Afterdays Media focuses on archaeological views of our contemporary culture. Artifacts, art, or cultural phenomena that picture us in the past tense.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Slow Creep into Empty Places, 1990-2010.

Southwestern Freight Depot in 1989

Few folks noticed the massive St. Louis Southwestern Railway Freight Depot building back in 1989, when we shot this photo. The impressively vast structure, cast in concrete, is still one of the most distinctive buildings in St. Louis. The five-story depot was built in 1911 and is 750 feet long. It has been abandoned for decades.

During the 1980s, when we began visiting such places, “urban exploration” was still a pretty obscure endeavor. Most folks weren’t armed with video cameras, and in the case of the Southwestern Depot building, spray paint tagging hadn’t yet arrived to this part of St. Louis. Now it has, and the interiors of the building are a virtual gallery of graffiti art. But I must confess that I find the tagging on the exterior rather depressing. Empty places can be more than playgrounds. This building still has such dignity and grace, and I’m not ready to see it treated like an urban corpse.

The Depot in 2010

The Depot was placed on the National Register in 2004. Read the nomination form HERE.

The building is even impressive from above....


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