Historic Preservation | St. Louis Public Radio

Historic Preservation

Harris-Stowe State University

Harris-Stowe State University’s historic Vashon Community Center is getting an upgrade.

The university has received a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service to renovate the interior of the 1936 building, along with $1.2 million from the state of Missouri. The building has most recently been used for storage, but after the $1.7-million renovations, the former public recreation center will again be open to the public.

This album was recorded live at Club Imperial in 1965.
George Edick

When George Edick Jr. was in elementary school, he received a present he’ll never forget: a guitar from Ike Turner.

Edick grew up in the 1950s around musicians like Turner who played at his father’s Club Imperial, 6306-28 West Florissant Ave., in the Walnut Park West neighborhood in northwest St. Louis.

The run-down building escaped the wrecking ball last month after the St. Louis Preservation Board voted to save it.

This is a recent photo of the building that once housed Club Imperial.
Robert Vroman

Updated Jan. 23 — A building that was the site of an historic St. Louis music venue will remain standing, at least for the time being.

The St. Louis Preservation Board Monday night unanimously backed a decision to deny a demolition permit for the former Club Imperial.

Building owner Robert Vroman, who bought the building last August in an auction, said he hopes public attention will entice a new buyer with plans to restore the space. The deadline for paying additional taxes is summer 2019, Vroman said. He said that if no one steps forward with a renovation offer by then, he’ll let the property return to the city for another tax auction.

A view of the old North Side YMCA building from the old Sportsman's Park in JeffVanderLou. Mission: St. Louis, a local non-profit, recently moved to the building and has uncovered some unexpected surprises and historic elements.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This story originally aired on St. Louis on the Air on July 26, 2017. It was rebroadcast on Oct. 12, 2017.

If you’ve undertaken any kind of home renovation project, you’ve probably encountered a few, well, we’ll call them pleasant surprises.

The historic Goldenrod Showboat is currently docked near Kampsville, Ill.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:30 p.m., May 8, 2017 — The historic Goldenrod Showboat is sinking in the flood-swollen Illinois River, near Kampsville, Illinois, according to the nonprofit group that's been fighting for years to preserve it.

Overgrown greenery almost entirely obscures a gravestone at which a giant white paper mache heart is positioned.
Provided by Jennifer Colten

When Terri Williams’ daughters brought home their Black History Month assignment from school, she noticed most of the historical figures were entertainers or athletes. 

This contrasted with the uniquely heroic lives she saw represented by the figures interred at Washington Park Cemetery — people like Ira Cooper, the first black police lieutenant in St. Louis, George L. Vaughn, the attorney who fought for J.D. Shelley in the Shelley vs. Kraemer court case that eliminated courts’ abilities to enforce housing segregation.

William’s learned about such figures while researching the cemetery for the new exhibit “Higher Ground: Honoring Washington Park Cemetery Its People and Place,” which opens at The Sheldon this weekend.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

It wasn't that long ago that Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate were deeply divided and nearly at each other's throats over tax credits.

In 2011, an entire special legislative session was devoted to approving a wide-ranging tax credit bill that centered around incentives designed to transform Lambert-St. Louis International Airport into an international cargo hub. But differing opinions over the role of tax breaks and concerns that they were getting out of hand sabotaged the special session, and there have been no major attempts since then to give the system a makeover.

Enter Gov. Eric Greitens in 2017.

Wikipedia

Updated 10:25 a.m., May. 25 with winning proposal: A developer has been selected to reopen the landmark Bevo Mill in south St. Louis. The city's Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority says Pat and Carol Schuchard have been chosen for the project. They already own two event venues: the Boo Cat Club and the Majorette.

Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory
Maria Altman |St. Louis Public Radio

Jim Osher can’t imagine how anyone could think of tearing his building down.

"You see that piece of wood?" he asks pointing to a massive rafter. "That’s old growth Douglas fir. You can’t get that anymore."

Saint Louis University Hospital
Courtesy SSM Health

When the industrialist Firmin Desloge died in 1929 at 86 years of age, his various enterprises, including Missouri lead mining, made him as rich as tycoons such as William K. Vanderbilt and Andrew Mellon. In obituaries he was described as one of the wealthiest men in America, and his status was buoyed as well by his membership in the select group of the French-American aristocracy. A portrait photograph shows him sporting a great bushy mustache, along with unruly curly hair and a very content and happy face.

View of MLK Drive in 2016
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Preservationists are a hardy and dedicated bunch. Stalwarts of the movement have faced hard battles, and usually kept their chins up when berated with contemptuous remarks about little old ladies in tennis shoes, and pigeon roosts and obstructing progress.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

Operations manager Robbie Pratte pointed to an orange line on a utility post outside the landmark Bolduc House Museum in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., that is set to reopen on Tuesday.

Soldiers Memorial
Susan Hegger | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis residents have less than a week left to visit the Soldiers' Memorial Military Museum downtown before it closes Feb. 28 for two years, until 2018.

“It’s a very significant moment for the Soldiers' Memorial because it means the start of the complete renovation,” said Karen Goering, director of operations.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The old water tower in Millstadt, Ill., wears an unflattering coat of rust these days, but preservationists say the nearly 85-year-old landmark is as solid as the American steel used to build it during the Great Depression. They call the tower the “Tin Man,” and they’ve been working  to save “him” from the wrecking ball. 

Arcade Apartments, Arcade Building
(courtesy of Missouri History Museum, St. Louis)

Updated Friday, Dec. 11, 5 p.m. Developers say that construction is complete on the Arcade Apartments. Construction crews wrapped up their work last week and the first residents have moved in.

Jeff Huggett, a developer at Dominuim, says more than 100 of the apartments have been reserved. In a statement, he says the Arcade Building project is the largest apartment renovation in St. Louis in decades.

Our original story:

The Arcade Building in downtown St. Louis is set to reopen in December for the first time since it closed in 1978.

From event poster

Emily Colmo knows a whole lot more about sunflowers today than she did three months ago. Back then, she began her sunflower journey in distressed parts of St. Louis, where vacant land has been planted with these tall and vivid flowers. Colmo came to discover the importance of increasing our levels of environmental sustainability and our responsibility for distressed and decaying areas of all sorts. Now, she's ready to show all of us what she's learned through a documentary.

 John B. Myers House, Florissant
Wikipedia

If the afternoon light is just right the house glows golden, and the best view of it, ironically, is when you exit the Innerbelt, I-170, a roadway that once threatened to knock the venerable old building down, onto I-270.

The building is the graceful former home of a 19th century family, perched on a hill in Florissant. It has lived on Missouri Preservation's places in peril list - but seems to be in peril no more.

The J.C. Penney building, in 1948, on what is now Dr. Martin Luther King Drive
Provided by Andrew Raimist

Architect-preservationist Andrew Raimist pulled open a makeshift plywood door, the sort of bashed-up door you see before the boarding-up service shows up. Once, a door here would have opened onto a building resplendent with promise, a landmark post-World War II department store that gleamed not only with commercial ambition but with civic muscle in a city very much on the go.

This is the J.C. Penney building at 5930 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr.

University City lions at city hall (2010)
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

A University City preservationist group called Heritage Sites Protection Initiative handed over petitions to the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners last week with what it hopes to be enough signatures to take its cause off the streets and front porches of U. City and onto the ballot in April 2016.

The initiative wants to beef up protection for seven historic structures in this inner-ring community.

Missouri History Museum

Updated 1:24, Nov. 11 with agreement  -

This Veteran’s Day, the Missouri History Museum takes over as official custodian of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum. The city and history museum formalized the agreement outside Soldier’s Memorial.

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