Monday, January 6, 2014

Photo of 1982 Snow Captures Losses in Downtown West

One of my favorite things about a major snow storm is that it reduces us to for the most part to the most basic form of transport, walking. Those who remember the last "snowmageddon" in St. Louis will recall that it paralyzed the City for over a week. As a pre-teen at the time I was quite excited that school was canceled for at least as long.

STL Style posted this photo yesterday from the cover of the Post-Dispatch Special Report about the winter storm of 1982. The view is down the middle of Olive Street looking east from Jefferson. While much remains the same today, some major buildings in the middle ground of the photo have since disappeared.

At the northeast corner of 19th & Olive stood this streamline modern building built in 1940 for the A. S. Aloe Company, purveyors of surgical and laboratory supplies. Sherwood Medical occupied the building until 1990 when it moved to a newly constructed building occupying the block west between 19th & 20th Streets. While the new building was built with a parking garage on the first few floors, in the fall of 1996 Sherwood demolished the Aloe building for a surface parking lot. Sherwood vacated the new building and moved from St. Louis entirely two years later on orders from its parent company, Tyco. For more photos including its demolition, see Built St. Louis' page on the building. Photo above and photos below are from a 1985 architectural survey that covered Downtown West from Tucker to 20th Street.

Also demolished with the A.S. Aloe Building was this attached building at 1813 Olive.

Directly across Olive from the Aloe building stood this large seven story building spanning  from Olive to Pine Street along 19th that was home to Century Electric Company. The difference in brick and color indicates that it was built in two phases. 

The larger south portion of the building, which had its decorative cornice removed, was likely built first, followed by the portion along Olive. The addition replaced a 5 story mill construction building occupying the same footprint according to the 1909 Sanborn map. Century electric would later construct a prominent International Style building a block south on Chestnut Street in 1942, which was horribly re-faced in the 1980's.

Just east of the Century Electric building was this five story building constructed for the Sylvester C. Judge Hat Company. Both buildings were demolished not long after the architectural survey was completed and replaced with a five story office building addressed at 1881 Pine Street that was completed in 1987 (photo below). Looking at the design of the building it is easy to wonder if there was some influence from the Aloe Building that was still standing at the time. The building was recently sold and re-purposed for a French language immersion charter school.

Finally, the snow photo at the beginning of this post also captures the former St. Louis Post Dispatch Building during its period of confinement behind a 1960's modern skin. The building was unmasked and beautifully restored in 1999.

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