PRO Sponsors National Ride Out, August 4


Date: Tuesday, August 4, 20115
Time: 6:00 PM
Start: Gooseberries, 2754 Chippewa Street

National Night Out is an annual national event to promote communities and safer neighborhoods. This year Preservation Research Office joins Cherokee Street’s Spoked Bikes & Stuff to host a leisurely ride through a few of south St. Louis’ great neighborhoods. We’ll hit Dutchtown, Gravois Park, Benton Park West, Fox Park, Tower Grove East, Shaw, Southwest Garden and Tower Grove South. Enjoy beautiful historic architecture and see your neighbors out on the streets.

Meet at Gooseberries on Chippewa at 6 and we will ride at 6:30. The ride ends at Spoked Bikes & Stuff around 8:00, with a mid ride beverage break at the Tick Tock Tavern.

Lights, helmets, and awesome attitude are all highly encouraged.


“There’s Nothing Pure About Preservation” Session at Iowa Downtown Summit

PRO Director Michael Allen will join Erin Hannafin Berg of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota for a panel that will challenge what people expect preservationists to say about old buildings and economic development.

Details here.

Dates: August 26-28, 2015

Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Registration required.


Tour: Walking Around Flora Place, May 9


Saturday, May 9
2:00 – 3:30 PM
$10 benefiting the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association

From its origins as the road leading from Grand Avenue to the Missouri Botanical Garden, Shaw’s Flora Place was destined to be a significant street. Late 19th century subdivision led to Flora Place’s blossoming as a private street lined with large houses designed by a who’s-who of area architects. Architectural historian Michael R. Allen, director of the Preservation Research Office, will lead a tour that illuminates the fine architecture while calling out some of the street’s colorful residents (including two former mayors and an inimitable television broadcaster).

Meet at the Grand Avenue entrance gate.


Public Talk: Invisible Buildings: Photography, Memory and Architectural Destruction

Invisible Buildings: Photography, Memory and Architectural Destruction
2/28/2015; 6–7:30pm

$10 public, $5 members/students

International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum
3415 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103

This talk explores the use — intentional or coincidental — of amateur and professional photography in allowing people to “see” buildings destroyed by demolition, or altered beyond recognition. The historian uses photographs as evidence, but anyone can use the record of the image to reconstruct the missing house next door or the entire neighborhoods that St. Louis and other cities have erased. Architectural historian Michael R. Allen, director of the Preservation Research Offce and lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University, will present many images from local photographers (ranging from the 1930s to the present) alongside images by national figures like Camilo Jose Vergara, Richard Nickel and Norman McGrath.

Presented as part of the Speaker Series in conjunction with the exhibition “St. Louis Architecture: A Proud Heritage”; more details about the talk here.


Talk: Beyond Saving Buildings: Historic Preservation in the Age of the “Selfie”

We are pleased to be a part of St. Louis Design Week with this contribution:


Beyond Saving Buildings: Historic Preservation in the Age of the “Selfie”

Friday, September 26 at 6:30 PM
Nebula Coworking, 3407 S. Jefferson Avenue
[Facebook event page]

Preservation is all about protecting buildings from bulldozers, right? Well, not quite. This talk by architectural historian and longtime preservation practitioner Michael R. Allen explores the ways in which historic preservation has changed in light of the challenges of the fate of newer buildings like the Folk Art Museum in New York, the reality that older cities can’t preserve every vacant house and the awareness-expanding powers of social media. Perhaps our need to interpret and save architecture is as much about ourselves as it is about design.

Presented by: Preservation Research Office, Nebula Coworking and St. Louis Design Week.


Downtown East St. Louis Historic District Public Meeting, September 11

This public meeting will explain what the creation of the Downtown East St. Louis Historic District means for property owners.

Majestic Theater


The City of East St. Louis has contracted the Preservation Research Office to submit a National Register of Historic Places nomination for part of downtown East St. Louis. The “Downtown East St. Louis Historic District” will include the properties shown on the attached map.

The Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council approved the Downtown East St. Louis Historic District at its regular meeting on June 27, 2014. The nomination will be officially listed by the National Park Service by August 31, 2014.


The National Register of Historic Places nomination of the Downtown East St. Louis Historic District will bring economic development to the city through two programs:

The Federal Historic Tax Credit – The Federal Historic Tax Credit provides a 20% credit against the costs of rehabilitating historic buildings.

The Illinois River Edge Historic Tax Credit. The Special Illinois Tax Credit brings an additional 25% in credits against rehabilitation costs, but expires at the end of 2016.

The historic district will NOT require property owners to take an action, will NOT create any design or renovation rules and will NOT raise any property taxes.

Looking up at the main elevation of the Murphy Building (1909), one of the district's primary contributing buildings.
Looking up at the main elevation of the Murphy Building (1909), one of the district’s primary contributing buildings.


The Public Meeting will be held on September 11, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. in the East St. Louis City Council Chambers, East St. Louis City Hall, 2nd Floor, 301 River Park Dr., East St. Louis, IL 62201. A tour of the East St. Louis Historic District will follow immediately after as a part of the presentation and will place emphasis on the Murphy Building, Majestic Theatre, Broadway Hotel and the Seidel downtown commercial buildings on Collinsville Avenue.

The proposed district map will be available for viewing in the East St. Louis City Clerk’s Office located on the 1st floor of City Hall.


Public Talk: “Seeking the Landscape of Civic Identity: The Gateway Mall and Serra’s ‘Twain'”


PRO Director Michael Allen will be giving a talk entitled, “Seeking the Landscape of Civic Identity: The Gateway Mall and Serra’s ‘Twain'” on June 19th at 11am and June 20th at 6pm. Allen’s talk will examine the history of St. Louis’ Gateway Mall, with a focus on the significant changes that occurred between the 1960s and 1980s that affected the city’s civic and cultural landscape.

The talk is held in conjunction with the exhibition Sight Lines: Richard Serra’s Drawings for “Twain” on display in gallery 313 through September 7th highlights a series of drawings and manipulated photographs as well as a steel model related to the large-scale sculpture, Twain, located on the Gateway Mall in downtown Saint Louis. In 1974, Richard Serra was chosen by a panel of art professionals and civic leaders to create a site-specific work on an open plaza just east of the Civil Courts building. The material that is on display acts as a record of the extensive planning for Serra’s first public commission in the United States.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information visit, under Exhibitions.


PRO to Participate in the Marfa Dialogues with “30 Days of Demolition”

Preservation Research Office is excited to be among the participants that the Pulitzer Art Foundation selected for the Marfa Dialogues program this year. The Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Ballroom Marfa and the Public Concern Foundation are bringing Marfa Dialogues to the St. Louis area to examine the ways in which art can serve as a catalyst for unexpected collaboration.

This experiment is aligned with the Pulitzer’s current exhibition, Art of Its Own Making, which features artists who examine materials, environment, and how generative elements impact the works of art they create. Marfa Dialogues is supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

The dwelling at 2569 in St. Louis Place, demolished in 2008.
The dwelling at 2569 in St. Louis Place, demolished in 2008.

For the Marfa Dialogues, PRO’s Michael R. Allen and Lydia Slocum devised a program entitled 30 Days of Demolition that connects data and material collected from one month of wrecking vacant houses in St. Louis. Read more about 30 Days of Demolition here.

The Marfa Dialogues take place July 30 through August 4 at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.


Tour: Shaw Place and Surrounds

Shaw-PlaceSunday, May 18 at 1:00 PM
Meet at the Compton Hill Water Tower
$10 to benefit the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association

Architectural historian Michael R. Allen will lead a jaunt around the Shaw neighborhood focused on Shaw Place, the private residential court laid out in 1879 by architect George I. Barnett. The tour includes a stop in one Shaw Place house plus peeks at a Carpenter Gothic house, an old-fashioned neighborhood movie theater, a railroad hospital, beautiful houses in many styles and an apartment hotel repossessed by its architect. Shaw Place anchors a vibrant urban area with intriguing architectural diversity.


Tour: Lindell Boulevard Goes Modern (Again and Again)

We’re please to collaborate with Modern STL to provide this tour:


May 10, 2014
10:00 AM
Meet at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, Lindell entrance
$5 for Modern STL non-members (free for members); funds benefit Modern STL’s preservation efforts

Every St. Louisan knows Lindell Boulevard, but they might not always look close enough to seethe wide array of modern architecture tucked between the revival-style apartment towers and mansions. Between 1939 and 1977, Lindell Boulevard was reshaped through the construction of major and minor modern works, ranging from the jet-set Optimist Club Building (1962; Schwarz & Van Hoefen) to the elliptical AAA Building (W.A. Sarmiento, 1976). Today, Lindell again is caught up in the city’s efforts to remake itself, with some modern gems polished to shine again while others are threatened in the name of progress. Architectural historian and Preservation Research Office Director Michael R. Allen and blogger and photographer extraordinaire Toby Weiss team up to tell the architectural tale of Lindell’s evolution.