Architects JeffVanderLou Metro East Mid-Century Modern Missouri North St. Louis Pruitt Igoe South St. Louis Southwest Garden Wellston

The Mid-Century Modernism of Marcel Boulicault

by Michael R. Allen

St. Louis architect Marcel Boulicault’s name probably is unfamiliar to you, but a few of his works will draw an “ah ha!” or two. Boulicault is a designer whose contributions to Modern architecture in St. Louis are largely unheralded, but that needs to change. Boulicault (1896 – 1961) is best known for an obtrusive and despised addition to the St. Louis State Hospital, the Louis H. Kohler Building, which stood directly in front of William Rumbold’s domed 1869 County Asylum building. Boulicault also designed the building that became St. Louis Fire Department Headquarters, a major state office building on Jefferson City and other prominent works. Then, there is his patented electric tooth brush — which we will discuss in a moment. Boulicault’s buildings were creative, colorful (and a bit jazzy) but also purposeful — the best mid-century combination.

Highly-idealized rendering of the Kohler Building at St. Louis State Hospital — the flip side of what would happen. Source: Missouri State Archives.
Demolition St. Louis County Wellston

Checks Cashed, Open During Construction

by Michael R. Allen

The old building still stood on June 10, 2006. Photograph by Claire Nowak-Boyd.

If one demolishes all of a building before building its replacement, where does the occupant go in between? Might be easier to stay put. The owners of a check cashing shop on the 6100 block of Martin Luther King Drive in Wellston just outside of St. Louis chose to keep their building standing as they built a new one. However, the story is interesting because the footprint of the new building overlaps with that of the old.

The solution? Knock down as much of the old two-story brick building as necessary while leaving the business open during construction!

Here’s the side view.

Some plywood kept the old building secure until the new building, set far back from both Martin Luther King Drive and Kienlen Avenue, could open. Subsequently, the old building was completely demolished.