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Central West End Demolition Mid-Century Modern North St. Louis Preservation Board

Preservation Board Approved BJC Demolitions, Denies Alterations to Mid-Century Wohl Recreation Center

by Michael R. Allen

Yesterday, the St. Louis Preservation Board approved on a preliminary basis demolition of the Ettrick, Schoenberg Residence Hall and the two buildings at 3-17 N. Euclid. The Board voted 4-1, with members Mary Johnson, David Visintainer, Phyllis Young and John Burse voting in favor, and Mike Killeen opposed. I testified against demolition, and two citizens sent tesimony by e-mail. After last month’s packed meeting, I was surprised that the Board was back to its usual sparse crowd.

The Board also unanimously denied the Board of Public Service’s application to replace the doors at the Wohl Recreation Center swimming pool with a storefront system. The doors are an essential design feature of the mid-century modern building at 1515 N. Kingshighway in Sherman Park. The Wohl Recreation Center was built in 1959 and designed by Russell, Mullgardt, Scwartz and Van Hoefen — architects of Northland Shopping Center, the Engineers Club, Steinberg Hall and other local modern landmarks. Cultural Resources Office (CRO) Director Kate Shea laudably stood up against the plan, despite the clout of the other city agency. I was glad to see the CRO stand up for the design integrity of a modern public building.

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