by Michael R. Allen
With work starting on the conversion of St. Louis Centre into a parking garage, I thought that it would be fitting to publish this vintage postcard from the mall’s glory days. I purchased the postcard at St. Louis Centre around 1994. Back then, the light-bathed white atrium seemed pretty darn cool!
In the too infrequently-quoted guide Seeing St. Louis (1989) — a sheer joy to read, especially for the lovely contrarian swipes — Barringer Fifield compared the mall to an ocean liner after delightfully dismissing the green and light gray panels with one word, “infelicitous.” “Nautical white, with ship’s railings and prowlike balconies, it even has a blue-green body of water below,” wrote Fifield. Fifield concluded: “Everything is shipshape, and a certain carefully crafted artificiality adds to the luxury-liner effect.” For all of the flaws in design — ranging from the terrible exterior design, the bizarre sloping first floor areas and the obscenely thin floor plates — the mall had a distinct charm because of the interior. Soon it shall be gone forever.