also at 400 watts, replacing those of 500 watts.

"All agree that under the city's new street-lighting system, streets in residential areas may be somewhat lighter but sidewalks definitely are darker," states the article. Concerns raised by the darker sidewalks included increased danger of holdups and low visibility to motorists of pedestrians stepping into the street.

The article quotes acting St. Louis chief electrical engineer Frank M. Kratoville, who boasted that the new lights directed light straight down onto the street instead casting light into all directions. One of those directions, of course, was the sidewalk. However, Kratoville and others at the time were concerned with making lighting responsive to motorized forms of transportation. Unfortunately, the city's effort ignored the needs of pedestrians at a time where there still was a strong pedestrian culture in the city. Once cannot know how much damage the street light system did to that culture, but years later pedestrian life in the city is greatly diminished.

Almost forty-seven years later, much of this "new" system remains in use in the city. Sidewalks all over remain fairly dark. In some areas, such as on Washington Avenue downtown and Delmar Boulevard near the city limits, recent street lighting has included ample sidewalk illumination. As the city reverses the mistakes of its past, street lighting should be high on the list for improvement.

What Landed on the Hardt Building?

Blame it on a bad mood at the moment, but seeing last night the Hardt Building at the northwest corner of Chippewa and Brannon bearing a huge wooden growth was quite a shock. The "growth" appears to be a one-story frame penthouse addition; a search of Geo St. Louis shows no corresponding building permits.

Here we have one of the finest examples of art deco architecture on the south side, standing in the dense and intact historic "Northampton" or Kingshighway Hills neighborhood. The Hardt Building's stark, streamlined look is reinforced by the later, neon-robbed curved Keller Apothecary sign at the corner. Its visible addition of a third floor and its kissing cousin on Hampton (discussed by Toby Weiss here) add some intrigue; the obvious bow of the Chippewa elevation wall adds drama.

What does the addition add, besides more office space? It adds architecture at odds with the dramatic lines and parapets of the building below. It adds a visual focal point that overpowers the building below, capturing the eye and pulling it away from the bliss of jazzy polychrome masonry.

To get a better view of the addition, I headed west in the alley north of Chippewa. While the streets of this area are obviously packed with lovely brick buildings from the early-to-middle twentieth century, the alleys retain an amazing abundance of historic garages. Here we have an area west of Kingshighway and south of Arsenal more ripe for historic district status than many areas that are already listed on the National Register of Historic Places or City Landmark rosters. While a local district status is unfathomable for this area at present time, a national district would bring the tax incentives to discourage inappropriate alterations like the one rising on top of the Hardt Building.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

St. Louis Avenue

Those seeking an interesting spring stroll and ride should consider St. Louis Avenue between Florissant and Parnell in St. Louis Place. There, historic 19th century townhouses in Romanesque Revival, Italianate, Second Empire and other styles meet the soft colors of red bud, forsythia, Bradford pear and daffodil thriving in unusually warm weather. Many of the blocks retain high density of historic architecture, and most buildings are lovingly kept on a street that bears the name of its city.

This stretch of St. Louis has the Fleetwood and Sons bar, the Polish Falcons "nest" (formerly the mansion of brewer G. Stifel), the Black World History Wax museum, a genuine old-school rooming house, vintage gasoline pumps, lots of native Missouri granite, wrought iron fences, buildings owned by famous developers, lovely churches, a wonderful city park and enough St. Louis charm to topple the most stubborn cases of the blues. Anyone searching for sweet refreshment before or after a stroll can head to Crown Candy Kitchen at 14th and St. Louis to the east. All is well with the city, at least for awhile.

New Blairmont Map Online

We have a new Google Earth map of north St. Louis properties owned by companies controlled by developer Paul J. McKee, Jr. See the map here.

The map, created on March 13 and sent by a concerned resident of the St. Louis Place neighborhood, shows 637 properties owned by McKee's companies.

For reference, this map includes pinpoints on adjacent properties owned by city-owned corporations like the Land Reutilization Authority, Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority and the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority. Also included are properties owned by Pyramid Construction and the partnership between the Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance and the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Landmarks Association Reports on Bohemian Hill

The January/February issue of Landmarks Letter features a cover story on the controversy surrounding Bohemian Hill. Read it online here (in PDF format).

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Crone Reading from "Gaslight Square" at Gaslight Square

Thomas Crone will be reading from his book Gaslight Square: An Oral History on Thursday, March 29 at 6:00 p.m. in Gaslight Square. Well, our literary friend will be reading at one of the new houses standing where this history went down -- at 4155 Olive Street, to be exact.

The event is sponsored by Metropolis St. Louis, which asks that people RSVP to policy@mstl.org.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Look Within

The news of yesterday's decisions by the Missouri Board of Education to remove the St. Louis Public Schools' accreditation and appoint McBride & Sons executive Rick Sullivan as chairman of the three-person transitional local board raise an important question.

Are we certain that a city as great as St. Louis cannot provide talent equal to the challenge of rebuilding the St. Louis Public Schools?

All too often, we discount the leaders and visionaries who toil away right under our noses, in favor of the more intriguing people who we have to beg. That's part of our inferiority complex, something yesterday's event only strengthens. We tend to downplay our city's stengths, and the strong leadership one finds outside of the halls of the political and social old guard.

Obviously, some people at SLPS have done poor jobs -- that's one cause of the district's failure. But there are many more others in the system who know better than anyone what is wrong and how to fix it. They don't have all of the answers, but they have some of them -- and the institutional memory essential for effective trouble-shooting.

A confident city promotes the efforts of its best and brightest. When we break from the cycle of self-flagellation, reliance on outsiders for direction and ignorance of our own talent -- then we will be a confident city. In the meantime, efforts like the reform of SLPS may suffer.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


My prediction about tomorrow....

....is that the State Board of Education will vote to take away accreditation from the St. Louis Public Schools, thereby making the future of current SLPS seniors shaky, and making college seem like an impossibility for current SLPS underclassmen.

Then, Mayor Slay will get up and high-five the members of the board, and they will spray Gatorade all over each other. Hellzzz yes another win for team Fuck St. Louis! Over glasses of bubbly later that evening, they will have a rousing discussion about what governmental body they can have removed from City power next.

I know that Slay isn’t making the decision tomorrow, but shit, where mayors of other troubled districts have tried to fight to keep their schools under City and citizen control, Slay has been waving the white flag and shouting “Hey guys! Over here! Take us over!” since the day he no longer controlled the majority of the School Board. He went from painfully defensive of the SLPS to painfully critical, overnight.

It might be okay to support charter schools, but it is NOT OKAY to give up on the public schools altogether.

And hey, don’t get me wrong, the charter school in my neighborhood has been a decent neighbor, although it thas taken some work to get to that point. On the whole, I’m glad they’re here. But you know what? Just a couple of years after the new charter school opened up here, our neighborhood SLPS middle school is now threatened with closure. Real fucking funny, right? It's a big fucking hilarious joke on the Near North Side. I think I hear laughter from Room 200.

High fives and Gatorade tomorrow in Jeff City, kids. It’ll be just like last time Slay was out of town—you remember, last week he was suddenly on vacation at nearly the exact time he told the students at the SLPS sit-in that he would meet with them. It sure must be fun to have vacations and Gatorade whenever something difficult happens. Just like in elementary schoo... oh, wait.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

People Gathering Tomorrow

People will be drinking and talking about architecture and cities over drinks again tomorrow night.

The conversation begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Atomic Cowboy, 4140 Manchester in the Grove.

See you there. All of you!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Power Outage in Old North

This morning, I awoke in the dark hearing the sounds of large trucks encircling my block. Concerned, I got up to find that the power was out in the house. I went to the window and saw the now-familiar sight of a fire engine with a roving searchlight looking at power lines. Old North St. Louis was pitch dark as far as the eye could see; in fact, the only lights I could see were headlights and the downtown skyline.

The outage lasted for over two hours -- pretty short nowadays. Oddly, I had a strong intuition that a power outage was coming. On Thursday night, all of the street lights in my part of the neighborhood were out through the night. Over the weekend, a friend mentioned the stress of the previous outages.

An occasional blackout like this is not outrageous, but in light of the events of last year and Ameren's supposed stepped-up maintenance program and desire for a rate increase, a little disconcerting. There is no lesson or theory at work here -- just concern.

Demolition for Switzer Building?

According to records on Geo St. Louis, on Clarinet LLC applied for a demolition permit for the Switzer Building on March 6.

The Switzer Building, located at 612 N. 1st Street on Laclede's Landing, sustained major damage, including the collapse of its eastern wall, during a fierce storm on July 21, 2006. Emergency stabilization work commenced after the storm, but rehabilitation work in progress at the time never resumed.

Magic & Life

What has become of the abandoned buildings mentioned in my whimsical short essay "Abandoned Buildings in Saint Louis: Magic & Death," published in 2004?

Enright Middle School: Under renovation.

Carondelet Coke plant: Scheduled for demolition.

City Hospital Tower: Already gone then (although it still haunts the dreams of the restless); site still undeveloped.

Armour Packing Plant: Proposed for demolition; site now for sale.

St. Mary's Infirmary: Purchased for renovation; listing on National Register of Historic Places in process.

These are big changes. In a few short years, the architectural narrative of the region has changed as major abandoned buildings have been renovated or demolished. Urban explorers occasionally complain that there are no "big buildings" left accessible. That's not entirely true, especially on the Illinois side of the river, but reflects a distinct reclamation by developers. While my theoretical bearings are still formative, I see abandonment diminishing in favor of reclamation as the dominant narrative of marginal property around St. Louis. Reclamation is value-neutral, though, so this shift in the major narrative is no guarantee that the stewards of these places are making wise decisions.

Reclamation demands a counter-movement that clearly and consistently promotes an ethic of architectural stewardship based on a respect for history, knowledge of ecology and an embrace of urbanity. That's a lot more difficult than waxing poetic and punch-drunk about the views from the rooftops of forgotten factories (although I do that), or automatically celebrating new development because it replaces something troublesome and frightening.

How about a counter-movement that aims to resolve the contradictions of reclamation in order to rededicate St. Louis to metropolitan life? Who's in?

Unexpected magic lives on, though, as long as there are buildings, full moons and flowing rivers. As I age, I take less advantage of these moments than I did even three years ago -- but seek them out as much as I can. The rest of the time I spend on the ideas needed to ensure that no matter how much our region changes we still have the places that fill us with awe.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bohemian Hill Residents Converge

Someone who attended the first meeting of the Bohemian Hill Neighborhood Association on Thursday night had this to report: There were about 50 people in attendance, including Democratic Central Committee chair Brian Wahby. The discussion was intense and at one point centered on how Ald. Phyllis Young has yet to meet with residents of the small neighborhood, and at another centered on how people don't want to live next to a strip mall.

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.

Friday, March 16, 2007

This Week in Preservation Education

On March 13 and 14, I was fortunate to take part in an interesting architectural education program involving students from O'Fallon High School (Illinois). The 10th grade honors geometry and art students -- led by teachers Kelly Wamser and Debbie Raboin -- are studying and researching historic St. Louis buildings and architecture with the aid of the St. Louis Building Arts Foundation. The program this week came about through the excellent work of Lynn Josse.

The goals of the program include research, photography, presentations and -- most interesting -- 3-d scale models of buildings being studied. The students toured various buildings downtown and midtown with Lynn and historian Mimi Stiritz, and studied information put together by their teachers and Foundation volunteers. At lunchtime both days, the students came to City Hall where I spoke in the Kennedy Room about my work with Landmarks Association of St. Louis and how preservationists are actually architects of the future.

Programs like this are the backbone of effective historic preservation efforts. Without public education, our ideas will never become widespread. That education must be geared toward those young people nearly at the brink of lives spent shaping the world. Notable also is the great collaboration in the effort -- two architectural advocacy organizations, a Metro East school, several building owners and St. Louis city government coming together to make something happen shows that at least some people get the "big picture" and are willing to share that view.

I look forward to seeing how these efforts transfer into the students' work, this year and beyond.

Update from Landmarks Association

Landmarks Association of St. Louis has posted its newsletters featuring its 2006 Eleven Most Enhanced and Eleven Most Endangered buildings here. While the lists are not news, the newsletters with detailed information about each building have not been available online until now.

A Strange Marriage

I could be doing anything right now. I could be writing a book, watching a movie, talking to a friend, taking a walk or be traveling.

Instead, I am scrubbing up after hours of work around the house. I have not had a moment to myself in weeks, and may not get the chance for weeks more. However, I am watching a building reverse a 120-year span of decay under my own direction, largely alone although experienced craftspeople have aided with masonry, carpentry and roofing.

What we can take into our own hands is where we build the most change in the world. Obviously, few people choose to take much into their hands -- and many of us end up with far too much in our hands. Yet hesitate to think of what would become of the world if I did not assume this momentary burden. I hope that others do the same, but I know that I can't make them. Not everyone could take up the task of rehabbing a large building with no supervision and little assistance, even if he or she wanted to do so. I'm not sure if the cororllary is that those who can should do so, but I note that those who can most often must do so.

When my neck starts to ache beyond the limits of medicinal Schlafly, I try to think about how each gesture composes the larger plot of one house renwed and revitalized in a neighborhood that is renewing itself in a great city that is seeing a multitude of actions like my own add up to a resurgence of energy...

(Cynically, I could note that these hundreds of hours of labor are punishment for that one moment when I realized that I wanted to live in this house. To want something is always an arrogant proposition.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tennessee Williams' First Play Returns to Town

This should be good. As someone whose undergraduate thesis was on the subject of modern drama (along with politics, architecture, epistemology and related concerns), this event holds special interest:

After 70 years, Tennessee Williams' first full-length play -- "Candles to the Sun" -- is returning to St. Louis for a March 16 homecoming performance at the theater where it premiered on March 18, 1937.

The organizer of the reunion is Tom Mitchell, the acting head of the department of theater at the University of Illinois.

The play, which illuminates the struggles of coal miners and family members living in Alabama’s Red Hills mining region, was originally presented twice -- on March 18 and 20, 1937 -- by The Mummers, an amateur acting troupe, in the auditorium of the Wednesday Club. Since 1972, the building at 4504 Westminster Place has been the home of The Learning Center, which presents educational and community-focused programs.

"The Learning Center/Wednesday Club auditorium is a remarkable building, constructed in 1908 from designs by architect Theodore C. Link in the Prairie Style," Mitchell said. "The auditorium features the original furnishings that Williams and his friends experienced when mounting the first of his full-length works."

"The first-floor auditorium has approximately 500 leather-upholstered seats and a small stage that was used for recitals and poetry readings, as well as theatrical productions," he said. "Upstairs, the Wednesday Club had a large kitchen and dining room, with several side rooms with fireplaces and a solarium."

The March 16 production of "Candles" at The Learning Center begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are available for a minimum contribution of $10 at the door, or by calling 314-361-1908. Tickets also may be purchased in advance at Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid, St. Louis, or by calling 314-367-6731.

More information about the performance is available from Mitchell, 217-333-3538, or Emily Richard at The Learning Center, 314-361-1908.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Two North County Municipalties Making Progress in Preservation, Design Review

Black Jack creates architectural review board - Brian Flinchpaugh (Northwest County Journal, March 13)

Critics including Toby Weiss and I have long lamented the lack of preservation review in parts of St. Louis County where midcentury buildings lack protection and appreciation. Others have lamented the lack of sound planning policies in the county, and pointed to the inherent difficulty of creating meaningful policy amid 91 different municipalities. At least Black Jack is making the best of the current system.

Program could help Normandy preserve historic structures - Sonia Ahuja (North County Journal, March 13)

Meanwhile, Normandy is examining participation in the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office's Certified Local Government program. The mayor and several aldermen are already backing participation, which would entail the establishment of a preservation commission.

Mickey McTague

Today I was walking down Ninth Street when I ran into someone who was eager to tell me something about the Ninth Street Garage, the jaundiced hulk that is finally nearing completion.

"Look at that new building. I hear it's called the Century Building," he said

"Is that a fact? I swear that the Century Building would be marble clad. This appears to be a concrete buidling -- perhaps they upgraded the plans," I replied.

"And that nice archway there that leads to the Century Theater," pointed out the guide with a case of gallows humor.

This guide was none other than Mickey McTague, a resilient wit and storyteller who is always a welcome surprise on the downtown streets. His family ran a basement restaurant -- McTague's Cafe -- in the fallen Century Building, so he's understandably upset by its demolition. Yet he's quick to find something amusing and poignant in all of the terrible decisions he's seen in his years watching city politics, and he's perhaps even quicker to point that out to a friend.

I walked away from seeing with a smile when before I had a scowl as I examined the garage's hideous interplay with the graceful Frisco Building across Olive. If I could turn that thought into a good joke, I'd have life made.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Smokestack Lighting

One of my most favorite moments of any long day of rehab work on this house is when dusk arrives and the floodlights on the Columbia Brewery smokestack come on. This is a perk of having a flat roof with a great view -- I can go out, beer in hand and wait for the sudden moment when the dark smokestack is almost silver bathed in light. I rarely check the time, because I like the full surprise. (I never guess right when I think I'm moments away.)

Usually, I can see the Continental Building beacon in the far distance blinking as if to wink at my wonder at what is actually a pretty mundane event.

Sometimes, the mundane is magical.

Bohemian Hill and City Hospital

Here is a view east toward City Hospital from just south of Picker Street in Bohemian Hill, taken by me in 2002. Here we see visual density and variety giving way to the relatively monotonous architectural mass of the City Hospital. The distinct individual buildings mitigate the impact of the hospital complex, which otherwise might be overbearing. The relationship also makes full use of that human-scaled unit with which we build towers and flounder houses alike: the brick.

While each building is the sum of its parts -- here those parts are largely brick -- each urban vista also is the sum of a multitude of elements. Limiting the complexity by reducing the number of and small disparities between each element diminishes the view as well as the pedestrian experience.

Five years later, this view does not exist -- but we have the chance to remake it. However, we should keep in mind that the view seen here was over 100 years in the making, and just as the brick or the building becomes an element that composes a larger view, so is each year during which the view emerges. While it is easy for a person to manipulate space and material, it is impossible to manipulate time.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Ruins Garden Plan for Gary's City Methodist Church Moving Forward

Neglected Indiana church once an engine for change - Charles Leroux (Chicago Tribune, February 27)

Finally there is news of the plan to stabilize the sanctuary of the City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana for use as a ruins garden. According to the article, the plans -- first discussed in 2005 by Gary City Planner David Wright -- are moving ahead. Unfortunately, the plans still include demolition of the annex building next door, which in my opinion is as architectural refined and interesting as the masive Gothic Revival sanctuary.

Someday, Ecology of Absence plans to publish its research and several visits' worth of photographs. For now, a good introuction can be found here and extensive photographs here on Flickr.

The Lights of East St. Louis

With a cool spring breeze and great jazz on the truck radio, I found myself driving through East St. Louis last night. I don't mean driving on the highway, either -- I came in from the south through Rush City on 19th Street, headed east on Bond Avenue, north on 17th Street, east on Broadway until I was on the Eads Bridge headed back home. This was around 6:30 p.m., and already the sun had set to make way for a charcoal night sky.

While it was dark out, East St. Louis was very dark. There are several reasons, but foremost is the lack of remaining occupied houses. The loss of buildings has meant the loss of life and light, factors that keep a neighborhood from feeling like a ghost town after nightfall. There is also the lack of adequate street lighting that enhances the feeling that one is not in a city but some other ethereal place not quite settled enough to be a city but too populated to be a rural area.

As I drove north on industrial 17th street, where almost every building, factory and lot is abandoned and there are few streetlights, I glanced eastward. There I saw the St. Louis skyline glimmering as if no ghost town at all stood just to the east. I had a strange feeling, and felt vulnerable.

No, I did not fear any trouble at human hands. I felt a worse fear -- that East St. Louis is something that has life only in the past and death in the future. The present moment is thus a terrible recognition.

Of what? Perhaps the painful conclusion that just east of my city another city may be effectively dead -- but still inhabited by people who need jobs, schools and city services that a dead city cannot provide.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Mullanphy Effort Accepting Online Contributions

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has launched a PayPal account through which donations for the effort to rebuild the Mullanphy Emigrant Home's collapsed southern wall.

While some temporary structural stabilization work has been completed, the effort is still over $100,000 away from reaching the money needed to rebuild the masonry wall.

We are a generous city with much wealth and love for our history. Can we not rebuild that wall? It seems like a reasonable goal with no ambiguity -- every dollar collected will literally go to the needed bricks, mortar and labor.

The result will be that a neighborhood in the midst of renewal will retain one of its most significant buildings as an anchor for continued development.

Tax-deductible contributions now can be made here.

(PS: For candidates seeking to do good with leftover campaign funds, this is a great cause.)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Brick City, Meet Ecology of Absence

Rarely am I sitting at my desk at work when a visitor to Landmarks Association's archives who has been reading through a file stops and says "I say you on TV. You write Ecology of Absence."

Even more rare -- unique, really -- is when that person turns out to write a blog that I regularly read. In this case, that would be the author of Brick City.

Not surprising, we both now have online accounts of the meeting. Read his here.

Not so nameless and faceless, huh?

McEagle Land Acquisitions

McEagle Land Acquisitions, LLC was chartered on February 16.

Will the sundry LC's and LLC's involved in the "Blairmont" project begin selling to this company once the Distressed Area Land Assemblage Tax Credit Act is passed?

Friday, March 2, 2007

USS Inaugural Still Around

Remember the USS Inaugural that was moored on the St. Louis wharf to serve as a museum? During the 1993 flood, the former Navy minesweeper was swept away itself. However, it did not get very far. As "Memory_machine" tells us in his blog entry "Undergroundozarks goes to the Library / The Wreck of the Inaugural", the wreck of the ship is just south of the MacArthur Bridge, and readily visible.

Blairmont in the ACC

There is a good article by Matt Murphy about the "Blairmont" project in the current print edition of Arch City Chronicle.

Lambert Terminal Will Be Rehabbed -- Carefully

According to a post on MayorSlay.com, the $100 million airport terminal reconstruction project will "carefully rehab" airport's landmark main terminal by Minoru Yamasaki. As the region's most widely used modernist building, the integrity of the terminal is an extremely important expression of local stewardship of mid-century design. Alongside rehab, the terminal could be enhanced by removal of some of the intrusive canopies in front and other later alterations. While full restoration is unlikely, a sympathetic rehabilitation could restore much of the modern character of the terminal that is a worldwide gateway to the city (just like another modernist icon).