Engine Co 26

Engine Co. 26

Engine Co 26 / American Timber Company

This was a very early drawing. It was done on a Sunday evening in mid/late June of 2014. The structure is located on the corner of N. 2nd St and Madison St in the Near North Riverfront industrial/warehouse district. Most of the buildings around this are taller warehouses built between 1896 and 1919. When this was built it was a fire station – and probably one of the oldest still standing and is a bit older than the buildings surrounding it. I don’t have an exact date but I would put it at being built after 1876 and before 1892. In 1876 this corner was a stone quarry. I wonder if that stone used on the station was from that same quarry. That’s a cool bit of information.

Click here for a map of this corner in 1876
Click here for a map of this corner in 1892

What drew me to this was how it contrasted with the surrounding buildings, the large Romanesque arches, the corner turret, the stone and brick work and the ornamentation above the second story windows.

Engine Company 26

Engine Company 26

Blue Windows - Demolished

Blue Windows – Demolished

Fire Escape

Fire Escape

Blue Doors

Blue Doors

Spiral Fire Escape

Spiral Fire Escape

Loading Docks

Loading Docks

Warren's Burnt Shell

913 Warren St

913 Warren St

This home grabbed my attention right away. The first pictures I took of this home was on May 3, 2014. First of of all there are not too many homes in Near North Riverfront and the wall on the east side is nearly gone. It looks almost looks like a Gordon Matta-Clark work. Anyway, it’s a quite abject example of decay in St. Louis that’s just left to rot away.

To me it looks like it was heavily damaged by a fire – lots of smoke marks and charred wood.i’m not sure how long ago the fire was but if you do a Google Street view, you will find a shot of the house(s) before the fire. The street view pictures I am showing are from October of 2011. It doesn’t seem like it was in too horrible of shape and the lot was fairly clean. Also had a dish attached so my guess it wasn’t too long ago that someone had lived here. How it has changed!

Again, this would have been a part of Old North St. Louis (note: in the past it was called Murphy-Blair) before I-70 was constructed. This one is very close to the highway and you can see it along with a group of abandoned multi-family units that extend to the corner of N 10th St. According to the city, this was built in 1900 and the other ones nearby were probably built around the same time according to this. I’m not sure how accurate all the dates are.

You can check out St. louis Patina’s blog to see some more pictures here

The drawing itself was done on June 28th and It started off nice but as the evening went on a storm was moving on and I had to cut off my drawing session early so a lot of this one was drawn at home. I will also note this was the first drawing I did of this current series/body of work. I think one thing about drawing on location that sticks with me is that it involves all the senses. It isn’t just seeing the subject, I can touch it, smell it (just an old musty, mildew-y sort of smell – like an old attic), hear the surroundings and how quiet and eerily peaceful it is. I didn’t taste it but I image it would taste like burnt and heavily smoked grilled meat.

Warren St May 2014

Warren St May 2014

Warren St May 2014

Warren St May 2014

Warren St June 2014

Warren St June 2014

Warren St June 2014

Warren St June 2014

Under the Elevated

2307 North 9th Street – Modern Screw Products

Modern Screw Products

This graphite drawing was done on June 28th, 2014. I specifically remember it is in the evening and it was quite sunny and hot – like a typical St. Louis summer day. The area was pretty quiet and the only people I saw were a couple cyclists that were probably doing the Riverfront Trail. Also a man passed on foot and looked at my drawing and then proceeded to ask for money. Whenever I go out and do my drawings I don’t carry cash (I rarely carry cash in general) so I had to decline his request. He went on his way.

Anyway I chose this building due to it’s proximity to the elevated railroad tracks which was part of the old Illinois Terminal Railroad. I love the metal scaffolding and also thought it would add depth and would form sort of a frame that would create a focal point that is the building. The elevated rail tracks are not in use anymore and I think is part of Great Rivers Greenway Trestle Project. The idea is to create an elevated bike/walking path that would connect to the Riverfront trail and go across I-70 and at Howard and Hadley in the southern edge of the Old North St. Louis neighborhood. It doesn’t seem much has been done recently – still in planning stage.

As for the building itself, the building is home to Modern Screw Products and from what I know is still in business – you can visit their website here. There is a little bit of history on the website. The company was founded in 1923 and at that time served the mining, railroad and military industries. This would have been a great location due to its proximity to railroads and the river. Today they are a machine show that serves the food industry, refrigeration, sporting goods, and medical industries.

I couldn’t find a date for it being built on the city’s website but on a real estate website it said it was built in 1916. At that time this building would have been part of Old North St. Louis neighborhood but after I-70 was constructed this area became disconnected with the rest of the old neighborhood. Now it’s an area that is commonly referred to as Near North Riverfront. It’s mostly an industrial area with a few homes – mainly abandoned – scattered mostly on the western edge close to the highway.

Just north of this building is North Market Street. This was the widest thoroughfare through the Old North St Louis neighborhood that started at the river and went into the heart of the neighborhood. Goods were routinely carried from the river via horse-drawn carriages, fishermen would travel to the river to fish. It was what connected the community to the river. Today it doesn’t seem as connected due to the Interstate slicing through the community. There is still industry here but it isn’t a bustling area with lots of pedestrians and traffic like I imagine it was up until the 1950s when the area was connected to the diverse and dense population of Old North St. Louis.

2307 N 9th Street

2307 N 9th Street