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St. Mary’s Razed Original St. Mary’s Hospital Building

Over my years in St. Louis I’ve visited St. Mary’s Hospital on Clayton Road a few times, always to visit others. However, six years ago today I arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital from Saint Louis University Hospital to begin physical rehab following my stroke. I don’t remember arriving, but I do remember leaving a month later.

I took this photo of the original hospital building the day I left, March 21, 2008
I took this photo of the original hospital building the day I left, March 21, 2008
When I returned for a visit 4 years ago today I took this pic of the original hospital building
When I returned for a visit 4 years ago today I took this pic of the original hospital building
By October 2010 the building had been razed.
By October 2010 the building had been razed.

The original building was likely poorly suited for modern medicine but it had much more going for it: quality materials, great proportions, etc. Not every great old building can or should be saved. The problem is I think too many decision makers assume the old must go away without exploring options for reuse. Assumptions can cloud what should be a non-biased analysis.

What replaces the old is usually a disappointment.

– Steve Patterson

  • OlMOBJ

    I can identify with “the old” since I was born in that wing 67 years ago. Seven day stay for mom and newborn cost $94.

  • JZ71

    “What replaces the old is usually a disappointment.” Define “old”. Is a Victorian or Italianate brick home a “disappointment” compared to the canvas tent or sod shanty or rudimentary log cabin that it replaced in the 1890′s or 1920′s? Or is it anything that is built in your lifetime, or this century, that replaces something that predates your birth, that makes it a “disappointment”?

    Times change, everything ages. Most people don’t just tear down buildings because they’ve grown tired of or bored with them, they tear them down (and hopefully replace them) because they’re functionally obsolete and/or have significant maintenance or structural issues. Demolition costs money and disrupts daily operations, it’s not like throwing out a pair of worn-out shoes.

    You state that “The original building was likely poorly suited for modern medicine”, I agree. You also imply that St. Mary’s “decision makers [decided that] the old must go away without exploring options for reuse”, with which I strongly disagree. They have a limited campus to build on, and if it can’t be reused for hospital uses, it needs/needed to go IF they were going to stay at this location (and not move to an easier, suburban campus). The same goes with the Zoo and their current demolition of the old hospital on the south side of Forest Park – they looked at saving what they could (the parking garage) – or the current demolition at BJC/Children’s along Kingshighway. From an urban design standpoint, keeping institutions like these in urban areas should trump bemoaning the loss of any individual structure.

    • moe

      It’s the old, original Jewish Hospital that is being razed. At first we thought they were going to retain the façade but then realized that they were just salvaging all the scrap first before razing. NOW that BJC complex is one cluster-frack of a campus.
      The St. Mary’s wing was built as a fortess…as many old structures are and made modernization very $$$$. Many of the floors were closed for years or used for storage. The first floor was Admin offices and Sr. Betty kept them there as long as she could.
      non-biased analysis…in other words, they didn’t ask Steve so he made a biased analysis.

      • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

        This post is about St. Mary’s Hospital on Clayton Road in Richmond Heights, not the BJC complex. I guess you couldn’t read my post slow enough before attacking me. Next time please make sure you understand what I’m posting about before you being critical of my opinion.

        • moe

          I was correcting JZ’s comment regarding the BJC/Children’s complex….which is not Children’s, it is Jewish that is being razed. Then I rang in supporting JZ’z comment regarding St. Mary’s. Perhaps you should read the comments first. In Order.

          • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

            My apologies, I read the comments in the backend software and the I didn’t press the “context” button.

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