Defining an Era: The City of St. Louis Mid-Century Modern Survey

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Millennium Hotel_STLOn February 11, 2013, the Cultural Resources Office of St. Louis presented to the public the results of their survey of non-residential mid-century modern architecture in the City of St. Louis, MO. The details of their survey work during 2012 is documented here.

Nearly 250 buildings made their list of architecturally worthy buildings. That list was narrowed down to 40, and everyone from both the Cultural Resources Office and  the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office at Monday’s meeting reiterated how genuinely difficult it was to come to that new number. They all fell in love with certain buildings, harbored their favorites.

Toby MCM City story

But because it’s a limited grant budget, and all this historical research takes time and money, the 40 buildings need to be narrowed down to 20-25 buildings that will make the final list. That’s why they are asking for St. Louisans to weigh in on which buildings we think should make the final cut. You can view the 40 buildings below.

Those in attendance were given a sheet of 16 stars to place upon the buildings we liked most.

Toby MCM City story

Here’s Michael Allen bestowing one of his stars upon a building he wrote about. Turns out this South Grand vacant bank is already under threat of demolition for a new independent grocery store building on the lot. And this highlights why it’s important to have this list of our significant MCM architecture: if one of these buildings should come under fire, there will be documentation to prove why it matters.

Among the final 40, it was thrilling to see buildings that I’ve covered previously in this blog. These include:

Former Buder Branch St. Louis Public Library

Oak Hill Chapel in Holly Hills

The AAA Building, Optimist Building, Engineers Club and the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ Chancery on Lindell Boulevard in Central West End. (They could save a little time and just declare Lindell Boulevard an Historic District, similar to what was done on Washington Avenue, downtown.)

Pius Memorial Library, St. Louis University

Carpenter’s Union Hall on Hampton Avenue

David P. Wohl Community Center, whose architect of record, Richard Henmi, was on hand to place his star upon it, once again:

Toby MCM City story

Henmi, the architect of the Flying Saucer in Midtown, will also be in Jefferson City on February 27, 2013 as one of the people accepting a 2013 preservation award from Missouri Preservation. This is shaping up to be a special year for him, and all of us who love his work and those of his professional peers.

What Happens Next: They need your feedback by February 15, 2013 on which 20-25 buildings deserve further research to make the final list. Please review the 40 buildings. Download the comment sheet here, which also has information on where to send it.

In Spring, they plan to announce the 20-25 finalists that will get the full treatment of further
documentation and statements of significance that put them in historic context and serve as framework for the property owners and others to use for the architectural preservation and appreciation of these buildings.

Stay atop any breaking news on The Finalists by following Chris Madrid French on Twitterand Missouri Preservation on Facebook. Or just check back with B.E.L.T., ‘cos you know how freaking excited I am about all this!
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This post originally appeared on Toby's fantastic B.E.L.T. blog, a 2013 RFT Web award winner for Best Architecture Blog. More information about the city's Cultural Resources Office effort to preserve Mid-Century Modern architecture:

Video from the Preservation Research Office, "Modern St. Louis":

City of St. Louis Mid-Century Modern Architecture Survey – 40 buildings by nextSTL

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  • Will Fru

    What’s this about a grocery at the Hamiltonian Bank site?

  • http://twitter.com/PMAPDX PMA

    You can also follow Peter Meijer Architect, PC on twitter for updates on the final list and additional information on the project: @pmapdx

  • Kyle Steffen

    I want it to be known that IF any thing ever happens to St. Hedwig (St. Louis Harvest Church), there is a specific square of green marble behind the altar on which I call dibs. I know it sounds strange, but it is important to my strange family.