Goodbye, Norma Jean

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On Tuesday, October 18th, Billy Idol disappeared from the window, and excitement brewed within when I saw signs of renovation (above). I saw lamp shades; will Kabbaz add lighting to the Marilyn Gallery? I looked forward to the revamped unveiling of a new Marilyn.

This afternoon, signs say the candle burned out long before the legend ever did…
The black curtain backdrop has fallen to reveal freshly painted red walls, light fixtures, tables, chairs and a man busy on a ladder. Someone has taken over the storefront. That’s not surprising. With major new retail across the street, these old storefronts are now desirable property. If I could sit in the Starbucks’ drive-thru and stare at Marilyn paintings, it would make sense for a business to take advantage of that kind of visability.
I should have knocked on the door to pepper the Ladder Man with questions, but I was too sad and too shocked to do so. I walked away with a funeral dirge in my head and a heavy heart.
So was Billy Idol’s rebel yell Kabbaz’s comment on being evicted? Will a new shrine spot be found? How do I mend my broken heart?

With more bad news, of course.
Today I got word that this Lustron home that I toured in June was demolished on October 18th. Details coming as soon as my anger subsides.

And since my little BELT world was taking so many hits on this Sunday, I decided to really wallow in despair and view the last bits of the Northland carcass. An update is coming soon.

2005 has NOT been a good year for my favorite modern architecture in St. Louis. Death to Lustrons, Northland, Busch Stadium

…if I adore it, it’s coming down. It’s not paranoia, just fact. See the building above? It’s always been a glamorous favorite of mine, so of course it’s coming down any day now. The intersection of Rock Hill & Manchester is getting a massive makeover, so this gorgeous example of roadside jet set Route 66 architecture is toast.
I’ll cover this story in greater photographic detail in the near future. But right now, I’m too sad and angry to care.

2 thoughts on “Goodbye, Norma Jean

  1. Toby, maybe you, who are more well-read on the subject, can address the generational skip-age to the urge to erase an era of architecture. It’s like we have to erase our parents’ mistakes, but we fall in love with those of our grandparents or something like that.

    Your comment a while back about the arch being bricked over made me laugh and cry. It’s funny because it’s true…?


  2. Furthermore, the French Village Drive-In is coming down very slowly! This has been a sad year for highly significant modern architecture in the St. Louis area.

    The good news is that National Register listings of modern buildings is on the rise as we break through the Register’s 50-year criteria. The Ford Apartments (built 1948) at 1405 Pine was listed in 2005, and Plaza Square may be nominated, too. A private party has nominated Council Plaza on Grand, although I have seen the owners continue to mangle the building, so it may not be listed.

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