Another MCM Loss in Clayton, City Without a Preservation Ordinance


In early November, the diminutive neo-formalist bank building at 7520 Forsyth Boulevard — shown here standing its ground against encroaching high-rise development — bit the dust. The straw-strewn site of what was built as the St. Louis County National Bank’s Auto Bank in 1970 no doubt will lure new development, while marking the failure of Clayton to review demolition at all.

Clayton has no historic preservation ordinance at all, so while the AAA and owner of the “flying saucer” were denied demolition in the City, owners of similar landmarks in the second downtown can demolish with impunity.

If the clustered concrete columns oft the little bank do not strike your eye’s fancy, perhaps the streamline curve of the 1948 Samuel Marx-designed Famous-Barr store across the street does. Or the International Style mass of Harris Armstrong’s award-winning Shanley Building of 1937 a few blocks away. the owners of these buildings also could demolish them at any time without public review, under Clayton’s current system.

Modern STL Now Has 501(c)3 Status

When Toby Weiss called together modernist aficionados and preservationists in 2010, the first order of business was organizing cocktail parties at cool retro pads. The quickly-elected second item was creating a new mid-century modern preservation organization. Modern STL incorporated in September 2010, but all along has only dreamed of the esteemed 501(c)3 federal tax-exempt status.

The Internal Revenue Service beat Santa to our mailbox this year with notification: Modern STL now has 501(c)3 status. This means that all of your donations and membership fees are fully exempt, and can be claimed as deductions on your federal income tax forms.

Ah, yes, what a great time to renew your membership!

Shirts and Posters Commemorating Saarinen’s Arch Are Here!

You’ve been waiting, and we’re happy to announce that our latest Icons of St. Louis Modernism designs are in. Designed by All Along Press, these commemorative graphic tees and hand-printed posters pay tribute to Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in honor of its 50th birthday next year. Get yours while you can and be the first on your block to celebrate this special moment in our region’s (and let’s face it, the nation’s) architectural history!

These, as well as our other designs featuring Lambert Terminal, Midtown’s Saucer, Priory Chapel, Lewis & Clark Library, and the work of Ralph Fournier, are available online through Etsy. We’ll also be selling them at the Annual Meeting, so you won’t have any excuse not to wear your STL MCM pride.


Save the Date: 2014 Annual Meeting in Arrowhead Estates 

Picture 55

Photo credit: Hutchinson Photography

Date: Friday, September 12th
Time: 6-9pm
Location: 14 Arrowhead Estates Court, Chesterfield MO 63017
Cost: FREE, members only

Mark your calendar for Modern STL’s Annual Meeting on September 12th!  This year we’re combining our usual business with a very special house party at the residence designed by Ralph Fournier for developer Burton Duenke in Chesterfield’s Arrowhead Estates.

By the mid 1950′s, St. Louis County had seen the successful development of hundreds of new homes designed by Fournier and built by Duenke’s home building company. Their collaborations, including the Ridgewood, Craig Woods, Harwood Hills, Sugar Creek Ranch and Sunswept subdivisions, set the standard for modern residential design in suburban St. Louis. But if there were a crowning jewel among all of these Fournier creations, it is certainly the home he designed for Duenke himself.

Completed in 1955, the former Duenke residence sits atop a bluff above the Missouri River in Chesterfield. Nestled into old growth forest, the expansive home makes excellent use of its site through natural materials and forms as well as large expanses of glass. This is Fournier at his best.

Photo Credit: Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty

The house is currently on the market after being lovingly preserved by its present owners for the past twenty years. These excellent stewards are only the third family to call it home, and it remains largely unchanged with nearly all of its original fixtures and finishes intact.

This unique event is not one to be missed! We will take a few minutes to recap Modern STL’s accomplishments from the past year and vote on next year’s board of directors. Apart from that, you can enjoy complementary drinks and snacks along with, of course, the house itself. This is a members only event, though plus-ones are always welcome.

If you need to renew your membership you may do so at the door, and if you know someone interested in becoming a member, please bring them along!


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