UPDATE: Yesterday A City official contacted me about this demolition. The City did not demolish the building due to the earlier condemnation as I assumed, but instead, the application came from the owner. The demolition was approved without review because apparently in the transfer of information from City Hall, where the application originated to 1520 Market Street where the Cultural Resources Office is located, the address of the building was incorrectly entered. The address entered put the building outside of the S. 4th Street National Register district where the building is actually located, so CRO did not review the application. Also, it is rumored that a new owner has closed on the purchase of the property from Steve Murphy.
On Wednesday this photo of the demolition of 818-822 S. 4th Street was posted on Twitter by Alternative Apparel, which is part of the Collective at the MX. The building was located at 4th & Lombard, just north of the old approach ramp for the MacArthur Bridge, on the western edge of the now moribund Chouteau's Landing District.
Built in 1890 for a saloon and butcher shop, the building has been been empty for many years. It was most recently known for the colorful paintings by local artist Peat Wollaeger. No news if Beardy McGreen will be saved. The structure was a contributing building in the South Fourth Street Commercial District, a National Register historic district that was created in 2006.
A view of the building from Lombard. Earlier this year the City of St. Louis issued an emergency structural condemnation for reasons unknown.
The structure at the rear of the property is a separate building that was built in 1917 as an office and warehouse for Saxony Mills, a large flour mill located across Lombard since 1849. The mill was demolished for the construction of Interstate 55. The 1909 Sanborn map for the area shows this building as a 3 story structure. It is unknown when the upper floors were removed. Also unknown is whether this structure is being demolished with the front building. They were built on separate parcels and later combined into one property. I fear for this building because with "emergency" demolitions the City is typically not smart enough to discern that there is more than one building on a parcel, so everything gets wrecked.
The interior of 818-822 S. 4th had been gutted down to studs. As of a few years ago, the interior of the structure was in decent shape although there were soft areas in the floors and a few isolated areas where the joists were quite deteriorated. The masonry shell was in good condition and the overall structure sound.
Another interior view of the second floor of 818-822 S. 4th.
Interior view of the entrance to the building at 321 Lombard.
This building had apparently been used more recently than the building on 4th Street and was in excellent condition.
An interior view of the loading dock area of 321 Lombard at the north end of the building. The building is a concrete frame structure with brick infill walls.
The buildings at 818-822 S. 4th, 317 Lombard and a small one story addition at 812-816 S. 4th are at the center of the historic district. Their loss (if indeed the entirety is being demolished) would be very damaging to the continuity of the district, which with the large gap in the middle was already fragile. As of the beginning of last week, the Cultural Resources Office had not received anything an application for this demolition,
If this building had begun to collapse into one of the streets, which no one has made indications of, an "emergency" action might be justified, but if this was simply another building that lost part of its roof or a section of floor to inward collapse, then we are losing another building (or maybe two) for no good reason at all.