by Michael R. Allen
Tonight is the start of the annual conference of the Society for Industrial Archaeology, which meets for the first time in St. Louis. Co-sponsors include Landmarks Association of St. Louis, the Missouri Historical Society and the UMSL History Department. Members are already out and about delving into the fabric of a city that fascinates all of them.
While a ruinous landscape is always of interest to SIA members, their delay in meeting in St. Louis gives them a chance to see some great examples of adaptive re-use of industrial sites. Although a small group, SIA members’ scholarship is at the forefront of interpreting the history of American industrial cities. Perhaps the visit will inspire them to write a little more fondly of St. Louis.
Check out the conference schedule to see what SIA members will be doing while in town.
For the conference, I have been helping create tours, and will be co-leading a bus tour tomorrow to Granite City and the National City Stockyards that will include a rare guided tour of the US Steel facility in Granite City. I will be making a presentation on the founding and history of Granite City that will get posted on Ecology of Absence at some point. On Sunday, Landmarks Association is leading downtown walking tours; guides are Richard Mueller, Joseph Heathcott and myself. This should lead to three very different tours.