As I watched footage of the last two sections of the old Beck and Corbitt Iron Company building burn to the ground on Thursday, I realized it was a good thing I managed to get down and photograph it one last time earlier this month. It’s the building on the right in the first photo and the warehouse that appears second after the historic photos.
I thought there might be a few jagged walls left standing when I got down there on Saturday, but it was just a pile of smoldering bricks and timbers.
About the only positive thing I can say is that at least none of the other warehouses nearby were destroyed, thanks to the hard and courageous work of the St. Louis Fire Department.
But honestly, the building below, an old sugar warehouse, already had its own fire a couple of years ago, and somehow avoided being demolished despite its owner telling me he was going to, and it’s only a matter of time and the odds that eventually another squatter’s fire will go out of control and destroy the rest.
Let’s be honest here; no development is coming, not that that is surprising; Interstate 70 cuts this area off from the rest of the city so badly that it’s next to impossible to get down here. If I were to be asked to give directions to reach this location to someone, I would find the task literally, not figuratively, impossible due to the weird traffic patterns and chopped up street grid. Is that the type of place ripe for development?
What is the owner doing to secure this beautiful warehouse, which once housed the Norvelle Shapleigh Company? Winter is coming. It wasn’t even that cold the night its neighbor burned.