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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Historic Bank Sign That Served as Weather Beacon Saved From Scrapyard

Posted By on Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 8:45 AM

The giant State Bank of Wellston sign, safely removed from its tower. - EXCEPT AS INDICATED, ALL PHOTOS BY CHRIS NAFFZIGER
  • Except as indicated, all photos by Chris Naffziger
  • The giant State Bank of Wellston sign, safely removed from its tower.

Another Modernist landmark will soon vanish from St. Louis once wrecking crews complete the demolition of State Bank of Wellston. But at least once piece of the historic bank at Martin Luther King Drive and Kienlan Avenue will live on. Last month preservationist Larry Giles salvaged the building's iconic sign and safely transported the massive structure to his architectural non-profit, St. Louis Building Arts Foundation.

The crane used to hoist State Bank's sign from its perch high above the street.
  • The crane used to hoist State Bank's sign from its perch high above the street.

For decades the State Bank of Wellston anchored the western end of a lively commercial strip that straddled the city-county divide. But by the 1970s many of the major commercial institutions along that stretch of MLK Drive had either moved out to newer suburbs or closed, including a JC Penney that left the strip without a major anchor on its eastern edge. The State Bank of Wellston, meanwhile, was eventually bought by Regions Bank that now occupies a newer building nearby.

See also: Help Needed Saving Iconic North St. Louis Weatherball and Sign

The scale of the sign becomes evident as Larry Giles and crew arrive to the top of the structure in a cherry picker.
  • The scale of the sign becomes evident as Larry Giles and crew arrive to the top of the structure in a cherry picker.

Read more about how the historic sign was saved.

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