Category Archives: demolition

Venice Power Plant, Half Gone

I’ve been fascinated by the demolition of the Venice Power Plant, which I’ve covered before in the past.

Unlike a lot of demolitions, which start with the clearing of the interior, the demolition here is proceeding from front to back, revealing the still intact interior spaces before they’re torn down.

I know nothing about power plants, other than they burn coal, creating steam that powers a generator; perhaps what those giant funnels do is pour coal down into the boilers.

There are four of them, and there were once four smokestacks, so I presume that is what they are.

There is a whole complex of other outbuildings, which I presume will be torn down as well.

If you or anyone you know worked in this plant, I would love to hear from you.

Armour Meat Packing Plant’s End Coming Soon

Armour Meat Packing Plant, June 23, 2012

A couple of years ago, the new Mississippi River Bridge website published the following satellite image of the path of the Illinois approaches to the new bridge. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that only a portion of the historic stockyards around the old mule pens were in the way of the new road. My favorite ruin in the St. Louis area, Armour Meat Packing, sat uncomfortably close, but nonetheless safe for the time being.

You can understand my chagrin when I recently visited the site and found this new satellite image had been uploaded. If you look closely, you can see that new access road planned to be perpendicular to the new I-70 ends right in front of the main buildings of Armour. I would assume they plan on extending that road further, which of course would go right through the plant. Perhaps it’s time for you to see it before it’s gone.

The Horseshoe, Completely Gone


I had the opportunity to get a ride up to the infamous Horseshoe, a section of one way street that loops around a desolate corner of Wells-Goodfellow.

I asked one of my students, a St. Louis police officer, about the area, and he informed me that he actually grew up on the Horseshoe, and its terrible, violent reputation was well deserved.

Sadly, what a developer had thought would be a perfect neighborhood where children could play in the streets without fear of vehicular traffic became a recipe for another kind of traffic. Since the street was one way, the police had to enter at the top of the Horseshoe, providing plenty of time for drug dealers on the lower half of the loop to be warned of their approach by their confederates.

The official explanation for the Horseshoe’s demolition was that it was in a flood plain and the land was needed for MSD’s use as a retention pond.

Maybe so, but I can’t help but think it worked out well that Wells-Goodfellow was finally rid of this street.

It’s so sad to see what was clearly a beautiful quiet oasis in the city to come to this. Every house is gone now.
Watch a sensationalized show about the area.

Yes, You Can Force CVS to Do What You Want


I have been following the proposed demolition of the AAA Club on Lindell for a while now, but Vanishing St. Louis says it best here. While honestly, it’s not the most urban building in the world, the AAA building is WAY better than the crap that the CVS chain builds. And speaking of them, despite what they claim, they can make buildings that respond to local tastes and context. This CVS, at the intersection of Henry and Clayton Roads, was forced to be a little more stylish than the average CVS. So yes, they will do it if you make them.

Honestly, I think the Preservation Board is a complete joke, more proficient at forcing small home owners to do their bidding than forcing major local power brokers to do what is right. I’ll never forget the meeting where I saw the Board fine a private citizen for two freaking windows that weren’t perfect enough for their tastes, while later on in the meeting they rolled over for a powerful local entity who shall remain anonymous. Basically, if the mayor’s office or alderman wants the building saved, it will be, and if not, it’s toast.

Heck, even Walgreen’s tries a little bit harder if forced, as this store at Clayton and Clarkson Roads attests. Do I think these two stores I just showed are the pinnacles of Western architecture? Of course not, but they’re slightly better than the average, ugly stores the two chains build.