Last week as a demolition crew was continuing demolition of the Powell Square building, local photographer Dan Wampler showed up at the site wearing a hard hat and managed to talk the crew foreman into letting him into the building to take some final photographs. Here is a selection of the photos he captured as he walked through the site and building with the foreman. The entire set of 81 photos can be viewed here on Dan's website.
Great views of the Downtown St. Louis skyline and Gateway Arch gone to waste.
A view east toward the now barely visible Mississippi. The 1952 addition has been completely cleared away.
This photo shows a sample window that owner Steve Murphy had installed when he was attempting to put together a redevelopment of the building. Before we got involved as the architect for the proposed Chouteau's Landing Art Center, Murphy had apparently been ill-advised by a previous consultant that he should proceed with removing the windows from the building. Foolishly, the former plans had not considered the possibility of using historic tax credits. Removing the windows made it impossible to list the building as a single site on the National Register due to loss if integrity, and probably sealed the building's ultimate fate. While even with historic tax credits financing the Chouteau's Landing Art Center may not have occurred, having the building listed on the National Register would have prevented the City of St. Louis from committing wonton demolition based on aesthetic issues.
Vanishing STL was created to illustrate the continuing loss of irreplaceable architecture from landmark buildings to ordinary homes due to demolition, abandonment and neglect. Often I write about structures threatened with demolition to bring awareness of the situation and promote preservation as an alternative. All photos are by Paul Hohmann unless noted otherwise.