Live Better Electrically

by Michael R. Allen

One of the photographs in our recent acquisition of over 200 amateur photographs of St. Louis shows the Union Electric Building at 315 N. 12th Street (now Tucker Boulevard) decked out with holiday decorations. The photograph is undated but comes from the middle or later 1950s. There was plenty to see the rest of the year

In the 1950s, Union Electric’s headquarters was decorated year-round with an impressive neon-tube sign mounted on a rooftop structure. By 1953, Union Electric had purchased the adjacent St. Louis Star-Times building to the south. The image above comes from the Summer 1953 issue of Union Electric Quarterly and shows the sign atop the Star-Times building.

Both the St. Louis Star-Times and Union Electric buildings were demolished in the early 1980s and the site (on the same block as Christ Church Cathedral) is now occupied by a tiny U.S. Bank branch building and more asphalt. There are no illuminated holiday decorations, no neon signs and no sign that great buildings ever occupied the site.

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  • http://one-one-eight.com Chris Bay

    I love that style of rooftop sign. I wish there were more of them around. The renderings of the new KDHX building show a rooftop sign and it would be super cool if it were self-illuminating instead of just a billboard with flood lights.

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  • http://www.123neonsigns.com/ Neon Signs

    Man I love those vintage photos!