St. Louis Media History Foundation Finds New Home After Fire | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Media History Foundation Finds New Home After Fire

Nov 14, 2019

A monthslong search for a new home is over for a nonprofit that maintains the history of St. Louis radio, television, newspapers and other media. The St. Louis Media History Foundation plans to move into Grand Center early next year after striking a deal with the Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

The media history organization began looking for new space after its previous location at the Karpeles Manuscript Library and Museum near Compton Hill Reservoir Park suffered a fire in March.

Board President Eric Rothenbuhler said it’s been a tough few months, but the community has rallied around the foundation.

“Whenever there’s trouble, people come to help,” he said. 

The Karpeles Manuscript Library and Museum was badly damaged in the March 2019 fire in south St. Louis.
Credit Andy Field | St. Louis Public Radio

“The foundation’s materials have been stored in some basements and garages and people’s apartments,” Rothenbuhler added. 

Rent was another key factor in the quest for a new building.

“We’re a small, shoestring operation,” he said. “We could not afford to rent office space at the normal commercial price.”

That’s where the Kranzberg Arts Foundation fit in. It worked to put together a deal the St. Louis Media History Foundation could afford. Terms of that agreement have not been revealed, but an announcement is expected soon.

The organization will be located in the former Earthways Center at 3617 Grandel Square. That will put it in the heart of Grand Center, surrounded by arts organizations, museums and theaters like the Fox.

The St. Louis Media History Foundation will now be located at 3617 Grandel Square.
Credit Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Rothenbuhler said it should be a good fit for the neighborhood.

“We have historical playbills and reviews and programs from theater presentations in St. Louis from decades ago. And those materials could be displayed in some of the theaters in Grand Center,” he said.

Karpeles Museum needs new spot

The fire that forced the move also has Karpeles Museum officials searching for a new home. The rare document museum had moved into the space in 2015.

Representatives say they have not yet put together a deal for another site.

But the sale of the current property in South City is being discussed. A developer wants to buy it and preserve the front facade of the former church that originally opened in 1911. 

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