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R.I.P. Euclid lightposts

Monday, November 23, 2009
These disco lightposts have graced the intersection of Euclid and Forest Park Parkway for as long as I've been alive.  How they lasted as long as they did, I will never know. 

I regret to report that as of November 23rd, 2009, the aqua-funk twins are no more.



Though their bubbly lollipop fixtures no longer light the streets, they will always burn bright in our memories.  Yet again, "progress" claims some casualties.

More U. City secrets

Sunday, November 15, 2009
One of the joys of exploring neighborhoods on foot is stumbling upon little secrets that would go unnoticed behind the wheel of a whizzing automobile.  A recent walk through the charming tree-lined streets of University City uncovered some interesting little-known features of this historic suburb.

Check out this gritty little pedestrian tunnel nestled in middle of a quiet residential neighborhood.  The entrance is near the corner of Williams & Waterman:



The tunnel runs underneath Forest Park Parkway, connecting the West Portland Place neighborhood to the subdivision south of the Parkway. 



Plans are apparently in the works to spruce up the scrappy walkway that include murals from commissioned Wash. U. artists.  The stairs are slated to be replaced with a ramp, providing better access for bikes, strollers and wheelchairs.  For now, at least, the tunnel remains a vestige of raw urban grit in stark contrast to its quaint surroundings, so enjoy it while it's still "underground"...









And just up the street on Waterman, I discovered yet another decades-old sign:



Another Street Department oversight?  Or maybe it survives because it still sufficiently serves its purpose.  Thank you, University City, for leaving good enough alone-- that's why we love you.

Don't tell the U. City Street Department...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Shhh... don't tell, but the city of University City has apparently failed to replace a couple of circa 1970s street signs.   It's remarkable that this duo of retro beauties has managed to survive amidst decades of change in the historic neighborhood north of The Loop.  A little tattered, yes, but these funky oval-shaped throwbacks have outlasted the terms of at least four U.S. presidents and the entire life span of the cassette tape. 



The U. City Street Department has clearly overlooked these neighborhood relics, and we thank them for that.  But now they are forgotten no longer.  Cheers to resilience!

St. Louis according to John Gunther's "Inside USA"

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

In the 1940s, John Gunther set out to find the essence of America.  He traveled extensively through every state in the union, conducting interviews and observing the character, politics, race relations, landscape and general peculiarities of our diverse nation.  More than 60 years later,  Inside USA remains one of the most comprehensive journals of American culture ever published, yielding a fascinating glimpse of life from the WWII era.

Needless to say, Saint Louis was among the most powerful American cities during this time, and Gunther offers eloquent observations of our city, and highlights interesting contrasts between "the two Missouri queens"-- St. Louis and Kansas City.  Here are some excerpts from the book...

"What makes cities differ?  What makes one somnolent and another gay; what makes one as raw and effervescent as another is sober and sophisticated?  Age; geography and history; contrasting types of settlement; relation to the hinterland; demographic variations; also factors mysterious and unanswerable.  Kansas City and St. Louis, though in the same state and only separated by a few hundred miles, differ as drastically as any two great cities in the nation.

KANSAS CITY (population 634,093 metropolitan area; city limits 399,178) is, or was, a wild buckaroo town, a great railhead for the cattle trade, and "the meanest, most lawless" city in the United States.  Among adjectives I have heard for it are compact, dynamic, and obscene.  It is also one of the friendliest cities I have been in.  Above all it is full of restlessness and bounce. 

ST. LOUIS (population 1,367,977 metropolitan area; 816,048 city limits) is much bigger, calmer, more seasoned, with a wealth more deeply entrenched; it gives a sense of civilization like that of Cincinnati, grave and mature.  St. Louis was founded by the French, but coloring it strongly is a very large German-descended population.  Also it has intimate Deep South colorations, whereas Kansas City is almost purely western.  The emphasis in Kansas City is on raw materials; that of St. Louis on manufacturing and finance.  Kansas City faces west; St. Louis faces east and south.  One reason why the latter didn't have the cattle market is that the Ozarks cut off the range.  Kansas City is essentially Protestant; St. Louis essentially Catholic... Kansas City is full of boosters and go-getters; St. Louis, with a certain stagnancy, isn't so self-conscious or aggressive--except about its baseball teams when they are winning."

On St. Louis, specifically:

"St. Louis, a real metropolis-- once it was the third city in the nation, and even today it is eighth-- has a quality rare in America: tolerance.  It is a great town for civil liberties, and the intellectual climate is practically all that a civilized person can ask. The city is 13 per cent Negro; yet there are no race riots, and the Negro problem is nowhere near the preoccupation that it is in Kansas City.  It is 50 per cent Catholic, but several local Catholics collaborated closely with the PAC during the last presidential campaign.  St. Louis is the town where Communists speak on Twelfth Street with police protection, and where the liberal press insists that Gerald L.K. Smith has a perfect right to hold a mass meeting."

And an amusing footnote from the book:

"One inexplicable point about St. Louis is that the British government considers it one of the four cities in the United States 'unhealthy for purposes of leaves of absence.'  The others are New Orleans, Jacksonville and Savannah.  This is completely mystifying.  An explanation may be that the reference to St. Louis got in the Foreign Office Handbook forty or fifty years ago, and through oversight has never been removed."

There is much more on St. Louis in the book, but I picked out my favorite excerpts.  I highly recommend Inside USA to anyone who has an interest in American history and culture.  Gunther's objective observations on St. Louis is all the more reason to believe in the Red Brick Mama.

Welcome to the all-new STL-Style.com!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Welcome to our brand spankin' new website!  This new look and functionality will help us interact with our customers like never before.  Stay tuned because we are adding more features, pictures, etc in the next few weeks that will make this site even better.  Please let us know if you encounter problems or mistakes while navigating the site because we know there are still a few kinks. 

Our continued improvement doesn't stop here.  This is only the first step in a totally revamped STL-Style image.  We hope you're on board, because this will be a great ride.  We're rolling out some groundbreaking new merchandise this month that promises to pay homage to your favorite hometown like nobody's business.  And for all of you out there who have been asking when we're opening a store...we have an answer for you.  Stay tuned for the grand opening of STYLEhouse in January, which will add a lil' more St. Louis flavor to a soulful corner of Cherokee Street.  More details soon.

Until then, bear with us as we iron out some of the kinks that come with launching a new site.  And thanks for sticking with us!

--The STyLe Team

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