Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Beautiful French Connection



The inspiration for our City Hall is the Hotel De Ville in Paris (shown above).



The second image is a historic postcard view of St. Louis City Hall. Back in the 1960s, many considered the building obsolete, and it was nearly demolished in favor of a modern civic center complex. Fortunately that never happened. But the building needs some costly repairs.

On the outside, it carries blemishes from failed attempts to remove discoloration caused by years of coal soot accumulation on the limestone exterior. Thanks to the St. Louis chapter of the AIA, there is a private effort to raise funds to rehabilitate the exterior of the building. But private fundraising is a slow business, and the dollar goal is substantial.

If presented to voters, would you support a bond measure to finance the cost to rehabilitate the historic building?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

We can't even afford public safety, so NO, I wouldn't support frivolous cleaning of City Hall, though the aldermanic chambers certainly could use a good sweep.

Anonymous said...

this could be bad information, but I heard from someone who used to work there that the limestone has been cleaned, it's the sandstone that they can't figure out how to clean without it crumbling!

Rick Bonasch said...

Thanks anony #2, I believe you are right about the sandstone.

Figuring that paint would not adhere to the porous sandstone surface, I wonder if there would be some way to dye it to a desireable shade, so that the color of the stone would have a more natural appearance?

Michael Allen said...

Most sandstone-front houses in the city are painted due to the softness of the stone. The base of the Wainwright Building, however, is a good example of natural sandstone that was successfully cleaned. It should be possible. Maybe someone should call Larry Giles.

Anonymous said...

While the GF and I were on the Soulard HT one year, one of the houses featured had major damage to the sandstone portions (extensive) of its' facade restored. I think the homeowner said it was a process which was invented in Germany, but had been used under license by the American contractor. I also recalled her saying that it was expensive. As for CH, I think the only way to finance its' restoration would be a special bond issue, such as the one which financed the Fire Dept. house improvements. Having said that, getting people on board will be an uphill battle, considering the comments of your respondents so far. Perhaps a public-private partnership would be another avenue to explore. Think Forest Park Forever and you get the picture.