Mid-Century Modern This Building Matters

This Building Matters #5: Modern St. Louis (Citywide MCM Survey)

Yesterday, the Cultural Resources Office held a public meeting on the ongoing citywide survey of non-residential mid-century modern architecture. Cultural Resources Office Director Betsy Bradley started the meeting with a talk that included slides of the handful of St. Louis non-residential Modern buildings already listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including Pet Plaza and the Nooter Corporation Building. The list is far too small given the wide cultural acceptance of the mid-century modern era.

Part of the public meeting included ranking a list of 40 buildings prepared by Peter Meijer Associates, the architectural firm that is working on the survey project. The 40 buildings and comment forms are online here. Public input will lead to a list of 25-30 buildings recommended for City Landmark designation.

Some of yesterday’s meeting can be seen in this video.

Adaptive Reuse Midtown This Building Matters

This Building Matters #4: Morgan Linen (Old Building, New Business)

This Building Matters last visited the demolition site of the Powell Square building near downtown. Everything that Ryan Albritton said about buildings having economic value for entrepreneurs rings true in our latest episode, in which we visited with Amber Giessmann and Christopher Janson of The Space at Morgan Linen.

The Space at Morgan Linen will be a new event space in the historic Dinks Parrish Laundry Building at 3124 Olive Street in Midtown. As the video shows, the Morgan Linen crew was drawn to all of the details that preservationists have long admired. We all see beauty, but some see an excellent place for a new business. Seems that old buildings are good for the local economy.

Demolition This Building Matters

This Building Matters #3: Powell Square

The building known as “Powell Square,” located at Third and Cedar streets near downtown, was built in 1917 as the pharmaceutical factory of the John T. Milliken Chemical Company. Later users included the Fulton Bag Company and Dan Powell Company, which both used the building for warehouse space. A company controlled by attorney Stephen Murphy has owned the building since 2001. Murphy, who owns neighboring buildings in the south riverfront area, planned to rehabilitate the building into artists’ studios and other uses, but eventually abandoned the project.

On December 28, 2012, the Building Commissioner Frank Oswald approved a permit to demolish the building as an emergency order. The City of St. Louis is paying for the demolition, which will be billed to the owner. We asked local entrepreneur Ryan Albritton to discuss the demolition and what it means to the city.

James Clemens House North St. Louis St. Louis Place This Building Matters

This Building Matters #2: James Clemens, Jr. House

On Christmas Eve, we visited a hallowed site in our city’s architectural heritage: the James Clemens, Jr. House. The condition of the house and its still-evident beauty moved Steven Fitzpatrick Smith, who joined us for the visit. As the video shows, the condition of the Clemens House continues to worsen. Yet we cannot let this treasure be lost.

North St. Louis Old North This Building Matters

This Building Matters #1: 1914 & 1916 Palm Street, Old North

Preservation Research Office is pleased to present the first episode of a regular video series called This Building Matters. The premise is simple: Preservation is something lots of of people care about and practice in their daily lives. This series documents the everyday experiences of historic preservation in St. Louis, and the preservationists in our communities across the region. The format is simple and spontaneous — these episodes come from our field work, and may be unrehearsed. After all, we run into people doing good work every day.

For our first effort, we talked to Stefene Russell about two historic houses on her block in Old North St. Louis. Stefene lives across the street and is rehabbing a small house that, along with the two houses shown here, is one of the three remaining buildings on the south side of the 1900 block of Palm Street. Their loss would change the lives of Stefene and her neighbors forever. [Note: Turn up the volume; our audio skills are young.]

If you have an idea for the series, let us know by posting a comment or sending Michael Allen a note at Thanks for watching!