Burnt Factory

Stone Center factory remains, Brannon Ave photo by toby Weiss
Brannon, between Arsenal & Flyler
South Side, St. Louis, MO
For anyone who’s ever marveled over the abandoned Stone Center (above), you were standing near Lecoutour Bros. Stair Mfg. At the beginning of May it burned bad, yet didn’t make the news – which loves a good fire – and the aftermath shows this was a
raging fire.

Nick Findley had free access to the area a couple of weeks after the blaze, but my timing was off. I went a few days after the fire – the place was still steamin’ – to take pictures like this:
Charred remains of stair mfg on Brannon Ave photo by Toby Weiss
As I took my 3rd go-round of Stone Center photos in as many years, a thin angry voice yells, “What are you doin’?!”
Charging down the sidewalk from the burnt Lecoutour was an upset, wirey woman, heading straight for me. I stopped snapping and watched her come at me, much like a june bug caught in the praying mantis trap.

“You’re on private property,” she fumes, as she now stands 6 feet from me.
I look down, look up at her, and say, “I’m on a public sidewalk.”
She glares. “You weren’t a minute ago, back there,” thumbing at the charred building.

This broad was wound tighter than Joan River’s face. Plus, in all of my years of private property photography, this was the first time I’d ever encountered hostility. So, I avoided eye contact, and slowly – so as not to alarm her – walked to my car.
She continued to glare at me, arms crossed holding herself, pacing like a pissed lionness, because I wasn’t moving fast enough. “Stay out of here.”

As I’m opening my car door, I quietly say, “Man, relax a little or they’ll think it’s arson.”
She was now spitting mad. I shouldn’t have poked at a sore spot. I shouldn’t have made her paranoid by standing on private property and taking pictures like these:
Charred remains of Lecoutour Bros. Stair Mfg. photos by Toby Weiss