I don’t specifically remember seeing this building in my childhood as I crossed the iconic McKinley Bridge, often with my dear Uncle Virgil. That is perhaps because at that time McKinley bridge demanded all of the terrified attention of a child, with its “outrigger” lanes added as an afterthought to the outside of the main bridge structure and its two-way-head-on-collision-waiting-to-happen traffic down the narrow middle. Each time one crossed the driver had to pick his poison, and pay for the privilege, it being a toll road.
Sometime after the bridge was closed and reconstructed and reopened in 2007, I began to take notice as this building was being prepped for demolition. Yesterday on my bicycle ride across the beautiful bike lane of the renewed bridge, I noticed that the demolition had made great strides and I stopped to take some pictures.
The scene below me was amazing. In some ways the cranes looked like miniatures. And one of them was parked right in the belly of the building. It was the building itself that was perhaps the most interesting, packed full of intricate structures like an organism being dissected. And all around the yard huge metal structures which had been removed and sorted looked like strange internal organs.
The building itself was once the Venice Power Plant, most recently operated by Ameren, which once was a coal fired plant and more recently was converted to oil and natural gas. And though it is sad to see such an old building demolished and have its architecture lost, it will be good to have that land restored, as I found that at least parts of it, and perhaps the whole, might be considered a brownfield site. And it seems like the folks at Spirtas are getting on with it.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. Be sure to enlarge the last one to see the arch and one pylon of the new bridge spanning the Mississippi in the background.