Che McPherson

I lived in this 3 story Federal style house with its spicy iron ore spotted face brick for years.

During the years I lived there the block changed from rooming houses and collectives to single rehabbed homes. We were an artist collective and the Block Association (they incorporated!) sarcastically referred to my house as Christian and Her Community.

I lived with a cast of characters. Seriously. Characters.
Famous and infamous visitors were frequent, some were serious (visiting writers lecturing on tour) but mostly it was a gleeful and talented freak parade.

Armin would be in the basement fixing the isolation tank or helping me frame pieces. I would try to tame the massive over grown yard. A sink fell off a bathroom wall. Part of the house was rehabbed, the other in decay. Sub Genius ruled and Philo Drummond (who I met when he was living in St. Louis) visited. Wade Rathke spent a week in a first floor room. Geoff Dugan visited and various other artists and writers. Not a party house but a Haute House where living was an adventure.

Charles the dog got into the act by swiping a plate of brownies off the top of Dobbs (he owned the house) car one day while he was unloading. Dobbs had placed the plate from Cookies, Cookies, and More on the car roof and when he exited the car he found Charles on top chowing down. I witnessed this event and it was hilarious.

One early morning the high heel of my shoe poked through the layers of ancient linoleum on the kitchen floor and I was stuck for one minute. I was chatting with a house mate Paul in this kitchen one night while he was baking and I saw a rat cross the floor. He noticed me tracking the rat, jumped up on a chair, and told me to hand him the bowl he was stirring.
Ellen had a baby grand piano on the first floor.

My first floor art studio was a fire waiting to happen where I blasted Patti Smith and Nick Cave while painting. The second floor studio was where I published Velocity magazine.

Hide and Seek was the game of choice in our house. From my third floor window I would watch hundreds of crows roost at twilight in the dozens of trees in the back yard. Race Young once lived in Hampton Hall and would call and ask me to wave to him from my window. I waved.
Daily performances were common and you'll have to click to biggify to see the guy on the john reading the paper.

In San Francisco with accomplices:

Deconstructed self portrait with cigarette.

With my sister Efficient in front of The Avon in Tampa. Glistening black vitrolite.

Thanks Dobbs, those were some of the best years of my good life.

Just arrived, an email from Dobbs, my former dazzling landlord and still one of my best BFs:
I wish I could have made the cast of characters in the background a little more prominent– Paul on the crapper, Ellen with the tv magnifier, the MLK t-shirt on the clothesline and the washing machine it, and what's hiding behind me that can't be seen at all is about a size 50 pair of jockey shorts hanging on the line. And we tried to get Alex to stand on the hood of the car but it was a hot day and he kept jumping off because of a serious case of the hot foot. At least Grace Jones mounting the steps is clearly seen.

And speaking of cast of characters, we really did have a few rotating through that place, though I've forgotten probably half of 'em.

One of the more interesting moments happened before you were there when I was coming out of the kitchen one evening and met my cousin Jay walking down the steps with a strange black chick. He properly introduced us and said he was driving her "home" and would be back in a few. When he got back I asked him who she was and he said she was a hooker he'd picked up over on the stroll.

Did you know Robert Anton Wilson spent 4-5 days in your old room when we brought him to town for a lecture?

Those were some of the best days of my life too. I kinda wish I had a do-over on my time there.

Window from the old Gateway Hotel

Paul Hohmann recently did a great post on Downtown St. Louis.

I worked Downtown for almost two decades. I was there prior to the building of the heinous St. Louis Centre and took a load of film photos of the buildings prior to the demo. I aim to find those photos someday.

I took photos of the two lead bas relief windows at the Gateway prior to the fire...the other window photo is will be posted when recovered.


Spendid glazed terra cotta


Located (I think, I've misplaced my notes) in the Princeton Heights neighborhood.
Dreamy Art Deco styling terra cotta with wire cut brick and stained pick mortar.

Too bad the original store front windows were 'remodeled'.


Black brick with red trim house

This is the first house I've encountered made of black brick. It's in the Princeton Heights neighborhood just east of Hampton.


Brick hot line

My neighbor Mel called today with a hot tip about hearing a huge KABOOM. A building on her block lost the outer wythe of brick at the top.

In this photo you can see a previous repointing job that can only be tagged hoosier rehabbing.

I'm thinking this was a combination of less than amateur tuck pointing combined with the recent freeze/thaw. There had to be water behind the brick that froze, expanded, then blew the course out.


Permastone Tsk, Tsk

There we were trying to figure out what what wrong with the facade of a store front on Virginia when I spied the side: Permastone!

I assume the wood frame went up to protect the plate glass windows.
This side shot shows the original face brick.


Candlelight Vigil for a downspout

Every year during a thaw my downspout freezes. It's on the north side of the building so it's shaded during the day and presently frozen solid. The thawing snow on the 1,400 square foot graded roof melts and rushes to the gutter where it drops into the downspout.

Five years ago this wasn't a problem since my original copper downspout looked like this:

The above is a photo of my neighbors down spout.

Four years ago I had contracted to have the gutter and only the gutter replaced. The price was 100.00.
Wilken's crew arrived, I left for the morning, and when I returned home I found two men on the roof and the copper downspout in the yard. They replaced it with an aluminum downspout with an elbow that catches thawing snow and causes it to freeze at the joint creating a dam. They also neglected to replace the gutter on the side of my building and did not install fascia under the 20 foot gutter. Idjets.

Less than a year later I was in small claims court with the owner Paul Wilken of Wilken Seamless Guttering and his two 'witnesses' -- his employees who stole my downspout and sold it for scrap. My beautiful and historic original downspout! They told the judge they scraped it for 140.00.

Paul argued he couldn't attach aluminum to copper. I agreed and mentioned I was aware of galvanic action but that a piece could have been used to prevent the metals from meeting and removing the downspout had never been discussed.

I won the case but only the 100.00 I originally paid. The original downspout had been anchored into the brick. These chumps drilled into the mortar and the freezing water is popping out mortar joints. Oh yeah, I also have gaping holes in brick.

Yep, that's a lit candle under the joint. Talk about hooiser rehabbing!
I took this photo yesterday and the ice was gone within an hour.
What worked best was pots of boiling water slowly poured onto the metal from both floors.

The ice along the outside of the downspout is a result of thawing snow dripping from the above gutter. Had I not found a way to melt the ice on the inside and outside there would have been more water damage inside the house. Yes, it did cause damage to an interior wall.

Mortar joint popping out from ice:


Frozen fountain in TG Park

Photo by UPI/Bill Greenblatt from


Hotel Saum

1919 S Grand Blvd.
The Saum was built in 1926 as a luxury hotel and at the time was the tallest building in the area.

Vintage post card. I love these vintage cards that were printed on a linen blend stock. I like the scale of the streets which were brick pavers and had street car tracks. In this old 'photos' the streets have been airbrushed into obscurity.

From a page of an old architecture magazine:


The steps in my house

Check out the trends on the stairs that leads to my basement.
Each one is different and was cut with a hand saw 95 years ago to fit snugly against the foundation stones. I get it enjoy this craftsmanship daily.
I know I need to sweep the stairs.

Diamond Brick

I spotted these outrageous 'diamond' bricks on a house in Holly Hills. I've seen them on two different houses in TGS as detailing but this home is a tribute to the rarely seen bricks.
They're rose in color and have matching stained mortar.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

But only if they're brickwork.


Holly Hills

Two weeks ago I caught a holiday cold and was on lock down in the house for a few days where I whined about being house bound and not outside. I worked every day since my monthly health insurance premium has jumped to a staggering 560.00 monthly. I whined about not having a day off for months and the cold to anyone who called.

I consoled myself with the realization that I am surrounded with elements of nature in my home:
Brick walls, wood window frames, joists, doors, floor boards and stairs, mortar, glass, and the original plaster walls with strands of horse hair.

Having a fever I marveled at this for hours while staring at a corner of the carpet then headed out for a delirious drive (I had to get out) and landed in front of this home in Holly Hills on Leona. CRAZY! The bird bath, barrel tiles and brick had me squealing.

Triple arch alert!

Check out the beefy terra cotta and the course of bricks at the base of the building: