Monday, November 30, 2015

Old Post Office & Custom House

The Old Post Office & Custom House was established in Saint Louis right after the Civil War because Saint Louis was one of the five fastest growing cities in the nation.  Hundreds of millions of pieces of mail were were handled in the very first year . . . and each of those pieces were taken care of by hand.  This beautiful building also housed the Federal 8th Circuit Court, which became the largest circuit in the nation.  One of the most famous cases in the 8th Circuit Court was the breakup of Standard Oil in 1909.
By Piaget, HABS photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
 Alfred B. Mullet designed this building in 1872, including new systems developed after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  There was heating, ventilation, and a way to use plenty of natural lighting.  When the foundation was being created, quicksand was discovered, so over 4,000 pine trees were stuck deep into the land and a four foot thick concrete slab was laid over the top.  Even today there are no cracks in the foundation.
 Since fire was a concern, the entire structure was built of cast iron, using wood only for hand-railing on the grand stair cases.
 When i first arrived in St. Louis there was public interest in saving (or re-purposing)  this historic building.  There sure were plenty of ideas, and it’s taken some time, but now it is open to the public and used for plenty of great things.
 I enjoy the “Quick Stop” branch of the public library. 
 “Peace and Vigilance with Eagle” by Daniel Chester French sits smack in the middle of the building, it’s worth the walk inside.  There is also a small museum that’s interesting. 
The grand stairwell.  
The “other side” of the building.
 Here is a current list of “tenants:”  Webster University,
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District
St. Louis Business Journal
St. Louis Public Library
FOCUS St. Louis
Missouri Attorney General
Missouri Secretary of State
Teach For America
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Missouri Arts Council

Friday, November 20, 2015

Old Post Office Plaza

The Old Post Office Plaza has good reviews online.  City Planners have looked for ways to create inviting spaces in the city, this project is one of several that speak to me.

 “Torso di Ikro”  (The Torso of Icarus) by Igor Mitoraj.  The overall “theme” is the story of Daedalus and Icarus escaping from Patmos.

 This is referred to as “The Labyrinth” in keeping with the overall theme.  I like all the places to sit and enjoy the moment.  It’s built so you could feel alone, or enjoy time with others.  Kinda perfect for all kinds of stuff, reading, snacking, relaxing, just catching a moment . . .

 Isn’t this a beautiful fountain?  There are steps leading right down to it, the water is clear and spills out like peaceful magic.   

Trees along the border of the Plaza, I don’t know what Master Gardener picked the landscaping, but they sure did a great job.  Standing in downtown St. Louis and feeling as if we are in some secluded sanctuary.  I admit that Fall is my favorite season, so the coloring, along with perfect weather, sure helps lift my spirits.  

Here it is, the “Old Post Office,” right across the street.  When it opened in 1873 it was four blocks from the riverfront and people complained it was “too far west.” (The census reports suggests St. Louis is now 66 sq miles, much farther west than citizens in mid-1800’s imagined.)  A lot of ideas have been used to preserve this gorgeous building, using it as a focal point in the city, giving it new purpose and beautiful surroundings seems to be working.  I’m glad.

 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Delmar Day

Every Tuesday Morning is an Adventure because I get to traverse Delmar Blvd.  – Where the “Trolley Project” is a long-term construction zone.  of course, the return of a trolley to the city is something to look forward to, it makes every “Delmar Day” an event.  Here is another ten toe transit to story time, mostly filled with detours and trucks.  That’s part of the fun of it, yes? 


This is City Hall.  Such and interesting building.  I’ve only been inside twice, and it was long ago, but the windows all around made it seem full of Light.  It has housed several kinds of business, I’m glad people thought to save the structure and use it for everyone’s good.   By the way, this building was standing when the original street cars turned around close by . . . Here is a link to the City Hall Story.



 I like this guy.  He’s a bit of Public Art called “Rain Man” created by Greg Cullen.  Sometimes he reminds me of a cartoon character in the Lil Abner series, created by Al Capp , named Joe Btfsplk  . . Joe always walked under a cloud.  The difference is,  “Rain Man” makes me happy.



The Craft Alliance is fascinating.  You never know what you’ll find there.  Exhibitions, Cool, One of a Kind Items, Classes.  Simply Amazing.



 Ha!  Did you think I was joking about “Walking Detours?”



 FITZ’S (“If it wasn’t better, we wouldn’t bother”)

 Chuck Berry Plaza.  Plenty of people stop to take a selfie here.

 The road is blocked off, sometimes the noise level is . . impressive . . .
I know a lot of children who would enjoy the sight of so many HUGE Construction Vehicles.



Workers have created a walking path.  On “normal days” crossing the street to visit shops or get to work is easy-peasy.  Lately we  plan our  route in advance.  If something on the other side seems important, it takes a bit of maneuvering.  So, this clearing is a nice gesture.


“RFT” stands for “Riverfront Times.”  It is the “go to” place for insider information on anything St. Louis and surrounding region.  Super marvelous people work there – and the RFT Rocks!!! 
 I am one of their countless fans.
 
 The Tivoli Theater has gone through many changes.  It’s a classy place to relax and enjoy a film.  If there’s a feature film I’m interested in, I always check to see when it will be at The Tivoli.  I enjoy the comfort, plush carpet, velvety chairs . . (yes, their popcorn is tasty, too!)

I am almost to “work.”  Here’s the Tivoli hiding behind a truck.


 You might remember we walked to work up Delmar Blvd. from another direction a while back and I showed the Tivoli from the front door of of the book store (Subterranean Books) where we have story time.   So, i leave you now.
 
I wonder where we’ll adventure next.

love & love,
-g-