Pruitt-Igoe Tour and Film Screening, July 26

A playground at Pruitt-Igoe. Photo courtesy of the State Historical Society of Missouri.
A Pruitt-Igoe sidewalk tour and screening of the documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth will begin at 6 p.m. July 26 at the St. Louis Fire Department Training Auditorium, 1421 Jefferson Ave. in St. Louis (63106). Michael Allen, director of the Preservation Research Office, a St. Louis-based historic preservation and architectural research organization, will lead the tour at 6 p.m.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, which will be shown at 7 p.m., uses the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and its residents to tell the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II.

A panel discussion will follow the film screening.

The event is sponsored by the St. Louis Metropolitan Research Exchange and the Institute for Urban Research at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. STLMRE is a consortium of academic scholars from universities and institutions across the St. Louis metropolitan area, including Terry Jones, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and Mark Tranel, director of the Public Policy Research Center at UMSL.

The event is free. Contact Rebecca Pastor at 314-516-5277 or to register.


Happy Hour Talk on the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Subdivisions Tomorrow

Botanical Grove Happy Hour & Speaker Series With Michael Allen
Wednesday, June 18 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. (talk at 6:00 p.m.)
1624 Tower Grove Avenue

Come grab a (free) cold Urban Chestnut brew and a delicious crepe from Holy Crepe Food Truck and listen to acclaimed Architectural Historian Michael Allen discuss the history of the subdivisions around the Missouri Botanical Garden — including Gurney Court. Allen will discuss the Missouri Botanical Garden’s twentieth century effort to develop lands once held for garden expansion into a unique middle-class streetcar suburb that maintains its lovely character to this day.

Events North St. Louis Pruitt Igoe

Pruitt Igoe Now’s Exhibition of Finalists and Winners Opens on July 25

Pruitt Igoe Now Exhibition Opening
Wednesday, July 25 from 6:00 until 9:00 p.m.
Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street (at Montgomery)

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group hosts the first exhibition presenting the winner and 31 finalists in Pruitt Igoe Now, an ideas competition that examined the future of the 33-acre forested vacant site of the former housing project. Entrants in Pruitt Igoe Now came from a wide variety of disciplines and explored futures that included design intervention, urban redevelopment, agriculture, cultural memorialization and forest management. The program includes remarks from Bob Hansman, Associate Professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis and a competition juror, artist and cultural activist Juan William Chavez, creator of the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary, Michael Allen, Director of the Preservation Research Office and competition manager, Nora Wendl, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Portland State University and finalists in the competition.

(Preservation Research Office provided pro bono staffing for Pruitt Igoe Now. Alyssa J. Stein, intern, deserves many thanks for her work on the competition.)


The Northside Workshop, located at 1306 St. Louis Avenue on the same block as the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, will be open from 9:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. with an after party following the exhibit opening. There will be music, refreshments and tours of the north side’s newest art space.


PK at CAM Next Thursday

Pecha Kucha Night #9 takes place one week from today, on Thursday, July 12 at 6:30 p.m. The venue of the city’s hottest salon for sharing ideas, projects and passions is the Contemporary Art Museum, 3726 Washington. Preservation Research Office Director Michael R. Allen will be the emcee for the event.

Ahead of the event, we recommend brushing up on the history of the Contemporary Art Museum building, a landmark of the very-recent past designed by Brad Cloepfil. One way to start is a video taken during a thoughtful and energetic discussion that happened at CAM last year. Last May, Cloepfil joined Bruce Lindsey, Dean at the School of Architecture & Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis, and Paul Ha, Director of CAM for this event on May 26, 2011.


Event: The History of the Delmar Loop Through Architecture

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Regional Arts Commission
6128 Delmar, 63112

Lecture by Meredith Hawkins Trautt, Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis

The Delmar Loop was named “One of the 10 Great Streets in America” by the American Planning Association. The history of the development of the Delmar Loop neighborhood can be viewed through the district’s unusual blend of high style and vernacular architecture from the Lion Gates in University City down Delmar to DeBaliviere and the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis City’s Forest Park. The Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis (ARC) was commissioned to prepare a study of the Loop’s architectural heritage as part of the Environmental Assessment for the proposed Loop Trolley Project.


National Preservation Month in Full Swing

While 90-degree days come without advance notice, National Preservation Month arrives in May every year without fail. This national celebration of historic architecture reaches a crescendo of sorts mid-month, when house and neighborhood tours pile up into a can’t-get-to-them-all full schedule. While the number of events this coming weekend will preclude most people from doing everything, that’s fine. The soul of historic preservation is composed of neighborhoods where people care, and in St. Louis preservation has a rich and mighty soul. – M.R.A.


Chatillon-DeMenil House Used Book Sale
Saturday, May 19 – 10 am-4 pm ($5 preview sale 9-10 am)
Sunday, May 20 – 12 – 4 pm (bag sale and book crafts!)

New community partnerships and untold thousands of books will make this year’s Chatillon-DeMenil House Used Book Sale (May 19-20) the biggest and best ever. Let’s start with the space: our friends at the Lemp Brewery Business Park have offered us space just across from the Mansion at 900 Cherokee Street. If you don’t know them already, then we’re excited to be able to introduce you to the good folks from Perennial on Sunday. From 12-4 during our bag sale, instructors will be on hand to share some crazy DIY book projects, including a cell phone dock (!) and succulent planter(!!). Made from books! A small donation is requested. Details here.

Compton Heights House Tour
Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20 – 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. both days

The event will include many homes that have not recently been on public tour as well as the first floor and bowling alley of the incomparable Magic Chef Mansion. The tour will also feature a beer tasting garden featuring local beer, live music (Saturday), and local food vendors. For an additional $5 charge a cell phone based audio tour may be purchased which will include extra information on the homes open for touring, and architectural and historical information on an additional 12 houses which will not be open to the public (24 houses in all). Shuttle transportation will be provided between homes for those that would prefer it. Check-in for the tour is at 3521 Hawthorne Blvd – the intersection of Grand Ave, Longfellow Blvd and Hawthorne Blvd. details here.

Old North St. Louis House and Community Tour
Saturday, May 19 – 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

The tour will feature the great diversity of housing styles that make Old North a community where almost everyone can find a place that suits their budget and lifestyle. Stops on the tour will include historically rehabbed houses that once were abandoned shells, at least one LEED-certified home built by Habitat for Humanity, community gardens (including the 13th Street Garden, which grows food for the North City Farmers’ Market and is home to the Old North Chicken Coop), the Old North Grocery Co-op, and new businesses at Crown Square. The HomeGrown Street Festival will show off the cool, public space at Crown Square, along the redeveloped former 14th Street Mall, and will feature a variety of locally produced arts, crafts, and other goods. Details here.

Historic Maplewood Tour
Saturday, May 19 – 10:00 a.m.

Esley Hamilton and Doug Houser will lead guests through Maplewood’s historic neighborhoods on Saturday, May 19th starting at 10 a.m. This event is free but an RSVP is required: Meet at the Sutton Loop (between Hazel and Maple, 2800 Sutton). Details here.


The Past, Present and Future of the Clemens House

The James Clemens, Jr. House as it appears today, with its portico removed.

What is going on with James Clemens, Jr. House? Attend a lecture by Michael Allen, Director of the Preservation Research Office and hosted by Landmarks Association on the status of the centerpiece of Paul McKee’s NorthSide development on Thursday, May 10th at 6:00 PM.

The Clemens House, constructed in 1858, is one of the few antebellum Greek Revival mansions in St. Louis and is the centerpiece of Paul McKee’s proposed NorthSide project. However, after removing the cast iron portico from the facade, the status of the project now appears unclear. Michael Allen, Director of the Preservation Research Office, will reprise his lecture “The James Clemens House: Past, Present and Future” which he delivered at Landmarks’ office during Preservation Week 2009. The lecture will include an update on the current status of the Clemens House.

The lecture will be held at Architecture St. Louis located in Landmarks’ office at 911 Washington Avenue, Suite 170. The lecture will begin at 6:00 PM and is free and open to the public.


Thursday: Esley Hamilton Talk on St. Louis County’s Mid-Century Modern Religious Buildings

Thursday, May 3
Church of the Open Word, 1040 Dautel Lane, Creve Coeur
6:30 p.m. — Tour of the Church of the Open Word
7:00 p.m. — Lecture by Esley Hamilton

Modern STL, in conjunction with The Church of the Open Word, Garden Chapel, will proudly present a talk by Esley Hamilton, Preservation Historian for St. Louis County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, who will discuss the recent county-wide survey of Mid-Century Modern religious buildings. The program takes place Thursday May 3, at 7:00 p.m. preceded by a tour of the Garden Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served during the tour and after the program.

The United Methodist Church in Kirkwood (1964, Schmidt, Perlsee & Black) is one of the County religious buildings included in the survey.

More than 400 churches were built in St. Louis County between 1940 and 1970. A surprisingly large number of them proved to be significant for their architecture. In particular, many congregations chose the style that is coming to be known as Mid-Century Modern. Their architects produced some of their best work in these buildings. Hamilton will review the highlights of this study in the setting of one of the noteworthy churches of that era, the Church of the Open Word, located at 1040 Dautel Lane, off Olive Boulevard, in Creve Coeur. The church was built in 1958 and was designed by Schmidt & Black.


Tonight: “Battle for Brooklyn” Screening Ends Open/Closed

Location: The Luminary – 4900 Reber Place
Time: 7:30 p.m.

The film Battle for Brooklyn follows the story of reluctant activist Daniel Goldstein as he struggles to save his home and community from being demolished to make way for a professional basketball arena and the densest real estate development in U.S. history. Along the way, he falls in love, gets married and starts a family while living in a vacated building located at the heart of the project site. Over the course of seven years, Daniel spearheads the movement against the development plan as he and the community fight tenaciously in the courts, the streets, and the media to stop the abuse of eminent domain and reveal the corruption at the heart of the plan.


Homer Tourkakis: Owner of “Eminent Dental,” Arnold, MO. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that non-charter cities can exercise the power of eminent domain. Tourkakis was forced to sell his business to THF Realty. He used the proceeds to open his new practice.

Desy Schoenewies: Long-time resident of the Carrollton neighborhood of Bridgeton, MO and author of the “56 Houses Left” blog, which documented the neighborhood’s demolition for a new runway at Lambert International Airport.

Michael R. Allen: Director of the Preservation Research Office.

(RSVP on Facebook) While not necessary, RSVPs are welcome. Please pass along the invitation. All films and events are free and open to all.


DeMenil House Book Sale

From the Chatillon-DeMenil House:

Volunteers are lifting weights and reading up a storm in preparation for our sixth annual Used Book Sale, to be held May 19th – 20th across the street at the amazing Lemp Brewery complex. This is one of our biggest annual fundraisers, and we can still use your help! We already have more books than at any previous sale, but we’ll have room for many many more. Drop off your book donations at DeMenil between 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. We’re also accepting donations of card tables and other lightweight folding tables. We have two big volunteer days scheduled: moving day on May 12 (beginning at 10:00 a.m.) and sorting day on May 15 (4:00-8:00 p.m.).