Week of June 2, 2004

In the old days on the rivers, most of the south-central commerce wasn't going all the way to the Great Lakes; that area was already served, transport-wise, from eastern routes (ever heard of the Erie Canal?). It was, instead, going up to the confluence (new state park!) and out west, via the Missouri River. The old river hands did talk about the "Big Muddy," but it was the Missouri to which they were referring. The Mississippi was known in those circles as the -- get this -- "Big Drink." Look it up; hell, I did. It was pretty easy, too, so no points to the RFT for scholarship there. You always get lots for attitude, though.

Perhaps Randall Roberts can retitle his little columnette "Big Drink of the Week"?
Robert L. Carlson
St. Ann

Edifice Wrecks
Whodunit? I was amazed in Unreal's "Heavy Petting" article [May 19] to see that people actually mistakenly believe that Edward Durrell Stone designed Busch Memorial Stadium.

I was deputy building commissioner and handled all matters relating to permits and inspections of Busch Stadium, and the designer was not Stone! The architect/designer was the late Kenneth Schaeffer of Sverdrup and Parcel. After all design and construction drawings were complete, Stone was hired solely to give his opinion about the exterior appearance. His sole suggested change was to arch the roof segments, which had formerly been flat. Schaeffer accomplished that minor change.

As a matter of fact, Stone was never a registered licensed architect in Missouri, so he could not legally practice architecture here. Friends with the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority told me Stone was paid approximately $30,000 for his review/opinion.

Unfortunately, the year Busch opened, the Southwestern Bell telephone book cover showed the stadium and mislabeled the designer. I suggest you contact the St. Louis chapter of the American Institute of Architecture for verification; Schaeffer's widow still lives in the area.
Martin Walsh
St. Louis

Editor's Note
Anyone detect a theme here? We'll let Howard Gotfryd and Peter Wung's critiques stand on their own merits. (Chacun a son gout, and all that.)

Robert L. Carlson probably deserves his own Lou Lore corner of Unreal estate (watch out, Bill Haas!). We will cop to "easier-to-absorb, streamlined faux-history," but not for want of brain power. Let's just say that in the tradition of descriptive (as opposed to proscriptive) dictionaries, we were, uh, going with the flow.

As for where Busch Stadium credit is due, Frank Peters and George McCue's A Guide to the Architecture of St. Louis, published in 1989 by the AIA and the University of Missouri Press, touts Edward Stone as the ballpark's architect. And in 2001, when the Landmarks Association of St. Louis added Busch to its annual roster of the city's Eleven Most Endangered Sites, the list noted that the stadium "was named by Cynthia Weese, Dean of the Washington University School of Architecture, as the best work completed by Edward Durrell Stone."

In light of Mr. Walsh's letter, perhaps it hinges on what you mean by "completed by." At any rate, according to Michelle Swatek, executive director of AIA St. Louis, Kenneth Schaeffer is Busch Stadium's "architect of record." The AIA lists Stone as a design collaborator/consultant.

While we're setting things straight, in a photo accompanying our film times last week, a photo of Bianca Lawson in Breakin' All the Rules was incorrectly captioned. Additionally, owing to an editing error in the "Summer in the City" supplement, the two members of Femme Fatality were at one point erroneoulsy identified as female; let the record show they're male, all the time.

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