Tuesday, October 21, 2008

St. Mary's High School Athletic Field Expansion

According to this information on the urbanstl board, changes are in store for St. Mary's High School. Plans to extend their athletic fields to include new baseball diamonds will affect the apartment complex below:
There are a lot of these 1970s (?) style apartment complexes in my hometown of Belleville, Illinois. They were not particularly well received there, and it appears that they don't fit in any better in St. Louis. The suburban nature of these complexes add very little to the neighborhood.
Good riddance to these. I've never understood the center courtyards either. I am pleased that St. Mary's high school will be expanding. That means they are committed to St. Louis. It also means there will be more education options for residents who choose private education.

There is a neglected little city park just west of this apartment complex. Let's hope this park will receive some much needed attention when St. Mary's completes the work.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery

I recently rented the 1959 movie "The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery", shot almost entirely on location in South City. It stars Steve McQueen as the getaway driver in the heist of the Southwest bank at Kingshighway and Southwest.

Some of the actual STL cops and bank employees were cast in their actual roles. There is some really choice footage of some familiar sections of town.

Here are some places I recognized:
  • There is a meeting of the thieves under one of the ornate pavilions at Tower Grove Park.
  • McQueen's character steals a license plate for the getaway car in the Famous Barr parking lot at Chippewa and Kingshighway. As far as I could tell, there was a sea of surface parking at the southeast corner of that intersection.
  • Of course the bank at Southwest and K'hway. The site of the current BP and former Don Brown Chrysler/Jeep was also a sea of surface parking.
  • There was a nightclub in the movie, directly across Kingshighway from the bank. It is an empty lot now, but I wonder if there was once a happening deco-style nightclub there, or was it shot at another location?
  • There is a murder scene in the film where a woman is pushed down a fire escape in the back of an apt. building. I'd love to know where that was shot.
  • There is a great scene at the opening of the film where they are driving across the Eads bridge from the Illinois side. My how Downtown has changed. This was before the grounds were cleared for the Arch.

I won't say this was a great film by any means. It was a simple noir style typical of the 1950's. Yet, as a STL history lover, it is a must see. Man, I wish I could have seen St. Louis when it was still a bustling, densely populated city.

Again, the movie was released in 1959. That means it was probably shot sometime in the mid to late 1950's. The population of STL in 1950 was 856,796 and by 1960 it was down 13% to 750,026. Still a lot of people lived here then, almost double the current population. It is clear from this film that by the late 50's, the destruction of older buildings to make way for the car was clearly underway.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Delor Decor and Halloween Cheer

Halloween in St. Louis is always fun. The weather is beautiful, and the South Side looks a little different in certain places. Here's one on Delor:

Can you think of a home with more decor than this one? If so, let me know the address. I'd like to take a photo and post it. Is this folk art?

Avalon Cinema

I always thought the Avalon would make a great music venue. Ever since Mississippi Nights closed, I think we've been lacking a venue of it's size. Looks like change is ahead once again for the Avalon. The marquee may be coming down.And a close up:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Good Bye Suburban Journal

As of Wednesday, November 5th, the Suburban Journal will move to a subscription-only service. YES! We have a choice. If you are a fan of the weekly paper, you can pay a mere $19.99 for a one year subscription to continue your service. However, if you don't want it, it'll be discontinued shortly.

I guess I have mixed feelings over this one. On one hand, I am sick of these things soaking up rain water, littering many porches, sidewalks and steps in the City; these have been the object of both my scorn and affection.

I've enjoyed many a laugh reading the crazy and sometimes creepy Town Talk. I will also miss the occasional incite provided by Jim Merkel and Shawn Clubb on some important local issues.

All in all, we have decided to discontinue the paper delivery service. We don't read the vast majority of the content. And, this will decrease the amount of waste we have in our recycling bins.

Let's be honest, newspapers are becoming more and more irrelevant with the onset of the many, many blogs and websites reporting on STL issues.

Cheers to the folks at the paper who finally decided to make the delivery optional.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

You Simply Must

If you haven't already:
  1. Donate to KDHX, our greatest asset on the FM dial. KDHX, Uncle Tupelo and the Replacements are responsible for steering me clear from an alternate path in life. I am pretty sure if I hadn't had these influences, I may be installing windshields in Belleville listening to 96.3. I'm just sayin.
  2. Find a romantic partner, lace up some ice skates on a cold winter night and look to the east over the trees toward the beautiful skyline of St. Louis' best neighborhood. Now go get a cold Schlafly and enjoy the rest of the evening.
  3. Splurge and go to Terrrene. Not necessarily my scene (a little too high falootin' for me), but the food is fresh and fantastic. I didn't know brussel sprouts could steal the show.
  4. Eat at the bar at Iron Barley. This place is like South St. Louis' version of a Northern Exposure scene.
  5. Try the eggplant pizza at Onesto's

What else?