The beauty of cyberspace is access to vast resources that eventually provide answers to most questions.
Question: What was the original use of the building at 3504 Washington?
Christian Herman answers:
“The building at 3504 Washington was an Arby’s restaurant in 1969, it’s original use. The interior makes use of the color psychology of the day: orange and brown to stimulate the appetite. I remember orange vinyl booths.”
And cyberspace brings about fast edits! Upon seeing this post, Darren let me know that the building couldn’t have been an Arby’s, since there was already one at Grand and Lindell. This building was a Neba’s Roast Beef restaurant, as evidenced here (scroll halfway down).
Question: What’s the story on the sculpture plopped in the middle of a South City block?
Grant Alexander answers:
“The story behind “White Mountains” is pretty interesting. My friend, Rick helped assemble it when it came to the STL area in 1978 but this isn’t where it was first built. It was conceived and constructed in NY by artist Clark Murray. Its birthdate was probably in the early or mid ’70’s but I don’t know for sure. In NY the piece sat in front of PS-1, a school that, to my understanding, had been adapted for use by artists.
In ’77 a friend of Murray’s named Adam Aaronson(sp?) saw the sculpture and wanted to use it in STL. Mr. Aaronson ran some banks here in town and he employed local artists to make furniture, sculpture or other artwork for his banks. (This is where Rick enters the story, he was working for Aaronson) Murray agreed to have the “Mountains” moved to STL and they sat in a field behind the State Bank on St. Charles Rock Rd. for a time.
From there it was loaned to Laumier Sculpture Park and was on display there. According to Rick the sculpture disappeared from the park when the director changed and from there he lost track of it. About two years ago he was riding through the neighborhood, saw the sculpture and was dumbfounded as to how it made its way to its current location. As far as he knows it still belongs to Murray but he doubts the artist knows its whereabouts.
Currently the firm I work for is working on the new Pepose Vision Center (in Chesterfield) and Rick is working on the interiors. He is trying to persuade the Pepose family to refurbish the “White Mountains” and install the piece in front of their new building. So the life of these tubes is far from over.”