Unsurprisingly, given our predilection for urban decay, some morbid humor has seeped into our lexicon. “Preabandoned” refers now to a promising site in rundown condition that is, alas, still occupied or inhabited. Vulturelike as the sentiment can be, I thought I could present a more positive alternative today: postabandoned. Sure, “renovated” or “restored” works too, but I’m working within a theme here. Anyway, St. Louis’ main rail station, built a hundred years ago in an age when every city contended to build the grandest rail palace as a show of civic pride, is a splendid example of the concept. By the seventies, time and a decline in rail travel had reduced the station to less than grand status.
The terminal has since been completely renovated. Though Amtrak still utilizes a sliver of the property, most of the building is a mall, with the canopied railyard now a parking lot. The area around the old station’s grand hall is now a hotel, with the hall itself restored to its Art Nouveau glory as the lobby/lounge. We stayed here because the price and location were right, and really, how could we not?
Before we move on to the next site on our photographic trail of tears, some shots of the parts of town that are not decaying. These shots are nothing special, but I love night photography. It’s always a little thrill to see a long exposure, which seems to light up the darkened scene you were looking at. This is the old courthouse, which faces the Arch from the west.
And here, a couple buildings downtown. I’m guessing 1880’s era, with art nouveau details. (This is just a guess, any architecture geeks out there are welcome to correct me).
And finally, the Grand Hall of the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. The center of the hall is a rather large lounge with bar which I highly recommend having a drink at.
The local pigeons know how to keep warm, tuck into a heap under the heat lamps at the train station. Amusingly enough even though it was around 14 degrees out the humans braved the cold and left the heat lamps to the birds.