The Holland Building, demolished in the early 1970s.

Built St. Louis
Previous News Posts

(Post-Dispatch links are non-active after one week -- sometimes, anyway -- and are included here only as a log.)

February 13, 2009:

  • KWMU covers the ongoing efforts to save the San Luis from demolition, including the Valentine's Day love-in this Saturday.
  • Post-Dispatch coverage at the Building Blocks blog.

    July 27, 2008: I'm pleased to be quoted in today's Post-Dispatch, in an article about brick theft in north City, and again in a photo essay on lost and endangered buildings, alongside many luminaries on the local preservation scene. The articles are part of a whole section focusing on the city's historic architecture.

    April 25, 2008: It's been said that Mid-Century Modern is the next great preservation war. Here's the proof. The Central West End's former Deville Motor Hotel, later the San Luis Apartments, is threatened with demolition for a parking lot. Media and online coverage includes:
    - National Trust for Historic Preservation
    - The Vital Voice
    - Statement from Landmarks Association
    - Ecology of Absence

    March 27, 2008: The Riverfront Times reports a slight bit of movement on the Blairmont front.

    March 16, 2008:
    Midtown's Wagner House is being destroyed by SLU. Story at Vanishing StL.

    January 31, 2008:
    There's a spate of actual and potential demolition going on around town:
    - The Wellston Loop's old JC Penny building is endangered by aldermanic mania. Story at B.E.L.T.
    - House demolitions on St. Louis Avenue, east of Grand Avenue. Story at St. Louis Patina and Vanishing STL.
    - A commercial building faced with demolition at Page and Kingshighway. Story at Curious Feet StL.
    - The William B. Ittner-designed Central Institute for the Deaf and Shriner's Hospital are marked for possible demolition. Story at Vanishing StL.

    October 16, 2007:
    Ecology of Absence reports that Blairmont kingpin Paul McKee will be making an appearance at an upcoming meting of Metropolitan Congregations United.

    July 25, 2007:
    - Another demolition: Livery stable, an article from SLU's University News lamenting the school's most recent architectural victim.

    July 19, 2007: Fade to Black: a Riverfront Times story about how the Avalon Theater has fallen into disrepair because the owner is... to put it delicately... not in a good frame of mind for a building owner.

    June 16, 2007: A Tax-Credit Bill For One Man? The Post-Dispatch reports on the Blairmont/McKee scheme.

    April 7, 2007: The Post-Dispatch reports bad news for the storm-damaged Switzer Building, which now faces the likelihood of demolition down to the second floor.

    January 11, 2007: The Riverfront Times brings the first mainstream media coverage to the Blairmont story: Phantom of the Hood. Kudos!

    January 4, 2007: From the blog of Doug Duckworth, a very important letter to Mayor Slay, regarding the widespread and highly negligant property speculation by Blairmont LLC. The short version is, these guys are buying up old houses and other historic buildings left and right on the near North Side, and then letting them sit vacant and unmaintained, leaving them vunerable to vandalism, fires, and deterioration.

    If you are a resident of the city -- heck, even if you're not -- I would urge you to follow up Doug's letter with one of your own, as the actions of Blairmont are holding back the rejuvenation of an entire segment of the city -- and endangering vast amounts of historic architecture and beautiful homes. The tragic losses of the last 40 years will continue if this speculation scheme is not altered or halted.

    You can drop Mayor Slay an email right here.

    Much more information on Blairmont can be found at Ecology of Absence.

    September 25, 2006: In an editorial from back in August, the Post-Dispatch takes Washington University to task in the wake of Prince Hall's demolition.

    September 22, 2006: The Post-Dispatch reports on the upcoming restoration of the 14th Street Mall.

    July 23, 2006: Severe storms ripped through St. Louis last week, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and damaging buildings throughout the city. Accounts from:
    - The Post-Dispatch
    - The New York Times
    - Ecology of Absence

    July 5, 2006: The Nord St. Louis Ternverein has been largely destroyed by a July 3rd fire, which may have been started by fireworks. Ecology of Absence has the full story.

    June 7, 2006: Toby Weiss documents two fabulous Mid-Century Modern houses in St. Louis county -- just before they're demolished for generic new development.
    - Sunset Hills Tear-Down
    - A Beautiful Home

    May 23, 2006: More on the Prince Hall demolition, from:
    - The National Trust for Historic Preservation
    - The West End Word
    - The Post-Dispatch - a letter to the Editor
    - The Post-Dispatch - a second letter to the Editor
    - Student Life

    May 22, 2006: Washington University recently announced plans to demolished Prince Hall, one of the original turn-of-the-century campus buildings.
    - Article from Student Life
    - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    May 12, 2006: Don't miss Preservation Week, starting today and running through May 21st. Events include house tours, building tours, exibits on Modernism and more!

    The Downtown Defense Fund is a grassroots coalition to raise money to for the legal defense of two citizens who dared to stand up to business as usual in St. Louis, with their attempt to halt the demolition of the Century Building.

    April 13, 2006: Ecology of Absence has news on two Old North St. Louis buildings damaged in the severe storms that recently blew through town, the Mullanphy Immigrant Home, and the Nord St. Louis Turneverein.

    February 4, 2006:
    - The National Historic Trust reports on the fight to save St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

    August 23, 2005:
    - The latest news on the South Side National Bank building is positive, and may bode well for the ornate building across the street too. Story from the Post-Dispatch.

    July 22, 2005:
    - After 15 years of abandonment, the renovation of Neighborhood Gardens is underway at last! Story from the Post-Dispatch.

    A Riverfront Times article on urban exploration.

    July 17, 2005: Are you prone to standing up for principle? Are you a believer in having a quality built environment? Do you support the continuity and preservation of your city's irreplacable heritage? Are you outraged by the assault of unprincipled developers on downtown's surviving bits of urbanism? The City of St. Louis and the State of Missouri want to make sure that troublemakers like you are bulldozed out of the way.

    This is not a hoax or some extremist nutjob conspiracy theory. It is, unfathomably, something that's really happening -- a lawsuit filed by the City, the State, and private developers against two private citizens who dared to take a principled legal stand against the demolition of the Century Building. They are being sued for " actual damages in the amount of $1.5 million and punitive damages in an amount 'sufficient to deter said defendants and others from like conduct.' " In other words: do not dare to challenge the will of your government, for they will crush you.

    It is a darkly disturbing precedent. It is tantamount to saying that private citizens should have no voice in how public funds are spent.

    Meet the Downtown Defense Fund, a grassroots coalition to raise money to for the legal defense against the lawsuit, which without aid will wipe out the defendants. Contributions are being accepted online -- please go help out.

    March 31, 2005: two articles from the New York Times.
    - When Preservation Equals Demolition, on the slaughter of the Century. Congratulations, St. Louis, now you've really earned some attention.
    - In the Arch's Shadow, Signs of Revival -- about the gradual revival of downtown.

    March 29, 2005:
    Three St. Louis Post-Dispatch links forwarded by a semi-annonymous reader:
    - Three firms vie to renovate 98 year old building, a report on the proposals for the Syndicate Trust's redevelopment.
    - Pet Building gives a glimpse of river and future, a look at the redevelopment of a fine example of the so-called New Brutalist style.
    - Old schools are hot properties.

    February 27, 2005:
    From the St. Louis Review:
    - Archdiocese sutdies sale of closing church buildings
    - The Spivey Building in East St. Louis has been ordered demolished, after about 50 bricks fell from its cornice. Story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and thanks to several readers for bringing it to my attention.

    January 17, 2005:
    - Two developers submit bids to renovate the Syndicate Trust. Accompanying photo shows the no-longer-extant Century Building. Clearly, nobody wanted to redevelop THAT old place. Article from the Post-Dispatch; thanks to John Kreisel for the link.

    January 5, 2005:
    - From, an aerial view of the neighborhoods affected by the proposed bridge (PDF format). A swath of lower Old North St. Louis lays in the bridge's path.

    - From the St. Louis Business Journal: Judge tosses out lawsuit against historic preservation tax credits for Old Post Office renovation.

    - A gallery of Century Building demolition photos from December 29th at Urban St. Louis, and a couple of images of the replacement garage (good lord.)

    December 10, 2004:
    After considerable work and expense to restore their historic bells, St. Boniface church now faces closure. Story from the Post-Dispatch; thanks to Jeff Remelius for the link.

    December 7, 2004:
    Another painful update at Save The Century, with a month's worth of demolition "progress" at the Century Building.

    October 29, 2004:
    Larry Giles' efforts to salvage ornament from the Century. Story from the Riverfront Times.

    October 26, 2004:
    An update at, with photos of the ongoing demolition.

    October 25, 2004:

  • The Post-Dispatch finally takes some notice of the Century's incipient demolition.

  • From the St. Louis Business Journal:
    - a decidedly skewed take on the entire affair.
    - Details of the deal
    - Judge denies effort to stop demolition of the Century Building.

  • In other news, the Archdiocese of St. Louis is about to massively restructure the city's south side parishes, which will cause 12 church closings. From the Post-Dispatch:
    - The affected parishes and churches
    - More on the closings
    - Parish listings and photos on the Archdiocese's site
    Among the threatened parishes is Sts. Peter and Paul (featured right here), and at least one church I was already planning to feature in the future, St. John Nepomuk (parish web site).

    October 21, 2004:

    It is the beginning of the end.

    Demolition of the Century Building has begun.

    Link (with photos) from KWMU's web site.

    - An editorial from the Post-Dispatch makes cursory mention of the Century's passing. "The sacrifice of the Century Building is regrettable and should not have been necessary." Indeed it is, and most assuredly it should not have been.

    - In other news, the renovation of City Hospital is finally getting underway.

    October 1, 2004:

  • From the Post-Dispatch: A New Look For Venerable Old City Neighborhood, an uplifting story on the new North Market Place development in Old North St. Louis.
  • From the Riverfront Times, a rather pessimistic summation of the Century Building fight.

    September 7, 2004:

  • Start here, and you can zoom in on an amazingly detailed aerial view of almost anywhere in the St. Louis region. Link to
  • An update at Toby Weiss's site makes an empassioned and informed plea for the future of Northlands Shopping Center.
  • The future of the City Hospital complex, at

    July 12, 2004:

  • Several updates at Save the Century, including a photo-equipped map showing the glut of parking that already surrounds the Old Post Office AND AND AND don't miss the video "It's Just One Building", produced by Margie Newman -- a haunting compilation of the major buildings that downtown has already lost.
  • A fight I've been neglecting, mainly because I've never managed to photograph the building myself: the Virginia Mansion in south city is in danger.

    July 4, 2004:

  • From Post-Dispatch columnist Robert Duffy, an eloquent summation of the Century and Cupples #7 perservation battles.
  • Also from the Post-Dispatch, learn how your tax dollars are helping to raze the city's heritage.

    June 30, 2004:

  • Sign up to save the Century! Sign the online petition here and add your voice to the chorus of outrage.
  • Protest at the Century. Article from the Post-Dispatch.
  • A new alternative to demolition for the Century. Article from the Post-Dispatch.

  • June 23, 2004:
    From the WTF?! department: Downtown Now! is getting money to remove asbestos and hazardous material from the Cupples Warehouse Building #7 (#70?)... so they can TEAR IT DOWN?!? Article from the St. Louis Business Journal. Man, and here I actually thought for a minute that this city's leadership was starting to learn up from down.

  • June 14, 2004:
    An upbeat article about the upcoming renovation of the Security Building, from the Post-Dispatch. Link courtesy of Jeff King.
  • April 26, 2004:
    - An update at Mike Allen's site, with photographs of the Gateway Community Hospital in East St. Louis.

    - Something bizarre but cool: a graphic novel (that's a very long comic book, for those not into such things) set during the 1904 World's Fair. More info from a press release hosted at the StLouIST. Sample pages and more at

    - This site has one grainy photograph of the elusive Rivoli (later Towne) Theater. It also features photos of a lot of other theaters in St. Louis and elsewhere, including many that have been demolished like the Shenandoah.

    - St. Louis's public TV station, KETC, does a program about the area that includes architecture and neighborhood segments: Living St. Louis. They also are producing a series of 90 second short spots that will track the progress of Gaslight Square's reconstruction: Rebuilding St. Louis. The first page includes images of the last historic buildings on the site undergoing demoltion. Thanks to Roland Fogt for the link.

  • April 6, 2004: is a new site devoted to showcasing local artists. Shellee Graham, author of Tales From the Coral Court, is among the photographers showcased there. There's also pottery, sculpture, glassworks, painting, jewelry and more.
  • Mar. 28, 2004:
    - An editorial commentary from the Post-Dispatch on the Century's continuing dilemma.
    - Developer Stephen Trampe talks of developing a architectural museum on the East St. Louis riverfront. Post-Dispatch interview.
  • Mar. 22, 2004: This page at features the second half of a 1950s US Chamber of Commerce film, touting the merits of the bulldozer-style urban renewal that gave us the mess our cities are in today. It's fascinating in its own right, and contains several long pans across St. Louis's recently-cleared Mill Creek area near downtown. Thanks to Patrick Smith for the link. (The video itself is a large file and requires a fast connection, but the page has some screen captures that are worth looking at too if you're on dial-up.)
  • Feb. 22, 2004: The Theresa School has been sold and will be redeveloped for residential use. Post-Dispatch story. A similar article appears here.
  • Feb. 1, 2004: A Riverfront Times article detailing the current status of the endangered Century Building. Lots of photos as well. Thanks to Bob Sherron for the link. Despite its lengthy detailing of the situation, the article somehow fails to mention the prominently vacant lot directly north of the Old Post Office.
  • Jan. 25, 2004: A pair of St. Louis Business Journal articles from back in mid-December (found 'em as I was cleaning out my mailbox.)
    - The Paul Brown Building renovation
    - The Board of Education renovation
  • November 21: The Theresa School scandal evaporates as quickly as it materialized: the Board of Education has cancelled the sale of the building. Story from the Post-Dispatch.
    - Related story concerning the BoE employee who apparenly misinformed the Board about the Theresa School: click here.
    - The full press release from the St. Louis Public Schools web site.
  • November 20: And more from the Post-Dispatch on the latest architectural outrage in the city: the Theresa School is not being sold to the highest bidder, who proposed to renovate it, but to a lower bidder proposing demolition. Money changing hands much? Thanks to Carey Clanton for the link.
  • November 19: Two Post-Dispatch articles on the pending "garage sale" of 40 St. Louis public school buildings:
    - The Theresa School is faced with demolition if Koman Properties buys it, to be replaced with a Walgreens or similar box drug store.
    - An Oct. 19 article covering the initial announcement of the sale.
  • November 16: From the Post-Dispatch, an update on the Century Building's plight.
  • November 5:
    - An article from the Webster U. Journal following the progress of Marcia Behrendt's lawsuit to stop the demolition of the Century Building.
    - Isn't this a fine mess! A Business section article from the Post-Dispatch details the sordid history of the contemptable parking garage that now stands on the former site of the handsome Marquette Building Annex. After 5 years, the main part of the Marquette is still empty, and the judge in the case claims parking isn't even necessary to revive the building. And they're going to tear down the Century for parking?!
  • October 30:
    - The latest version of Mike Allen's works includes photographs from the last days of Gaslight Square, images of the (temporarily?) abandoned McKinley Bridge, and much more: visit the Ecology of Absence.
    - The long-running renovation of Forest Park merited a story on CNN. Thanks to Jonathan Pollack for the link.
  • October 14: An article from the Post-Dispatch, about new development at Gaslight Square. As welcome as the news is, it comes with a downside: the final historic remnants of the area's heyday have been destroyed.
  • October 1: Two articles about the Old Post Office redevelopment:
    - From the St. Louis Business Journal, a report that Webster University is close to closing a funding gap for its move into the Old Post Office. The article also mentions that they're considering dormitory space downtown as well. Perhaps someone should show them the Century Building, conveniently located right across the street, before it gets knocked down?
    - From Webster University's own college newspaper, an editorial indicating that students and faculty haven't had much input into this plan, or indeed heard much about it at all.
  • September 16: Architectural photographer Toby Weiss has recently set up her own web site, featuring beautiful photographs concentrating on St. Louis's early Modernist architecture.
  • July 20: An article from early June, about the lawsuit filed to block the demolition of the Century Building. From the St. Louis Business Journal. Free registration required.
  • July 16: Preservation Magazine recently ran an online story about the re-opening of the Eads Bridge, complete with a photograph borrowed (with permission, natch) from Built St. Louis.
  • Another photograph from the site appears on the cover of Outside Language - Essays, by Robert Stewart, published by Helicon Nine.
  • June 2: A nice Post-Dispatch about the nearly completed renovation of Washington Avenue.
  • May 29: A lawsuit was filed today to block the demolition of the Century Building. Details in this article from the Post-Dispatch. (I'm waiting for someone to say that nobody's interested in rehabbing the Century, so I can point out that the renovation of the adjoining Syndicate-Trust "is expected to attract interest from national developers.")
  • May 22: The Century Building's facade will be salvaged by the City Museum, according to the last paragraph of this article from the Post-Dispatch.
  • May 9: Some details on the redevelopment of City Hospital. Post-Dispatch article.
  • May 2: A nice article on the redevelopment of the Paul Brown Building, from the St. Louis Business Journal.
  • May 2: The Keil Opera House is set to be redeveloped. Post-Dispatch story.
  • April 21: the business end of the Century's demise is finalized: article from the St. Louis Business Journal. Free registration required.
  • April 18: The pieces continue to come together to bring about the destruction of the Century Building. The city has finalized payment to Mark Finney and now owns the property. Even the National Historic Trust is in on the act. Again, no mention of the huge lot north of the Old Post Office that could easily hold the garage planned for the Century site (but will instead be turned into an ill-conceived "urban plaza".) Article from the Post-Dispatch.
  • April 13: A new site, the Building Museum, based on the collections of architectural salvager Larry Giles. Info and photographs on dozens of St. Louis buildings, many long gone. Thanks to Mike Allen for the link. Also check out Mike's own pages on City Hospital.

  • April 18: News on the redevelopment plans for City Hospital. Post-Dispatch article.

  • February 27: An editorial from Webster University, in favor of saving the Century Building.

  • February 18: The Moolah Temple will soon be renovated with a movie theater, a bowling alley, and apartments. Article from the Post-Dispatch.

  • February 12: Demolishing Only the Unsalvagable, an empassioned argument for restoration in the city from the Common Space.

  • February 8: an article from the Webster University Journal about the school's plans for the Old Post Office and, by extention, the Century Building. The students interviewed don't want to drive downtown -- but would be happy to take a shuttle. The statement that no other garage space is available is cleverly worded to avoid being a lie... but it dodges the fact that there's a very large vacant lot just north of the Old Post Office.

  • January 23: Washington Avenue is reborn! Article from the Post-Dispatch.

  • January 23, 2003: A short story from about the controversial plans to convert the old Keil Opera House into a performing arts school.

  • December 24: Three stories from the St. Louis Business Journal, detailing the business end of the Century's emminent demise:
    December 20th
    December 6th
    November 25th

  • Thursday, Nov. 14: Two stories on the long-vacant Keil Opera House:
    - From Greg Freeman, a succinct history of the building and the two competing plans for its revival.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2002: Several interesting articles in the Public Defender: the Century Building, the politics of north city's decline, and the tale of a New Yorker who willingly moved to St. Louis.

    Monday, Oct. 28: The Century Building has its own web site, dedicated to fighting the proposals for demolition.

    Friday, Oct 25: a colomn from the Riverfront Times, with the latest politics behind the Century Building.

  • Tuesday, Oct 22: The Century Building makes the National Historic Register. Good news... but with a hitch. Story from the Post-Dispatch.

  • Thurs. Oct 17 2002: Walgreens at the Century Building calls it quits. Story from the Post-Dispatch.

  • Tues. Oct 8: What's happening at the Arcade Building? Article from the Post-Dispatch.
  • Wed. Sept. 25, 2002: I recieved my copy of St. Louis Landmarks and Historic Districts today. It's perhaps the finest book ever published on the city's historic buildings. It documents many of the buildings seen on this site and dozens more as well; it's loaded with photos old and new (including one of the Continental that puts every one on my site to shame). In short, it's a must-have for any fan of St. Louis architecture.

  • Friday, Sept. 20: an overview of preservation issues in St. Louis, from St. Louis Magazine. Very nice -- but what else would one expect when Margie Newman's involved?

  • Thursday, September 19: the Continental Building now has its own web site. Thanks to Clay Hayles for the link.

  • The St. Louis Business Journal ran a nice article on the burgeoning loft apartment market downtown. Free registration required.

  • Monday, Aug. 26: A full story on the Continental Building's restoration and re-opening, from

  • May 15th 2002: More on the Century Building/Old Post Office deal, from a column in the Riverfront Times.

  • The city web site maintains this amazingly inclusive list of local development projects with info on each.

  • A March, 2002 report from the Riverfront Times about the political and economic shenanigans behind the Old Post Office redevelopment debate.