Wednesday, September 30, 2009

River Roads Returns to Nature

Two and a half years after demolition of the Stix Baer & Fuller department store and adjoining River Roads Mall buildings, much of the site has returned to nature, at least for now.  Pyramid Companies had plans to redevelop the site mostly with single family homes, but with the collapse of the market for new homes and Pyramid, the land continues to sit vacant.

Beyond the new prairie to the left is a row of new houses facing Cozens that were completed by Pyramid Companies.  At center is an abandoned former Boatman's Bank and to the right peeking out from behind the hillside, the roof of an senior apartment building off Halls Ferry, also completed by Pyramid.  

A 2005 aerial show the site at Halls Ferry and Jennings Station Road mostly covered with asphalt and the River Roads Mall buildings.  Ironically, a small section of grass along Cozens in this view is one the few areas that was re-developed.  A large pile of rubble also sits south of where Stix Bear and Fuller was located.

The last of the quilt-like wallpaper of terra cotta which covered SBF's east facade as it appeared in April 2007 during the mall's demolition.  The work was one of the largest installations of Modern terra cotta in the region.  For more photos of the demolition, check out my Flickr set.  Ecology of Absence and Built St. Louis both have great pre-demolition photos.

4 comments: said...

River Roads Prairie - love it!

That sad, faux Colonial bank building was slated to be the new home of Jennings police station/city hall, who need more room. But no one's touched the building since I was told about that in 2007.

Janet Grace Riehl said...

How do you keep up with all this vanishing and shifting landscape?

If you'd like to write a guest post on this topic for, I'd welcome that.


Carol Riess said...

Sad to see it go. I grew up in St. Louis and remember shopping at Stix, Baer & Fuller at River Roads as a teenager in the 1960's. I just recently moved back here and wouldn't have been able to place it, but seeing your photos and those on the linked sites, I remember the tiled facades and the sunken gardens. Too bad the neighborhood went to pieces. Wish I had some old photos for you of how it once was.

Anonymous said...

River Roads was so remote from where I grew up in U. City yet it was novel, so we ventured there once or twice. Northland had a higher profile because it was somewhat closer and also was the site of the annual "KXOK Iceberg" contest. Listeners were invited to guess the date and time when a massive mountain of ice erected on the parking lot would melt completely during those blazing hot 60s summers in St. Louis. I can't recall what prize was offered but the contest ran for several consecutive years during the early-mid 60s.

"Ultramodern" Westroads was a more natural hangout and SBF became my mainstay job during high school ('67-'68), alternating between two seasonal departments: Trim A Tree and the Garden Shop located on the Brentwood side parking lot.

I'll never forget the first time I came upon that blue mosiac wishing well just inside the northeast entrance to Stix Westroads, circa 1957. Quite a setting.

And finally, the first photo above of "River Roads Prairie" reminds me of what Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly encountered when he crashed through the time barrier in "Back to the Future I" and ended up traveling from
Twin Pines Mall in 1985 to Twin Pines Farm in 1955, courtesy of Doc Brown's Delorean, a vial of Plutonium, and the Flux Capacitor. ;-)