Friday, January 31, 2014

The Book House Has Been Demolished

The circa 1863 Gothic style cottage that was home to the Book House for almost 30 years has been demolished. Michelle Barron, owner of the Book House bookstore (but not the house) sent me these photos today. I posted last April that The Book House was being forced to move because the historic house and several other small buildings on adjacent parcels were to be demolished for construction of a new self storage facility. The recent photo above shows the cottage stripped of its windows and doors just prior to demolition.

Michelle captured these shots of the last corner of the cottage being flattened.

Yet another example of Rock Hill U-Gas Hill rolling over for any new development and letting the history of their community be destroyed.

A shot looking in a window of the cottage prior to demolition. 

A photo of the Book House when it still housed the book store. There is a silver lining to this story: the Book House bookstore has found a new home in historic downtown Maplewood! The new store location is 7352 Manchester, just east of Sutton. They have spent the last few months renovating the space and are targeting February 10th to re-open the store. This is good news indeed as a dwindling number of independent bookstores fight to sustain themselves.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Demolition of Jewish Hospital and Nursing School Progresses

Demolition crews have made progress with the demolitions of Jewish Hospital and the adjacent School of Nursing along Kingshighway in preparation for a large two-tower complex that will replace the older buildings on the north end of BJC's central campus.

Demolition of the Moses Shoenberg Memorial School of Nursing is almost complete, temporarily exposing the full side elevation of the massive Children's Hospital building.

Windows are being removed from Jewish Hospital in preparation for demolition

Looking down Parkview Place along the south elevation of the 1926 hospital. The ultra modern Steinberg Building addition opened in 1967 will also be demolished.

A closeup of the southwest corner of Jewish Hospital. Since the announcement last year of the demolitions and replacement complex, other than some simple massing diagrams, little detail has been revealed about what the new structures will look like. BJC has set up live webcams so you can follow the progress of demolition and construction to follow.

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.