Finally, some good news! Lately, it seems that the City of St. Louis has been stepping up their plans with local developers to demolish historic homes and buildings for controversial redevelopments, which has caused growing concern among preservationists. However, it seems that St. Louis will soon be creating a list of buildings in the Mid-Century Modern style that hopefully will continue to withstand the test of time. This is a small step, but I feel that it is an important step in the right direction towards historical preservation. I will be curious to see what buildings make the list, and I certainly hope that those Mid-Century Modern examples that do not make the cut are granted extended life through other means.
After the former Del Taco ‘Flying Saucer’ on Grand was spared the wrecking ball, many local preservationists have been calling on local governments to save other important area Mid-Century marvels. Like any other historical architectural style, Mid-Century Modern is indeed irreplaceable. I am glad that the City of St. Louis is finally listening. The general appearance of these structures reflect an era that was comfortable, spacious, and carried futuristic thoughts with hints of the optimism in modern life after World War II. In their quirky, sleek, minimal, sometimes jarring, or somewhat abstract nature, these buildings were deemed outdated and fad-like far too soon and often fast targets for redevelopments. Saving the Saucer is just as important as saving a 100+ year old landmark as buildings in this style will offer future generations interesting historical architectural destinations.
I am very glad to see that St. Louis is willing to preserve more Mid-Century marvels beyond the Saucer. Its about time our St. Louis leaders recognizes the importance of preserving our great buildings if we are to retain the character of our City. Whether Mounds built thousands of years ago by the Mississippian tribes, a Victorian mansion, an Edwardian corner shop, or a 1950s era dwelling, we need to ask ourselves if we are truly preserving our history, art, architecture, and overall way of life for our future generations to appreciate. It is true that not everything can be saved. Yet, we must not recklessly destroy every example of existing architecture while assuming any site is ‘not as important as something else out there.’ Extinction is forever.
I am also hoping that local prominent preservationist and fellow blogger Michael Allen is awarded the consultant job on this important task force. Michael Allen has been a driving force of preservation in the St. Louis area, a voice for the history of St. Louis, and a valuable resource for current events in local preservation. His blog, formerly Ecology of Absence is now the Preservation Research Office. I encourage you to bookmark it and check it often!
One of my favorite blogs for Mid-Century Modern goodies is Toby Weiss’ site, B.E.L.T. I too encourage you to bookmark this site and see for yourself how wonderful Mid-Century Modern truly is!
More information about the survey can be found at this article on STLToday.com.