The Kingshighway Viaduct and Skate Park

I read (click on the title) that the demo of the KHW viaduct is starting soon and wanted to revisit the area below the deck. I had the willies driving down the rumble strewn road along the east side but was enchanted to encounter a large group of friendly men and their underground DIY skate park complete with freestanding ramps and a recently created 'pool'.

I also had a great chat with the author of http://we-are-the-city.blogspot.com/

It was baffling to discover a dumpster under the bridge.
I called my 10th ward alderman Joe Vollmer. He said he's supportive of them being there -hence the dumpster - and wants to work with them to develop skate parks in our ward.

Reinforced piers:

Missing parapet:

In the middle of the photo there's a small figure, one of a group of boys who'd discovered the LRA board up had been removed:

Cracks in the piers

Entrance to the viaduct from South Kingshighway

Downspout encased in concrete:


I'm back.

I was working.
I worked every single day last year while attending to volunteer business and didn't have much time for brick spotting. I smacked down a lot of debt, did some work on my building, and didn't go on vacation.

My business took me on some long drives on wide highways. I still won't call them interstates. I marveled at expanses of sky while traveling on highway 44. I avoid 40 because it's disorienting. The remodel with its extensive sound barriers is like driving through a courtyard.

Here's a building I encountered on Morgan Ford. The green bricks are spooky and the finish is stucco-ish. Check out the green patina on the original copper gutter and how it matches the green bricks. The original downspout matches and I'm betting that was deliberate.

Gorgeous palette:



Arts and Crafts Homes - Maplewood

For a tour of exceptional columns and the stucco finishes of local Arts and Crafts influenced buildings start your tour at Lyndover and Roseland Terrance.

Second floor recessed porch:

Check out the buff color half circle brick wall on the left side of the porch.


Ghetto on Ghetto?

But wait, I was thinking as I skimmed the article (click on the title), Christo already did that. I mean, the man invented the medium.

I started a mild burn...Historic BRICK house but OK, in a depressed area where hey, no worries over a further drop in value. FYI: Depressed area doesn't always mean black folk live there or that they wear gold chains which looks more like a 80s Versace scarf print than wrapped rapper.

Here's some tedious rhetoric from the artist statement:
...The house, wrapped in gold chains, will flaunt itself to locals, while simultaneously finding itself bound and gagged by its own design.

I'm gagging.


How rude

Never mind that Morgan Ford is once again a thriving business district just resolve your tuckpointing issue with white vinyl siding over historic brick.
Congratulations dimwits, you've just won the hoosier rehabbing Award of the Year!


Morgan Ford In Motion Festival! Sept 25th

Save the date and come out to the Morgan Ford In Motion Festival Saturday, September 25 · 12:00pm - 9:00pm

I'm sharing a booth with my lovely friend Bruk Longbottom of Rodeo Revival fame and the founder of Maid Rite.

A fraction of what I'll be selling can be seen by clicking on the title or cut and paste:
http://christian-herman.blogspot.com/ which includes felts, knits, crochet, and handmade jewelry.

Here's a list of the Bands:
12:00 - 12:45: The Ten Cent Looseys
1:15 - 2:00: Bullet Pop
2:30 - 3:15: One More Round: A Tribute to Johnny Cash
3:45 - 4:30: Last Nights Vice
5:00 - 6:30: Steve Ewing
7:00 - 8:30: Jon Bonham &Friends

This is a FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENT: FUN, FRIENDS and FESTIVITIES are planned for the Morgan Ford in Motion Music &Street Festival on Saturday, September 25th. Bring your family for a full day of great bands, booths and incredible food on Morgan Ford.


What's Wrong with this Picture?

As a kid I loved What's Wrong with this Picture? it would display two images that were close but didn't match and the objective was to locate the differences.

Location: The Hill.
Of course.


I went looking for Riley

And only found these outstanding 'bark' bricks

On this building at Miami and Morgan Ford:


Walkability - The Chippewa Viaduct

Over dinner last night Tim and I discussed Walkability.
What does Walkability mean, I demanded, I used to walk a total of four miles every day to and from work. How is this new?

It's true: I walked from 4350 McPherson to work in all weather. I walked on sidewalks, did the two mile route in 28 minutes, and didn't own a car. I bought my first car 18 years ago and am still driving the Saturn (currently at 92,000 miles). I didn't want to buy a car - I walked or used BI-State.

During my brief stint at Roosevelt High School I daily walked the 1.5 miles. When I attended DuBourg I walked from McDonald and Roger to the BI-State bus stop at Chippewa. Elementary school: I walked the five blocks from and to Holy Family school. Big whoop.

What are these people talking about, I asked Tim, and what do we call them?
Yuppie puppies, Tim replied.

Walkability has infiltrated ads on Craigslist for apartments in my neighborhood: Walk to Tower Grove Park! Walk to S. Grand! I've been walking until recently and am snickering at walking being a marketing concept. Since when is walking a few blocks trendy? Perhaps for those whose parent's bought them a car at age 16 'cause I'm just not getting it.

Walkability is subjective. It's also a consideration in sustainable design.
It means sidewalks and once meant to me destinations within two-four miles.

St. Louis City is walkable and if you chose to stroll or economic circumstances demand you hoof it.

Which reminded me of the Chippewa viaduct so I rode my new electric bike over last night and discovered the street has never been asphalted. The viaduct functioned as a train spur overpass for our former manufacturing neighbors. The tunnel beneath was a nifty alternative for those wanting to avoid crossing the busy tracks.

I call the original pavement granetoid (google image it) and Tim calls it exposed aggregate concrete. This is what our streets looked like in TGS when I was a kid. They were very large slabs of a nearly white mortar and rock mix which made skateboarding down the 3900 block of McDonald a serious challenge. I had made a skateboard by removing the wheels of my metal roller skates and nailing them to a 1x4.

Eventually thawing snow froze into the crevices around the rocks, formed pocks, and then small holes. The streets were still drivable but the first layer of asphalt went down on TGS in the early 70s. It's still recklessly used and many streets are pointlessly being repaved this week in TGS.

Walkable also meant use of the pedestrian tunnel under the railroad which was closed man years ago. During the time it was built very few people had cars, traveled by street cars and walked.

I used the tunnel under the Chippewa viaduct with my sister and would often pass other people. We liked to lean on the railing and watch cars. It reeked of piss and was eventually closed because people were being mugged.

Similar tunnels were also under streets in downtown St. Louis.

Granetoid street:

The top of the parapet has a very fine mortar mix almost sand castle-like in appearance.

Side view of the tunnel entrance.

Overhead view of the pedestrian tunnel:

Exit on the other side of the train tracks:

My electric bike. Eight years of ripped and torn knee tendons before a jerk doctor acquiesced to my demands for a MRI. I was in surgery twice within a year. This is an embarrassment for someone who used to ride Chubb Trail to Cool Valley and back every weekend. It weighs 75 pounds and is a bitch to get up and down the front steps.


3964 McDonald Ave.

This is a reprint of my first blog post from 7/10/04.
My old girlfriend Chris Deckard was on site and set up this blog. He also kindly tolerated drives down alleys and aided in brick spotting.

This is where it all began, 3964 McDonald Ave in the Tower Grove South area of St. Louis. My childhood home!

I love the brass mailbox and beveled glass address plate. I used to polish it when I was a kid. I would run my fingers over the surrounding brick, fascinated with the crevices and various values of color.

I loves me some brick.

Pop Quiz

Occasionally I come upon a brick street that hasn't been covered with asphalt. It's a wonderful experience and I like to imagine how horse hooves sounded traveling over the bricks.

These streets also remind me of the movie King of the Hill which was filmed in St. Louis when I lived in the CWE. If you haven't seen the movie rent it ASAP. Part of it was filmed in the old apartment building on the NW corner of McPherson and Taylor (it went condo shortly after and the building was severely altered).

OK, so watch the film then take a stab at the neighborhood where the brick streets were located.

This one is located at Tennessee and Winnebago

Detail of the street, perfectly placed Hydraulic pavers.
Dreamy stuff.

Around the corner on Chippewa I encountered this overgrown lot:

Is this sign ever going to be removed?

Auto Glass Installed

I had a darkly hilarious phone conversation with Dale Sweet on the Fourth. He lives in Gravois Park and I could hear the fireworks in the background. These weren't firecrackers mind you but professional fireworks.
He told me about this car and wondered how many times it would be ticketed before being towed.