Overland MCM Buried in EIFS

Woodson Road & Ridge Avenue
Overland, MO
Next door to the venerable Woofie’s hot dog stand was a pale reminder of former MCM fabulousness. But after a recent remodel, it now looks like an elongated KFC.

I covered this building as part of a previous post on Overland mid-century modern (scroll down to the 60% mark), wherein I wished it could get a good scrubbing and some repair TLC. Instead, I feared it would eventually just get torn down.

I drove by about a month ago and saw the beginnings of some construction work, and hoped for the best but expected the worst. And sure enough, its Low Rent Palm Springs aspirations have been covered over with tan and bland EIFS.

Aside from the application errors of EIFS, I’m going to make a safe guess that they did not correct any of the water and decay damage before covering it up. Just like they cover up old dirty brick in need of tuckpointing with vinyl siding on the rationale that “what you don’t see can’t hurt you,” it only masks the damage that continues under the new facade.

U.S. Band & Orchestra spent some good money on this renovation, so I hope it was done properly, for investment sake. But they covered up a lot of windows and that new entrance bit is just plain awful, and a big company sign would help with that dull expanse of boredom. One compliment: the warehouse portion still retains most of its original material and actually looks better defined with two tones.

Look, I understand that these improvements are a favorable thing for the company and the immediate area. I also understand that slapping on EIFS and some replacement windows is more cost effective then rehabbing a light manufacturing building that only I thought was cool. Status quo rules for a reason, and the new facade is considered “pleasing” by retail big box standards. But I miss its raggedy ass, and with each drive by, I will ponder all that tiny blue and gray tile forever preserved under synthetic stucco, and smile.

Ralph Clark Pharmacy, Overland MO

Above is a construction photo, circa 1945, of the building that still stands at Lackland & Brown Roads in Overland, Missouri. We see this photo now because a relative of the man responsible for this building saw this post, and shared some of her personal family treasures.

Other than new replacement windows on the second floor, the building remains remarkably unchanged and just as vital as the day it first opened for business.

Cerelle Bolon of Phoeniz, AZ sent me all the b&w photos shown here. Her late uncle Ralph Clark (shown below) was the owner/builder/pharmacist of his namesake building. Cerelle writes:

“I am his sister’s daughter, and we visited there every summer. It was great to see it still preserved and looking good! I mentioned this to my mother, Mildred Clark Bright, who will be 100 on October 28th, and she said that Uncle Ralph was so proud of that building and his profession. And rightly he should have been.

My mother and her six siblings were raised during the depression, and their father, who had started as a blacksmith, later took a job in a foundry in St. Louis. He rode two buses cross town from Wellston to work.

All of their children became well educated. Three of the brothers became pharmacists, and one brother, Glynn Clark, graduated from Washington University (as did I in 1959), became a Marine lt. Colonel and an educator. He eventually became president of Meramec Community College in Kirkwood. My mother was an elementary school teacher for 35 years.

“This is just to let you know how happy I am to share my pride in my family’s well-deserved accomplishments, and I am happy knowing that Uncle Ralph would have LOVED to know that you are still proud of his building.”

I adore the internet for 2 reasons.
#1: fine people like Cerelle can contribute their pieces of the larger puzzle because
#2: the built environment means something to all of us, and cyberspace gives the hoi polloi a place to share the joy.

It’s not just the privilege of architects, city planners, professors and developers, but is a part of all of us. We do not need to know text book architectural terms to know what is beautiful, useful and essential to us. We live and work in these buildings within our communities, and (to paraphrase Wilde) though all of us are in the gutter, some of us are looking at the brick work, fenestration and pride of place.
Thank you, Miss Cerelle!

Cold-Hearted Orb

the orb in overland photo by toby weiss
Ashby Road near Midland Ave, Overland, MO
It’s known by many names: The Giant Soccer Ball, The Big Golf Ball, The Orb, The Big Boo!
It belongs to the airport, helps planes land safely.
It scrambles radio reception as you drive by. Guess what it does to TV reception for the folks living up against it.
Imagine living up against it, constantly hovering over you, reflected in your morning cup of coffee or as a reflector for sunbathing on the back patio.
There is none more modern, more high tech or Big Brother, The Big Boo!

the orb in overland peeking out behind homes photo by toby weiss