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June 12th: Loving Day

June 12, 2015 Events/Meetings, Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on June 12th: Loving Day
Mildred & Richard Loving, 1967
Mildred & Richard Loving, 1967

At the end of this month the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on two questions of marriage equality with respect to LGBT people. Forty-eight years ago they ruled on the divisive marriage question of the day: marriage between whites & non-whites, mostly blacks:

Few cases were more aptly named than Loving v. Virginia, which pitted an interracial couple – 17-year-old Mildred Jeter, who was black, and her childhood sweetheart, 23-year-old white construction worker, Richard Loving – against Virginia’s “miscegenation” laws banning marriage between blacks and whites. After marrying in Washington, D.C. and returning to their home state in 1958, the couple was charged with unlawful cohabitation and jailed. According to the judge in the case, Leon M. Bazile, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents…. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” Judge Bazile sentenced the Lovings to a year in prison, to be suspended if the couple agreed to leave the state for the next 25 years.

The Lovings left Virginia and went to live with relatives in Washington, D.C. When they returned to visit family five years later, they were arrested for traveling together. Inspired by the civil rights movement, Mildred Loving wrote to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy for help. The couple was referred to the ACLU, which represented them in the landmark Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia (1967). The Court ruled that state bans on interracial marriage were unconstitutional. (Loving v. Virginia: The Case Over Interracial Marriage)

The court ruling is celebrated annually:

Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states citing “There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause.” In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were U.S. state laws banning interracial marriage, mainly forbidding marriage between non-whites and whites. Loving Day is not yet an official recognized holiday by the U.S. government, but there is a movement to persuade U.S. President Barack Obama to make it so. Loving Day is the biggest multiracial celebration in the United States. (Wikipedia)

Additional resources:

If not for Loving v. Virgina, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas couldn’t live in or visit 17 states with his 2nd wife, but I expect him to vote again marriage equality later this month…he got his!

— Steve Patterson



Happy Memorial Day

I’m fortunate, I’ve not lost any family or friends during their military service:

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. (Wikipedia)

The war memorials downtown are beautiful, but somber, places. I feel for those who have lost loved ones serving our country.

People enjoy the steps during a downtown festival
People enjoy the steps of our WWI memorial during a downtown festival
The mosaic tile ceiling in the center is impressive
The mosaic tile ceiling in the center is impressive
Our WWII memorial, with additions foe Korea & Vietnam
Our WWII memorial, with additions foe Korea & Vietnam

For more information on the Soldiers’ Memorial Military Museum click here.

— Steve Patterson




Surplus School Buildings Open For Tours

Part of the problem of losing hundreds of thousands of residents over a half century is a surplus of buildings. One property owner — The St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) — still has buildings they need to unload. Over the years some former schools have found new owners and new uses. For example, Franklin School:

March 2006
In March 2006 the school looked rough
October 2007
By October 2007 Franklin School reopened as affordable senior apartments

To facilitate getting other surplus school buildings rehabbed the SLPS has started offering tours of 27 of the buildings they have for sale, from their website:

The Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS) Building Revitalization Collaborative was established in 2015 to promote the redevelopment of District-owned properties no longer in use as schools. 

In the spring and summer of 2015, SLPS will be scheduling a series of public open houses at the closed schools and community forums to discuss possible repurposing scenarios for each property. 

By bringing together community stakeholders and a technical advisory committee (TAC) comprised of a variety of experts, SLPS hopes to find creative solutions for these properties that will benefit the District and the St. Louis community as a whole. 

TAC members include architects, building planners, preservationists, real estate developers, and representatives from the fields of finance, education, construction and healthcare.


The SLPS Building Revitalization Collaborative is holding a series of open houses starting in April. All tours start at 5:30 p.m. and run approximately one hour. Please check the website often, as dates and times of tours are subject to change.

If you’d like to plan ahead, please print and fill out the required RELEASE/WAIVER and bring it with you to the tour.

The buildings are not air-conditioned and have no water or electrical service. Debris and standing water may be present in some areas. Wear appropriate footwear.

The dates for the first 8 have passed, but 19 more remain:

  1. April 8, 2015: Baden
  2. April 9, 2015: Walnut Park
  3. April 13, 2015: Shepard
  4. April 15, 2015: Cleveland
  5. April 16, 2015: Stowe
  6. April 20, 2015: Ford Branch
  7. April 22, 2015: DeAndreis/Bunche
  8. April 23, 2015: Ashland Branch
  9. April 29, 2015: Turner
  10. April 30, 2015: Cook
  11. May 4, 2015: Clark
  12. May 6, 2015: Webster
  13. May 7, 2015: Jackson
  14. May 11, 2015: Mark Twain
  15. May 12, 2015: Scullin
  16. May 14, 2015: Lyon
  17. May 18, 2015: Lafayette
  18. May 19, 2015: Gundlach
  19. May 26, 2015: Cupples
  20. May 29, 2015: Williams
  21. June 1, 2015: Sherman
  22. June 3, 2015: Marshall
  23. June 4, 2015: Eliot
  24. June 8, 2015: Gratiot
  25. June 10, 2015: Wilkinson
  26. June 11, 2015: Euclid
  27. June 15, 2015: Banneker

Check out their website for more details, including a map.

— Steve Patterson


The Steedmam Architectural Collection Exhibit at The St. Louis Library

On this day in 1902 the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved legislation to construct a new library, a little more than a decade later the St. Louis Library opened. In 1928, sixteen years after the library opened, a wealthy St. Louis couple donated their collection of rare books on architecture. A current exhibit celebrates this collection:

The Steedman Exhibit features images selected from some of the most beautiful and influential architecture-related books in the George Fox Steedman Architectural Collection. 

Donated to St. Louis Public Library in 1928 with the express purpose of exposing local architects to the great published works on architecture and the allied arts, volumes from the Steedman Collection are rarely displayed to the general public. (The Steedman Exhibit)

Use the link above to see the online exhibit, visit the library to see the exhibit in person!

The Stedman architecture room is unchanged, it is by appointment only as always.
The Stedman architecture room is unchanged, it is by appointment only as always. Photo from the 2012 reopening
Some materials from the collection are on display in the Grand Hall, the book in the foreground was published in 1761
Some materials from the collection are on display in the Grand Hall, the book in the foreground was published in 1761. Additional images are on the South wall.
The Grand Hall is...grand
The Grand Hall is…grand

There are four related lectures this year, the first in less than two weeks:

Free and Open to the Public

SLPL Steedman Architectural Library & The Society of Architectural Historians – St. Louis Chapter Presents

Architecture Around the World

Central Library, 1301 Olive, 63103


On Lecture Nights:

6:00-6:30 – Steedman Architectural Library Open for Viewing

6:30-8:00 – Lecture

  • “From Abbeys to Street Art: Germany and Austria along the Danube” presented by Paul Hohmann, at the St. Louis Public Library, Central Library, Carnegie Room, 1301 Olive St., St. Louis, MO 63103, Thursday, April 16, 2015, 7:00 pm.
  • “The Works of Eero Saarinen” presented by John Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP, at the St. Louis Public Library, Central Library, Carnegie Room, 1301 Olive St., St. Louis, MO 63103, Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 7:00 pm.
  • “The Architecture of Scotland” presented by Esley Hamilton, at the St. Louis Public Library, Central Library, Carnegie Room, 1301 Olive St., St. Louis, MO 63103, Thursday, October 22, 2015, 7:00 pm.
  • “Josep Lluis Sert and Urban Design” presented by Eric Mumford, at the St. Louis Public Library, Central Library, Carnegie Room, 1301 Olive St., St. Louis, MO 63103, Thursday, November 19, 2015, 7:00 pm.

Hopefully you can check out this exhibit in the Grand Hall.

— Steve Patterson


Happy Washington’s Birthday or Presidents’ Day?

February 16, 2015 Events/Meetings, Featured, Transportation, Travel Comments Off on Happy Washington’s Birthday or Presidents’ Day?
The Lincoln IL Amtrak station, as seen from a Lincoln Service train in May 2012
The Lincoln IL Amtrak station, as seen from a Lincoln Service train in May 2012

So which is it: Presidents’ Day or Washington’s Birthday? What about Abraham Lincoln? The best answer I found online is from Snopes.com (recommended):

Claim:   The federal holiday observed in the United States on the third Monday of February is officially designated as “Presidents’ Day.”


Their post is long and detailed, but the following is a good summary:

President Nixon is frequently identified as the party responsible for changing Washington’s Birthday into President’s Day and fostering the notion that it is a day for commemorating all U.S. Presidents, a feat he supposedly achieved by issuing a proclamation on 21 February 1971 which declared the third Monday in February to be a “holiday set aside to honor all presidents, even myself.” This claim stems not from fact, however, but from a newspaper spoof. Actually, presidential records indicate that Nixon merely issued an Executive Order (11582) on 11 February 1971 defining the third Monday of February as a holiday, and the announcement of that Executive Order identified the day as “Washington’s Birthday.”

Executive Order (11582) makes no mention of the title’s of the holidays:

(a) Holiday means the first day of January, the third Monday of February, the last Monday of May, the fourth day of July, the first Monday of September, the second Monday of October, the fourth Monday of October, the fourth Thursday of November, the twenty-fifth day of December, or any other calendar day designated as a holiday by Federal statute or Executive order.

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is the 12th — my husband and I were on a Lincoln Service Amtrak train to Chicago on his birthday. Washington’s birthday s the 22nd — this coming Sunday.

— Steve Patterson