Historic Preservation

Image by Don McKenna
Courtesy of the International Photography Hall of Fame

A new exhibit at the International Photography Hall of Fame bridges the gap between personal perspective and the unfeeling materials of stone, brick and steel. According to Executive Director John Nagel, 72, this focus can be found in the exhibit’s unfamiliar images of a well-known city.

“This is not the greatest hits of St. Louis architecture,” he said.

Thomas Jefferson Statue in lobby of New Masonic Temple
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Owners of the New Masonic Temple on Lindell Boulevard in Midtown St. Louis hope the New Year brings renewed interest in the building, which is for sale. Building manager John Vollman has spent years volunteering at the space.

“It’s a pleasure to come in here most days. You just feel the history,” said Vollman.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The century-old Goldenrod Showboat is still in limbo, waiting along an empty stretch of the Illinois River like a forgotten star from yesteryear yearning for one more curtain call.

The Goldenrod is moored out of sight -- hidden by weeds and brush in a remote spot along Highway 100, north of Kampsville, Ill. But she’s not been forgotten. A small band of diehard fans say they are determined to rescue and return the vessel to the St. Louis riverfront where she spent half her life.

Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office

A part of downtown East St. Louis will likely be listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the end of September, and city officials hope that designation will spark revitalization.

The Downtown East St. Louis Historic District encompasses two blocks of Collinsville Avenue, a block and a half of Missouri Avenue and the south side of one block of St. Louis Avenue.

old Millstadt Water Tower
Frank Butterfield, Landmarks Illinois

Three southern Illinois structures are among those identified as endangered by Landmarks Illinois. This year’s list includes the Hamilton Primary School in Otterville (Jersey County); Hotel Belleville, which last was used as a retirement home by the Belleville diocese; and the Old Millstadt Water Tower.

Provided by Modern STL

The potential of a merger between the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County has prompted lots of talk about differences and similarities between the two.

Here’s just one example. Both have public library systems. Each has a very different philosophy when it comes to balancing upgrades and improvements of their buildings with historic preservation.

The Palladium Building today
Preservation Research Office

There have been rumors for a couple of years now that the Veterans Administration is interested in obtaining the Palladium building at 3618 Enright in order to expand the John Cochran VA Medical Center. For years, the Palladium was home to The Plantation Club.

In a commentary published by St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon, Pokey LaFarge called for the preservation of the building where jazz greats performed for decades.

Preservation Research Office

The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has nominated 12 sites across the state to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Three of the 12 sites are in St. Louis, including one that's relatively young – the glass-walled Hamiltonian Federal Savings and Loan Association building, which was built in 1961 and has been vacant for nearly a decade.  Michael Allen with the St. Louis-based Preservation Research Office made the pitch for the Hamiltonian building.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

There’s now another hole in the urban fabric of downtown St. Louis. Piles of rubble are all that remains at the corner of 11th and Spruce streets, where the Cupples 7 building once stood.

The 113-year-old brick warehouse was part of the Cupples Station Historic District, a massive complex of 20 buildings that served as the logistics hub for the city in the early 20th century. Today, just eight remain.   

When the Goldenrod was moored at St. Charles
Historic Riverboat Preservation Association / Goldenrod Showboat

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The Goldenrod Showboat, a historic vessel that delivered lively theater and music to Midwestern river towns in the early 20th century, now waits at an Illinois river bank for salvation -- or the salvage yard.

Though the clock is ticking, a small nonprofit group has renewed efforts to save the grand old vessel and return it to the St. Louis riverfront.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Former state Sen. Jason Crowell, a Cape Girardeau Republican, was -- and still is -- one of the sharpest critics of the state's historic preservation tax credit program. In 2011, he compared the program to when his parents gave him a credit card "only for emergencies."

300 pixels only
Provided by Mr. Schlichter

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis attorney Jerry Schlichter recalls a time when the building that became the Renaissance Grand Hotel was a lot less grand. In the 1990s, he said, the building had broken windows and vegetation growing on the roof. It was common, he said, for people to light fires inside. Plans to renovate came and went over the years, with little success.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A nearly two-year battle over the fate of a historic warehouse in downtown St. Louis is over.

Crews from Spirtas Wrecking Company will begin to demolish the nine-story Cupples 7 building at 10th and Spruce streets next week. The work will take about three months.

Patty Maher inside building on Wyoming.
Thomas Crone | for the Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For the better part of the past decade, a historic structure on the corner of Wyoming Street and Arkansas Avenue was abandoned, left to the elements as boards came and went from windows. The first floor was sealed but the second floor was open, subjecting the building to rain, snow and cold.

For developer Patty Maher, that situation has been a blessing, not a curse.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley gave his full support last week to using Sylvan Springs Park to expand Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

But not everybody is excited about the idea.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri senators have given up their attempt to pass an overhaul of some of the state's tax credit programs for businesses and developers.

Supporters of the bill set it aside Friday after Republican Sen. Brad Lager, of Savannah, spoke against it for an hour in a filibuster that could have otherwise continued until the session's mandatory end at 6 p.m.

The legislation would have created tax incentives for international air cargo exports, computer data centers and investors in startup technology companies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Last week, Mayor Francis Slay delivered what may have first seemed like bad news to local preservationists: Building Commissioner Frank Oswald issued an emergency demolition permit for the old Graham Paper Co. warehouse at Cupples Station known as “Cupples 7.”

According to Slay’s press release, the headache ball will be out in one month if no developer steps forward to stabilize the building.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The building in Midtown which has become commonly known as the "Flying Saucer" will receive an award for its much-publicized transformation.

The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation will recognize the effort at their Preservation Honor Awards ceremony on Feb. 27.

A Starbucks moved into the former gas station and Del Taco restaurant in Sep. 2012 and a Chipotle restaurant is expected to inhabit the other side of the building in the coming weeks. 

via Flickr/alancleaver_2000

Members of a panel created to review Missouri’s tax credits are leaning towards recommending that the cap on Historic Preservation tax credits be cut nearly in half.

The incentives program is popular with developers, but Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and a group of Republican State Senators say it’s draining off revenues from the state budget.

Tom Reeves co-chairs the subcommittee looking into Historic Preservation tax credits. He says he favors much of the recommendation from two years ago to reduce the annual cap from $140 million a year to $75 million a year.

(Landmarks Association of St. Louis/Andrew Weil)

Some familiar structures have returned to the the Landmarks Association of St. Louis's list of most endangered buildings in the region.

It's the 20th year the Association has published the list, which is designed to highlight 11 iconic or important buildings in danger of disappearing due to neglect or proposed demolition.

(ABS Consulting)

The owners of a crumbling warehouse building in downtown St. Louis are out of legal options at the state level.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Speaker of the Missouri House has thrown cold water on a scaled-back tax credit reform measure passed Wednesday by the Senate.

The Missouri Senate has passed a tax credit measure after hammering out an agreement between GOP leaders and fiscal conservatives who’ve been trying to reign in tax breaks for years.

The agreement would cap historic preservation tax credits at $75 million per year, give a one-year extension to food pantry and other charitable tax breaks, and create incentives to draw amateur sporting events to Missouri.  State Senator Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) urged the chamber to pass it before time runs out on the regular session.

(ABS Consulting)

The city's Preservation Board voted nearly unanimously Monday night to deny a demolition permit to the owner of a crumbling warehouse in the Cupples Station historic district near Busch Stadium.

(screenshot via Google Maps)

Saying he has no choice, the owner of a crumbling building in the Cupples Station warehouse complex has applied for a permit to demolish the building.

Developer Kevin McGowan, who owns the building at 1014 Spruce St. known as Cupples 7, filed his application on Nov. 9th.  Streets around the building have been blocked off since late September due to safety concerns.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has done an about-face and now wants a joint committee to negotiate a final version of a wide-ranging tax credit bill that has divided the House and Senate throughout the ongoing special session.

House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) had suggested weeks ago that a conference committee wasn’t necessary and that any differences on tax credits could be worked out during floor debates.  Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter), meanwhile, had pushed for going to conference because that’s the normal route for reaching compromise on bills.  Tilley says he’s decided to take Mayer at his word.

(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Updated 5:14 p.m.

The Missouri House has passed its version of a wide-ranging tax credit bill.

It does not place expiration dates, or sunsets, on historic preservation and low income housing tax credits, as demanded by the Senate.  Instead, House GOP leaders hope to mollify the Senate with a new proposal:  All tax credit programs would come up for review every four years and be subject to a renewal vote by the General Assembly.  The measure is sponsored by House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City).

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The economic development deal struck by lawmakers will cut one of Missouri’s most popular tax credits nearly in half.

The deal between House and Senate leaders would cut the amount of Historic Preservation tax credits issued each year from $140 million down to $80 million.

Ruth Keenoy with the non-profit Landmark Associates of St. Louis, Inc., says the smaller cap would be detrimental to Missouri’s economy.  She wants the incentives to be left as-is.

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