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Aldermen Approved Failed St. Louis Centre Forty Years Ago

March 16, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Downtown, Featured, Retail Comments Off on Aldermen Approved Failed St. Louis Centre Forty Years Ago

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s also the 40th anniversary of the start of one of St. Louis’ worst decisions: St. Louis Centre

This Day in St. Louis History, March 17, 1978:
The first step towards St. Louis Centre

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved three bills that would set the stage to develop a proposed downtown shopping mall, with the only further step being the acquisition of federal funding. The headquarters of Stx, Baer, & Fuller, which would become Dillard’s just months before the mall’s completion, and Famous-Barr existed with one block separating them between Washington and Locust at 6th Street. The goal was to create an enclosed, urban shopping mall with these two companies as anchors, and the estimated budget was nearly $150 million. St. Louis Centre opened in 1985 as the largest shopping mall in America. It had over 150 stores and 20 restaurants, and was initially a great success. Challenges appeared in the 1990s however, as the Westroads Shopping Center was redeveloped into the St. Louis Galleria and stores began closing. St. Louis Centre closed in 2006, and since then has been redeveloped into a 750-car parking garage and retail center. (From now defunct STL250 Facebook page)

The mall opened seven years later, in 1985.

To any urbanist the idea of razing an entire city block to build one massive internally-focused building is just wrong. Anyone who knew better either kept quiet or were silenced, ignored. Malls in the suburbs are doing great so we must do the same.

St. Louis Centre, April 2006
Looking east along Washington Ave from 7th, February 2006

The mall is now a parking garage with out-facing retail at the sidewalk level. The oppressive bridges over Washington & Locust are gone.

2014

The mistake has been reversed, but the damage was done long ago. Retailing, once a big part of downtown, is almost nonexistent. Restaurants are now the generators of much foot traffic.

I can’t help but wonder where downtown would be if bills weren’t approved 40 years ago.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Parking Stay Within The Treasurer’s Office?

December 31, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Parking Stay Within The Treasurer’s Office?
Please vote below

When St. Louis voted itself out of St. Louis County in 1876 it became an “independent city” with city & county elected offices. In the years since this has produced conflicts as “county” office holders are elected independently and don’t answer to the mayor or aldermen. Sometimes lawsuits are filed.

A lawsuit that’s been moving steadily through the courts since January questions whether the Parking Commission of St. Louis should even exist under Missouri’s constitution. In August, a member of that commission — Jeffrey Boyd, who heads the board’s streets, traffic and refuse committee — became a plaintiff suing the state and the city. Another plaintiff in the suit is James J. Wilson, the former city counselor under Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr. (Post-Dispatch)

The court case ix 1722-CC00338 – JAMES WILSON ET AL V CITY OF ST LOUIS ET AL (E-CASE). It can be found on Missouri Case.net. This bags the question about who should be in charge of parking and the revenues it generates?

Here is the last non-scientific poll of 2017;

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Many Holiday Gifts Came Likely Came From St. Louis’ Jaccard & Co Jewelry

December 25, 2017 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, Retail Comments Off on Many Holiday Gifts Came Likely Came From St. Louis’ Jaccard & Co Jewelry

Many of you will likely be giving and/orreceiving gifts today. Some of those gifts may include jewelry.The following post was started about two months ago, it seemed appropriate to finally finish it for today.

Like many, my husband and I are fans of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow program. We watch each new episode and, if nothing else is on, we’ll watch a repeat. Such was the case on Saturday October 14th. That night we watched the 2nd of a 3-part program from Detroit (Season 18 Episode 5). When it started I didn’t anticipate it would take me on a long dive into St. Louis history..but one appraisal did just that.

The appraisal titled 1900 Diamond Brooch with Dranwing was brought in by a man whose grandfather had it custom made in 1900 for his grandmother. His grandparents were living outside of Cincinatti but commissioned a jeweler in St. Louis.  Appraiser Peter J. Shemonsky says “they were a very well-respected and well-know jeweler at the time period.” On the internet I quickly find the segment to watch again so I can catch the jeweler’s name.

Receipt from E. Jaccard Jewelry Co

So I have the name and location (Olive and Sixth), should be easy, right?

My search led me to the FindAGrave.com bio of David Constant Jaccard, which explained many company name changes:

At the age of eleven, David began serving his apprenticeship to the watchmaker’s trade. After his graduation he taught school for a year and then came to the United States to join his relatives Louis and Eugene Jaccard, who were already in business in St. Louis. Louis founded the house under the name of Jaccard & Recordon. Six years later Eugene Jaccard became a partner in the firm, the name of which was changed to Jaccard & Co. In 1844 they sold their establishment, but regained possession of it a year later. Eugene became the sole owner in 1849. In 1853 he admitted to partnership with him A. S. Mermod, and in 1855 D. C. Jaccard, under the firm name of E. Jaccard & Co. The business was continued under this name until 1862. D. C. Jaccard and A. S. Mermod then joined forces and purchased a jewelry establishment under Odd Fellow’s Hall in St. Louis, founding what became one of the most famous jewelry houses in the United States. In 1873 the firm name was changed to Mermod, Jaccard & Co., followed by the name of Mermod & Jaccard Jewelry Company in 1883. The house had its own watch manufactory in Switzerland as well as in Paris and various other cities in Europe.

In 1868 Mr. Jaccard was appointed vice-consul for Switzerland in St. Louis and later acted as consul for that country for two years. During the Civil War, as treasurer of the “Societe du Sou par Semaine,” he distributed over twenty thousand dollars to relieve the wants of those who suffered from the effects of the great struggle then going on, without regard to their sympathies either with the North or the South.

I found a photo of their beautiful building in Washington University’s Eames and Young Architectural Photographs collection.

E. Jaccard Jewelry Company Building – Eames and Young … Washington University in St. Louis E. Jaccard Jewelry Company Building – Eames and Young Architectural Photographs. This building was located on the northeast corner of Broadway and Olive, the future location of the National Bank of Commerce Building, then the Monward Realty Company Building.

But wait, this 1880 photo indicates it’s located on the NE corner  of Broadway & Olive. Broadway is the name used instead of 5th. I hope to learn more about St. Louis’ famous jeweler. Since this post was started we’ve seen another segment with an item from Jaccard — see 1898 Kansas City Fire Chief Presentation Badge.

I’m no stranger to famous local jewelers, everyone who’s lived in Oklahoma City knows BC Clark Jewelers has been around since 1892 — 15 years before statehood. Megan Mullaly even sang their jingle to Jay Leno. I’d still like to know what happened to the Jaccard store.

Have a great day today!

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: Downtown Needs More Residential Units — Apartments Are Right for the Times

December 13, 2017 Downtown, Featured Comments Off on Opinion: Downtown Needs More Residential Units — Apartments Are Right for the Times

For my parent’s generation (The Silent Generation) the American dream was a good job, the same job, for life — paying off your mortgage. If you worked the same job for life moving was only necessary when you wanted a bigger place or smaller residence.  The days of people working for the same company for life is pretty much over. We change jobs…and careers frequently now. Along with a change of jobs comes a change of cities.

An apartment m the Arcade

This mobility means many don’t want to get tied to one address for too long. Apartments give people, especially young people, an opportunity to experience urban living with little commitment.

From 2015:

In 2013, the U.S. homeownership rate fell for the ninth straight year, clocking in at just 65.1 percent, the lowest level since 1995, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. First-time homebuyers, young people, and minorities participate less and less in the housing market. The big philosophical debate is when, if ever, they’ll come back and what that will mean for their wealth over the long-run. (The Atlantic)

A mix is good — ownership & rentals, affordable to high-end. The important thing for downtown is warm bodies, getting long-vacant buildings occupied. More than a decade ago leaders promised us a 24/7 downtown — we’re a long way from that, but more residents is a good thing.

The results of the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Downtown is building too many for-rent apartments, should stay focused on for-sale condos.

  • Strongly agree 0 [0%]
  • Agree 1 [3.45%]
  • Somewhat agree 9 [31.03%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 7 [24.14%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 7 [24.14%]
  • Strongly disagree 5 [17.24%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

Apartments will continue throughout the city, but condos will return when the time is right.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Condos vs Apartments…Does It Matter?

December 10, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Condos vs Apartments…Does It Matter?
Please vote below

On Friday we learned about a proposed 33-story apartment tower across Broadway from Busch Stadium/Ballpark Village. A 29-story apartment tower is already planned within Ballpark Village.

Other recent new downtown residential projects include the 25-story Tower at OPOP at 411 North Eighth Street, which has one- and two-bedroom apartments that range between $1,295 and $2,700 per month. Two years ago, the rehab of the historic Arcade building added 282 apartments to the downtown market — the biggest single addition to downtown in decades.

In recent years, downtown has been one of the few city neighborhoods where population has been growing, as historic buildings were rehabbed into lofts and apartments amid sluggish demand for office space. Downtown’s population has more than doubled since 2000 to almost 9,000 as of last year. (Post-Dispatch)

A decade ago all the projects being built were condos, not apartments. Does it matter?

Here’s today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

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