3800 Humphrey in Tower Grove South

These speckled bricks have such a low sheen if I hadn't noticed a dull glare as I passed I wouldn't have known they were glazed.
Tragic that the dyed pink mortar is popping out.

This block has some great stone faced buildings:

White dogwood blossoms in front of white stones.

Perma-stone. It's fake and a bad fix.

Third floor windows vary from house to house and one still has leaded panes..

Ouch. Painted limestone.


Before Dillard's

It was Stix, Baer, and Fuller with the very best logo. This tag is from the 50's, the colors used changed over the decades.

Fly me to the Moon

When I was a child my family took a train to Los Angeles to visit my uncle and aunt who were living in Torrance. Both of my relatives had Top Secret jobs. My uncle was an aeronautical engineer and never revealed his employer. My aunt was a secretary. She told us the ribbons from all typewriters were collected at the end of each day and burned. The Cold War was all that.

In the 60's Torrance was a sunny new development of split level homes and kidney bean shaped swimming pools. I mostly remember the white concrete streets (and in retrospect, no litter) and the rocket ship slide in Los Arboles Park:

I found the photo on google, its by Chris Minerd. If you look closely you can see the slide in front.

The St. Louis version of Rocket Ship playground is on Boyle in the CWE. The rocket slide is pocket size and is the only remaining piece of the playground:

Other Rocket slides:

Landings and a steering wheel in the cone of the rocket:


Updated slide in Boulder:


Rocket reentry slide:



Pop Quiz

Answer this question without using google:
Where are poplar trees usually planted and for what purpose?

Olive Oyl

Five Corners

I am enamored of disorienting five corner intersections. This treasure is in Clifton Heights.

Fire escapes

Fire escapes on homes in the CWE. Originally built as single family homes they morphed into rooming houses during the Great Depression and were required to have a third floor fire escape. I lived in a similar home on McPherson that had a fire escape and an iron ring bolted to the floor with a rope ladder on the other side of the house.

Granitoid sidewalk

When I was a child a hundred years ago this is how the sidewalks looked throughout the city. They presented a cohesive path for walking to school but were hell on roller skates.

They also didn't age well. Water would snuggle between a piece of granite and the mortar, freeze during the winter and float the rocks out in the spring rains. By the 70's sidewalks were being replaced. I remember the brass sidewalk markers on our street that read Laid 1910 and the red and yellow fire alarm box in the corner of McDonald and Roger.

Granitoid sidewalk, Kingshighway Hills:

Iron in granitoid curb


Glistening Mortar

My camera couldn't capture the flecks of mica in this dyed black mortar which caused the wall to glisten as I strolled by. I turned my head to affectionately acknowledge the shimmering little flecks of light then stopped to gawk and relax into a trance.

Inevitably, someone stops to stare at me with my head a foot away from a brick wall. This happens more than I care to dsclose and usually an interview convenes in which I reluctantly participate.

I've developed a new response to the question about the tattoo on my forearm: Everyone in my coven has this tattoo. I know! It's rude but I can't spare the time to discuss the golden ratio.

This mortar is baited with sparkly bits:

Working the Angle

Along Morgan Ford Rd in Bevo there's three blocks of apartments built on angles but only on the East side of the street. If you live in one of this buildings you would open the front door and your shoulder would be facing the street. Thinking about living in a building on an angle makes me dizzy. It's oddly disruptive and mildly annoying because everything, and I mean everything, is about the rectangle. Even the shape of a brick.

Painters must know this: a square painting is a hard sell because we humans are self referential. We intuitively prefer a rectangular building and inside that building most of our furniture resonates with the shape of our bodies. No one has a square mirror in a square bathroom, it's too challenging of a read. When I open the rectangular door to my pantry I see a series of rectangle boxes.

I once owned a painting that was a circle but it was created by an Inuit Indian and Natives insist on circles. It troubled me and I eventually sold it on ebay.

This is my theory and I'm sticking to it.

Morgan Ford Rd at Neosho:

Nothing like a home depot door to queer up some historic terra cotta.