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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

7 Reasons to Save the San Luis: #4.5 Mid-Century Motels are Sexy; Ask Miami

Sadly, and mistakenly, when most people think of "sexy" cities, St. Louis ranks behind Miami.

This would not be so if we took a cue from Miami and cherished our sexy, if awkward, space age buildings like the San Luis Apartments. Miami has a whole historic district full of mid-century office buildings, commercial buildings, and, most prominently, hotels. The so-called MiMo Historic District (that stands for Miami Modern--an indigenous style that dresses up modernism with all sorts of unexpected colors) is the first of its kind in the country. Slowly, but surely, mid-century modern motels from the 1940s, '50s, and '60s are being restored and seen as economic and cultural assets to the city of Miami.

With the Bel-Air West Motel on Lindell already redeveloped, and with a refurbished San Luis (hey--some color could be added to the original design too, right?), we have the beginnings of our own SLoMo Historic District (ahem...St. Louis Modern).

Check out these examples from Miami:

The Davis Motel (1953), courtesy of electrofloss

Vintage shot of the former Stardust Motel, now the Biscayne Inn and Apartments (1956), courtesy of naslrogues

The Seven Seas Motel, at night (1955), courtesy of nazaret

Shalimar Motel (1950), courtesy of kleesohn

So these are mostly 1950s motel. What about something more comparable to our 1960s San Luis?

Check out this 1960s-era hotel overlooking the Atlantic in North Miami Beach: the Golden Strand Hotel and Resort

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I know beaches are sexy, but San Luis's restored pool should evoke about the same coolness, right? It sure looks like it from this vintage photograph (thanks to UMSL's Mercantile Library collection for the photo, and No Parking Lot on Lindell for finding it)...

There you have it. Proceed now to the Preservation Board on June 22, 2009 at 4pm, located at 1015 Locust, Suite 1200 and tell them that this building is too sexy for the wrecking ball.


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