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Thursday, July 19, 2007

One Year Since Major Storms, Heat Wave, Power Outage

One year ago today, heavy wind storms hit St. Louis. Damage struck the Switzer Building on Laclede's Landing, later demolished; the roof of my house, now repaired. Over 400,000 people lost electricity for days during a major heat wave (a type of urban disaster still widely viewed treated as something else), and several died.

So much that seemed uncertain after the storm is now resolved (unhappily, in the case of the Switzer Building). So much that was certain then, well...

So it goes. We move onward, but we remember.


Anonymous said...

The irony is that Laclede's Landing looks much better now with the half collapsed, vacant Switzer down than it did with the hulking shell of a building looming over the sidewalks and alley.

When entering St. Louis across historic Eads Bridge, having vacant hulks of buildings greet new arrivals to our city is hardly a warm welcome...

Or is it?

LisaS said...

I was looking through my drawings of Laclede's Landing from my thesis project the other day, and compared it to Paul Hohmann's sketch of the surviving buildings, and it's just sad. (http://preview.tinyurl.com/yu455d)

The Landing is looking ever more like a parking lot--something familiar and comforting to those crossing the Bridge, I suppose, but I'll spend my time and money somewhere that still has a sense of Place.

Anonymous said...

What kind of sense of place do you get with a half-collapsed building as your first impression? The Landing looks better with the building gone.

In retrospect, let's blame the Switzers for closing the factory, and the interim owners for not renovating it anytime in the last 25 years.

Let's not blame a storm or the city for enforcing its building code and requiring demolition.

Anonymous said...

The Switzers moved out to a larger plant at 1600 North Broadway in 1974. They maintained the building under their ownership. They sold the building to Beatrice who I believe sold it to the Schnucks who sold to others and through all this time it became derelict, missing a functioning roof for more than 15 years. The storm was the final blow but the damage was done in the late eighties and nineties.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it have been nice if the Switzer's would have maintained the building as a licorice museum, restaurant and gift shop?

Imagine being able to eat ice cream, buy candy, see licorice being made, and stroll Laclede's Landing?

It would have been an authentic tourist attraction.