Updates on Demolitions, Fires and Other Collapses

There is much to report on this spring, starting with a collapse of an out building on Utah Street in Benton Park. It can still be salvaged, though. Below, as I suspected would happen, another of the houses sitting on the old quarry, whose porch had collapsed in the last six months, has been demolished in Benton Park West.

Update: The church was purchased at the City tax auction in mid 2019, and was being renovated into a community arts center; however, all signs of activity ended long ago.

Nothing more has happened at the old Grace Lutheran, but I did capture this haunting image of light shining through the still-beautiful stained glass windows.

The 5200 Block of Conde Street in College Hill, which I featured recently, tragically lost one of its occupied wood frame houses to a fire in late April of 2019. The one gutted by fire happened to be one of the houses I did not photograph at the time.

The old warehouses north of the John Cochran Veterans’ Hospital have been demolished. I do not know what is going on, but I’m hoping that this heralds an expansion to the north, saving the famous and historic Palladium on the south side of the government property.

And devastatingly, alerted by a reader, I learned the SaLees Kennard House is now a pile of rubble, as can be seen below. Regardless of your opinion of her father, the house was of incredible architectural importance to St. Louis history. Three story Italianate town houses are extremely rare, and more so now.

Update: The house below was in fact torn down in May 2019.

The little guy across the street, which was once part of a row, seen below, looks to be next, as the Caterpillar is now parked next to it. I expect it to fall this week.

A beautiful row of Second Empire houses in the Near North Side has further collapsed, as well, as can be seen below. You can see the one on the left before its collapse in January of 2017 (second to last photo).

The little carriage house (see bottom two photos) was demolished in JeffVanderLou; it was just too dangerous to the congregation next door, so I feel like it was the best course of action. It was owned by McKee, who let it deteriorate to unacceptable conditions. The mysterious concrete pad turned out to be an electrical station, seen below.

Way out in West County, in Ellisville, a large congregation that recently merged with a younger church successfully sold their two large sanctuaries, which have now been demolished. I was shocked at how quickly these landmarks came down. They’re now nothing more than a vacant lot, as can be seen below. I actually thought the two large church structures were nice examples of 1960-70s ecclesiastic architecture, but they are gone now.

There is some good news to report; I discovered that the super rare, double one-and-a-half-story flounder in College Hill I thought had been demolished is in fact still standing (see it in this post from May of 2016,? second photo). But time is running out, and if it is to be saved, it must be soon.

Some great news in Grand Center with the demolition going on with the Renaissance Revival building on Olive just east of Vandeventer. The original core of the building will be saved, and only the back portion was removed.

New windows can be seen in the back wall as well as new brick work. I had originally photographed it way back in January of 2008.

Finally, some very exciting news is coming to the Fox Park neighborhood, with the arrival of Rung, an organization that helps women get back on their feet after suffering from hardship and poverty. They are restoring an incredible old warehouse on Sidney Street, seen below and currently about to begin renovation.

They are demolishing a couple of old warehouses that have been hopelessly undermined by sinkholes on the site. I have been inside the old buildings, and they are not worthy of preservation.

The whole southern portion of Fox Park was built on a giant karst chasm and related sinkholes. While many buildings, such as the warehouse above that is being renovated into Rung’s headquarters was properly anchored to bedrock, most of the other warehouses on the site were not, and should not be saved. I have seen Rung’s plans for the site, and they make great use of the cleared land.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.