Wednesday, August 12, 2020



A red flag is usually a warning, a serious one. Something is dangerous and demands attention. It is also a symbol of revolution and communism. If someone threw up a sign like this on a building you might think that there were toxic chemicals inside.

Not so in this case unless you are a tea-totaler. This midtown building is being renovated into a taproom and restaurant for one of our smaller breweries, 4 Hands. (As most people know, we have one very, very big brewery here.) The graphic is a color-altered version of the St. Louis city flag, which, by virtue of a highly scientific Twitter poll, is the coolest city flag in America. Why the brewery is interpreting it as a warning is left up to the viewer.               

Tuesday, August 11, 2020



This is directly across Cherokee  Street from the Cinderella building. I don't know if the vacant space in the background was a restaurant or if there is is one adjacent. (I guess I could have looked more carefully). So what's with the seats? Brought in in wet weather (which it wasn't)? Stolen?

A lot of old shops in St. Louis had recessed doors with display windows on either side and the name of the place in tile in the pavement. They never change - a bit of local heritage.          

Monday, August 10, 2020


More terra cotta.  Why someone would call a building Cinderella is beyond me. The original owner wouldn't want businesses to start in rags before they achieved riches. (Too much of St. Louis has followed the opposite trajectory.) It apparently started as a skating rink (meet your Prince Charming on wheels) and then, two years later, was converted to a movie theater. One of our town's leading architectural and social historians, Chris Naffziger, wrote a wonderful article six years ago describing its decay and restoration. Maybe this Cinderella held closer to the original story. See 

It is located on funky and eclectic Cherokee Street on the South Side. The ground floor is occupied. Don't know what if anything is upstairs.         

Sunday, August 9, 2020


When I was younger, perhaps high school age, there was a ubiquitous public service ad in my home town that said "a cleaner New York is up to you." There may have been a time when that was assumed in St. Louis, if perhaps less so now. The J. Arthur Anderson Laundry, in a much different neighborhood than Dinks Parrish, looks more like an expensive mortuary. What's with the slow laundry theme? Careful is good, but perhaps many decades ago Americans were much less impatient.

I was wrong about something. Dinks Parrish were not the names of two families. They are the first and last names of one person. There is an interesting piece about the history of the two companies at .

Saturday, August 8, 2020


Details of the facade of the Dinks Parrish Laundry. I realized as I edited these pictures that I don't know a thing about how terrra cotta is made. I looked up the Wikipedia article,, and don't understand all of it. Complicated! I can't imagine how much time and money it took to produce and install this, or how the economics worked on a humble commercial building.       
A friend told me about another unusual laundry. It is not as complex and harder to photograph due to its location but still interesting. We will see it tomorrow.

Friday, August 7, 2020


A bit of fancy, a stone wedding cake on Olive Street in midtown. It was a major commercial laundry for many years, the two names referring to the families who owned it. The laundry went out of business some years ago. There may or may not still be some loft apartments upstairs. The ground floor left houses a new microbrewery. The rest of the ground floor is vacant.

This may be the most elaborate surviving terra cotta work in town. One online reference describes it as "either a heavenly flight of fancy or the product of a bricklayer on LSD: Moorish architecture on steroids, replete with spires wrapped in carved grape vines and snowflakes, flower blossoms and clamshells." 

Some detail of the facade tomorrow.   

Thursday, August 6, 2020


Taken at the end of our ride with Ellie on one of the Mississippi River tour boats. The two that are usually around are called the Tom Sawyer and the Becky Thacher. We were pulling up to the dock. The helicopter the kid and I rode on last month made a perfectly timed appearance.