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Monday, August 4, 2008

Heavenly Bar-B-Q

This quintessential A-frame work of Googie-tecture stands at the northwest corner of Vandalia (State Highway 159) and Clay streets in downtown Collinsville, Illinois. According to the Conestoga sign on the pole in front, this was Bert's Chuck Wagon with "Open Pit Bar-B-Q." The high pitched roof overhangs the building to almost conceal the sides completely. Splayed columns add a whimsical touch, and the gabled entry overhang creates enough head space for a person to walk into the building through the door.

What is most striking is the large gable end facing the corner. The open glass wall provided exposure and a contrast to the heavy, almost foreboding side elevations. Now, with the old barbeque joint under the ownership of the adjacent Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, that gable end provides a backdrop for religious expression.

The windows of the gable end display a rather expressionistic scene of Jesus Christ on the cross, done in bold colors with dark shadow lines. Disconcerting, though, are the white open eyes reminiscent of the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip.


Doug Duckworth said...

There is a similarly looking building in St. Genevieve as your drive on the road from the Quarry into the sprawl area. Kinda cool!

Anonymous said...

was it originally a Das Wienerschnitzel?

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Collinsville and actually went to Saints Peter and Paul School I have very fond memories of going to Berts after school. The Paintings were painted several years ago before the school bought the property, I believe the artist was the owners son.

Anonymous said...

Word is the church bought the property and is going to tear it down for parking lot expansion. But, Collinsville has also decided to widen 159 to four lanes and knock down a whole lot of crap along the way. Bert's would have to go if the controversial plan ever gets started (other choice would be to swing 159 around town, and I'm for that).