Intersection of Clayton, Forest & Oakland Avenues
St. Louis City, MO
It’s hard to get noticed when you’re wedged into a 3-way intersection within a larger intersection of the wackiest interchange in the City of St. Louis. People are too busy trying to figure out where to go to pay much attention to things that are not the world’s largest Amoco sign or the retro-fabulous Hi-Pointe Theatre. For verification that this is no exaggeration, take a look at the map to see how confusing this slice of roadway really is.
Getting on foot to try and get to the Hayes Hi-Pointe Building is almost as challenging, because of all the vehicles that are either a) confused about which way to turn, or b) irritated at those who don’t know which way to turn. Photographically, the building itself is often encumbered with for sale/lease banners, overgrown landscaping (see above) or – as on this day – a boarded up window on the Oakland Avenue side, which was a fresh accident because the shattered glass was still spread across the sidewalk.
Aside from all the challenges, it’s a sharply tailored slice of mid-century modern in the Hi-Pointe neighborhood. City records claim the building is from 1905, which is absurd, both stylistically and construction-wise, and a 1958 aerial calendar shows nothing much at all on this odd plot of land. By 1961, the City directory lists Alfred W. Hayes & Co. (the building’s namesake) and Algonquin Investment Co. at this address (plus a couple of physicians), and the architecture matches that year.
A walk around this trapezoidal building reveals many subtle details not noticeable while driving by, and is a mini-workout because it’s all up or down hill, and the building does a nice job of attuning itself to the topography. For all the difficulty the site, the intersections and the upkeep present, it’s still one of my most favorite overlooked mid-century modern gems in St. Louis City.