Demolition Documentation People

Worth Watching: Vanishing STL

by Michael R. Allen

Anyone who spends much time studying the lost buildings of the city — especially those in the central corridor — is bound to run into architect Paul Hohmann. Now chief architect for Pyramid Architects, Paul has been involved in many rehabilitation projects over the years. Privately, Paul has studied our city’s historic architecture and amassed a wealth of knowledge and photographs. Sometimes I have concluded that Paul and I are the among only a handful of people in the city to have paid attention to an obscure building that was demolished — or at least the among the few who still mourn its loss and recall its details.

Now, Paul is sharing his record of lost buildings through a new blog specifically dedicated to local buildings that have been demolished since 1990, Vanishing STL. So far, Paul has posted two entries. The most recent is on the well-known Beaumont Medical Building on Olive Street, wrecked for the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts building. The other entry is about the lesser-known Olympia Apartments at Vandeventer and West Pine.

The entries have abundant photographs to covey both the facts and the beauty of these lost buildings. While the perspective is retrospective, notice the present perfect tense of the blog name. The name is apt given that the vanishing of the historic city is far from over, and far from slowing.