Redevelopment, Former A.G. Edwards Buildings

Update: Demolition was proceeding nicely in the fall of 2023.

As readers might suspect, I have been bedridden, overwhelmed with grief at the announcement that two of the oldest buildings on the former A.G. Edwards campus are marked for demolition in order to build two new hotels, a couple of blocks from the new soccer stadium. As many readers know, this was the heart of the Mill Creek neighborhood (not the natural valley), and the famed People’s Finance Corporation Building stood on the site of the now-doomed office buildings. Read about that now-vanished African American institution in this article I wrote several years ago. I find it ironic, that the proponents of Modernism were so disdainful of the past are now finding their creations being condemned for the very thing they so despised: obsolescence and old age. The current buildings marked for demolition are bland, non-descript and I welcome their demolition. Remember, this is not a preservationist website, but rather a website that argues for beauty and quality in the built environment.

Detail of Advertisement of People’s Finance Corporation by George E. Stevens in History of Central Baptist Church, 1927, Missouri History Museum, LibAcc-2009-0923

Let’s hope the new hotels and any accompanying development are urban in design, and erase the ugly mistake made so many years ago. The intersection of Jefferson and Market is a depressing, traffic-ruined mess, and building people-centric development on one corner is the first step to improving the other three–and then on to other blocks destroyed by urban renewal so many decades ago.

Allied Photocolor, AG Edwards Exterior View, Market and North Jefferson, 1971, Missouri History Museum, P0243-12510-04-4ac

The view above from 1971 is the original building, which is now the wing sticking out to the left in my photo from this week. A giant parking lot had replaced the People’s Finance Corporation Building. If you look off in the distance in the right background, you can see the now-demolished Holy Cross Lutheran Church of the Deaf.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Everett says:

    I agree. These buildings have zero aesthetic merit and deserve to be pulled down. The fortress mentality exhibited in this collection of bland modernist buildings have always been a blight. Let’s hope something better replaces it. It often takes multiple decades to recover from any mid-century ‘urban renewal’ clearance catastrophe. One only has to look at how long the no man’s land of Bunker Hill in Los Angeles was a desolate landscape after all the Victorian houses were torn down in the 50’s and 60’s.

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