by Michael R. Allen
The Schaeffer Moving Company had long occupied the three-story building at 2422 North Broadway, and its red enameled sign (once ablaze through neon tubing) was a familiar site to those who work and live around the area. The steel-framed building actually began its life around the turn of the century as a two-story distribution warehouse for meat-packing giant the Armour Company. The third floor was added in 1911.
The side elevation facing Benton Street (now legally vacated) was an impressive run of steel-sash windows. After the moving company vacated the building about a decade ago, the possibility for reuse easily was apparent.
Instead of reuse, however, the holding company that owns the large row of warehouses to the north (2508 N. Broadway LLC) opted to demolish the old building this month. With the street now vacated, that company can assemble a large parking lot for those buildings.
Since the old Armour building lies in the Fifth Ward, there is no preservation review that might have prevented this senseless loss. The Fifth Ward is one of eight wards out of 28 that does not participate in the city’s preservation review program. (More here.)
Hence, this is what the building looked like yesterday afternoon. Gone. Soon, the ruinous Armour Packing Plant in East St. Louis will also fall, and we will have few tangible traces to our city’s crucial role in the development of the company that turned meatpacking into a science. Yet we will have a few more places to park our cars — not bad, eh?