Day 29: Finally in St. Louis

The mid-section of Missouri took far longer than I had planned on.  Slowing me down was dreary grey in the morning, followed by dense clouds, and lots of slow weekend drivers.

Clouds are lovely when there are just a few of them, preferably behind your subject and not blocking the sun.  Too many behind the subject, and it’s a field of icky white making for a flat, lifeless photo.  Today, I found  myself standing around waiting for the sun to peek through the clouds enough to put some light on my subject.  Annoying.  I spent more time looking at the sun’s position in the clouds and waiting for it, then actually taking photos.  Luckily, I didn’t encounter any crazed business owners with clenched fists ready to smash my camera or me while I stood around. 

When the sun would come out in a big way, I’d find myself speeding like a maniac between destinations.  So far, no tickets in Missouri — and just a warning in Kansas.  So the tally so far is:  1 speeding ticket and 2 warnings.   Yes, it could have been worse — it could have remained overcast all day or rained.  I’m hoping the forecasters are right about tomorrow — all sun.  I have an enormous stack of St. Louis stuff to get through. 

Densely urban, I’m not sure how I’ll entertain the dogs.  Yesterday, I found a huge business park lake — no one around since it was a Saturday.  Everybody went for a swim.  It’s been humid and 90s as far back as I can remember.  Resident-looking ducks are an indication to me that the water’s chemicals or pollutants can’t be too toxic for the dogs.  Grass and empty lots I always seem to find anywhere but water is always my goal for them.

On with the photos.  The Gardenway / Diamonds sign is a behemoth.  Sources disagree whether this is in Gray Summit or Villa Ridge.

This photo from Washington.  Very few of these Western Auto signs left.  This one has old-fashioned illuminating lamps above:

A couple more from Washington.  I don’t know if this Parmentier Auto Body sign is new or old. Apparently, they’ve been around since 1939 so perhaps this was an old sign and transferred to a new sign.  The white is neon while the blue (metal or plastic?) supports it.

This chainsaw art is in front of the Pepsi-Cola plant:

Too bad it was a Saturday as I had really wanted to meet David Hutson at Neon Time (repairs and custom work) in St. Charles.  I did manage a couple photos through the windows.  Maybe if this St. Louis stuff take longer than it should, and it might, I can swing back there on Monday to see what other goodies are hiding.

A modern sign but I’m a sucker for penguin signs:
This is at Doozle’s Frozen Custard in Florissant:

Really nice, mid-century modern glass details at this library:

This donut shop in St. Ann is now a daycare center but the sign remains:

I think we’re into St. Louis proper for the remaining photos.  This building has always intrigued me.  The lettering says Progressive Cafeteria but I don’t know the original tenant.  I believe that “development coming soon” sign has been there since at least 2005.

A two-fer:  a nice classic blue porcelain enamel sign and the Sky Bank tower (I posted a separate photo of it at Flickr tonight).  This is from Wellston rather than St. Louis.

I was in Fitz’s to shoot the Houn’ Dog Drive-in sign inside.  This restaurant has a watch-em-work window where you can see root beer being bottled:

Dramatic stuff on the East side of town:

Quite often, people have commented at Flickr about how they can’t believe I was in such-and-such an area or that they would never get out of the car there.  After 10 years or so of taking pictures, I can’t think of anyplace that I’m afraid of.  Not to worry — I don’t think I’m stupid about it.  I’m always aware of who’s hanging around.  I’m usually dressed pretty slovenly and Sparkle’s got a nice coating of dirt on her right now.  I hardly look like a tourist or worth the effort of robbing.  Usually the best and most interesting stuff is in the poor parts of town where it’s remained neglected and safe from developers. 

This place is one such find in a not-so-nice neighborhood.  I just park straddling the curb 10 feet away and pop out to shoot & jump back in.  Not enough time for anyone to hardly notice or yell anything at me.

Let’s close with a few photos of one of my new fave St. Louis buildings.  I bumped into the DeBalievere Building today — had never heard of it before.  Stunning detail.  For more, Andrew Raimist has some photos over at Flickr:

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