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Arch Construction Started 50 Years Ago Today

Half  a century ago work began on Eero Saarinen’s stainless steel Arch.

The Gateway Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and German-American structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel in 1947. Construction began on February 12, 1963, and ended on October 28, 1965, costing US$13 million at the time (approximately $95,900,000 in 2013). The monument opened to the public on June 10, 1967. (Wikipedia)

Demolition of 40 city blocks began on October 10, 1939, leaving a large area vacant for over two decades.

ABOVE:  Image from Jefferson National Expansion Memorial archives.
ABOVE: For 20+ years the Arch site was a just massive parking lot. 
Image from Jefferson National Expansion Memorial archives.

Fast forward to today and we have efforts to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the last piece of the Arch being placed on October 28, 1965. This month they will report the progress:

CityArchRiver 2015 partners will host the third annual Report to the Community on Thursday, February 21. The report will provide the latest news and updates on the project to transform the Arch experience by making it safer and more accessible for visitors.

Representatives from CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, the National Park Service, Haley Sharpe Design, Missouri Department of Transportation and Great Rivers Greenway District will discuss progress to date and describe new developments. Representatives will be available to answer questions and take comments during an open house immediately following the program.


The Report to the Community will be held at the Ferrara Theatre in the America’s Center at 701 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, Mo. 63101. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the presentation scheduled from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. After the event concludes, attendees are invited to participate in the open house in the lobby from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Press Release)

I’m looking forward to hearing the latest on this project to address connectivity issues with the site.

— Steve Patterson


Campbell House Museum Open For 70 Years

The Campbell House Museum at 1508 Locust Street opened 70 years ago today.

Since opening on February 6, 1943, the Campbell House Museum has served the greater St. Louis area as one of the region’s premier historic property museums.

The Museum not only preserves the Campbell’s house, but also their collection of original furniture, fixtures, paintings, objects and thousands of pages of family documents. Included in these documents is a unique album of 60 photographs of the interior of the house taken in about 1885. In 2005 the Museum completed a meticulous five-year restoration that returned the building to its opulent 1880s appearance, when the house was one of the centers of St. Louis society.

ABOVE: The Campbell House Museum at 15th & Locust was part of a group of mansions on the far west edge of St. Louis

How many museums do you know that have been open for 70 years?  Like the Scott Joplin House, the Campbell House is a look at how people lived in earlier times, wealthy in this case.  Regular hours resume on March 1st, well worth a visit.

 — Steve Patterson


Poll: State Of Race Relations In St. Louis

The book St. Louis Day-By-Day by  Frances Hurd Stadler is fascinating, the entry for January 13th tells a chilling story from 175 years ago:

ABOVE: The old Courthouse in September 2011
ABOVE: The old Courthouse in September 2011

Nathan Brown, newly arrived in St. Louis, wrote to his brother in the East, relating: “I witnessed the sale today by auction of a very interesting young negro boy, 15 years old — sold for $457-1/2. The little fellow was exhibited on the table the same as any other article — and examined by being made to walk back and forth, & by feeling his joints as one would examine a horse. The little fellow appeared to realize his condition and when the big tear rolled down his cheek would merely brush it aside and hold his head up with an air & manner which won him the sympathies of a great number of the spectators. I certainly never have seen a more submissive imploring look than he exhibited as soon as he was sold; his feelings were vented in floods of tears.” While some slave auctions –usually those held to settle estates–took place on the steps of the Old Courthouse, most sales were effected by private dealers who kept notorious slave pens. Ironically, one of these  served as a federal prison during the Civil War.

According to this inflation calculator $457.50 in 1838 is equal to $9,515.96 in 2011 dollars. Wow, for a person! We’ve come a long way in the 175 years since but I don’t think we’re where we need to be.

The poll question this week asks your view on the state of race relations in St. Louis. Improving? Declining? Holding Steady? The poll question is in the right sidebar and the provided answers are presented in a random order.

— Steve Patterson


Poll: Should The “Express” Library In The Old Post Office Be Closed?

Nearly a decade ago the developers of the Old Post Office needed more tenants lined up so they could get their project financing, allowing them to raze the historic Century Building across the street for a parking garage. The St. Louis Public Library came through with a lease for an “express” library just four blocks east of the Central Library building and the Century came down.

ABOVE: Interior of the Central Express library in the Old Post Office
ABOVE: Interior of the Central Express library in the Old Post Office

The Express was nice to have while the Central was closed for renovations but a cheaper temporary location could’ve been found, such as the still-vacant ground floor of the Library administration building at 1415 Olive.

The Century is long gone and Central reopened last month. Is the Express still needed? When does the lease expire? Should it be renewed?

The poll question this week asks if the Express, located four blocks from Central, be closed or kept open.  The poll is in the right sidebar.

Also, the Central Library first opened 101 years ago today.

— Steve Patterson



A Century of Crown Candy Kitchen

January 3, 2013 Featured, History/Preservation, North City Comments Off on A Century of Crown Candy Kitchen

This year one of my favorite St. Louis places will turn 100 years old.

Crown Candy Kitchen was opened in 1913 by Harry Karandzieff and his best friend Pete Jugaloff. They brought their confectionary skills from Greece, along with a dream of providing a friendly family environment to enjoy their delicious creations.

I still recall my first trip to Crown Candy Kitchen in the fall of 1990. It was dark and  and I was intimidated by the neighborhood. The former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall seemed abandoned, although I’d soon learn numerous businesses were still there.

ABOVE: Interior of Crown Candy Kitchen
ABOVE: Interior of Crown Candy Kitchen

That first visit Andy Karandzieff, one of three brothers, was working behind the counter. Most of the time when I visit Andy is behind the counter, making the malts and Sundaes.

ABOVE: Exterior of Crown Candy Kitchen
ABOVE: Exterior of Crown Candy Kitchen

Sadly, last October one of Andy’s older brothers, Mike, died of cancer. Andy & Tommy continue the family business.

— Steve Patterson