Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Laclede Gasometer - Newstead & Chouteau

On the northwest corner of Chouteau & Newstead a Laclede Gas Gasometer rises high above the surrounding neighborhood. It is a landmark that most St. Louisans are familiar with, but likely take for granted, but after 106 years, it is scheduled to be demolished. The photo below shows the launch of a gas balloon race in 1907 which drew contestants from around the globe. The site, which according to city records is still owned by Laclede Gas, contains the gasometer, a pump house which was built in 1911 (and will be preserved) and a paved parking/storage yard where a second gasometer once stood (unsure of dates of construction or removal)
The Post-Dispatch reported recently that developers Steve Trampe and Jerry King will be taming up to redevelop the site with housing and possibly some commercial. According to the article, there is no definitive development plan for the site.
The fact that the developer's plan to demolish the structure is interesting considering that it was Steve Trampe who renovated one of the toughest buildings (in terms of its condition and degree of difficulty) in recent memory, the Continental Life Building. Admittedly, a gasometer is very different than a beautiful but derelict high rise office building, and it would take a great deal of creativity and ingenuity to adapt the structure for say residential use.

For more photos of the gasometer at Chouteau & Newstead, see: Built St. Louis, and Flickr

So what can you do with an old gasometer? There are many examples of creative re-use out there, including this one in Vienna, which reuses the shells of four old iron and masonry gasometers. Here are a few photos from the web site about this project.


Michael R. Allen said...

Someday, people will realize what a great opportunity we have missed here.

A circular high-rise apartment building inside of a restores gasometer would add an unusual visual flair to the city skyline. Other cities in the US would be jealous!

How does St. Louis justify erasing its own uniqueness?

Joshua said...

Hey Paul, do you mind emailing me at josh@gridskipper when you get a chance? Thanks. JDS

Doug Duckworth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug Duckworth said...

Mike makes a great point. This is a very unique structure, and since it is not some detriment to the neighborhood, time should be given to discuss reuse. It is not in danger of collapse, so why don't we sit down and figure out the best solution instead of automatically taking whats offered?

Anonymous said...

I love this thing and just took for granted that it would always be there. Now I know better. Do you know when it is scheduled to be demolished?

I appreciate your article on the structure--I always thought it was the shell of a former water tank. I didn't realize that the shell was actually the full structure.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just read this article and I am very curious - was the gasometer actually demolished? What is in the place now?
I am not the blogger.com user so I appreciate if you send me an e-mail at ligereza@mail.ru