Built St. Louis > > Crumbling Landmarks || Historic Downtown > > Arcade Building

The Arcade Building
Interior - Penthouse and Mechanical Floors

With time beginning to run short on our tour, we regretfully opted to skip the last 7 or 8 floors, and head straight for the top. My legs were on fire by the time we reached the mechanical level at the top.

There, we passed massive, ancient, rusting boilers; a room piled high with bricks from the Wright Building's temporarily de-constructed parapet walls; and several dark, narrow rooms lit only by the cloverleaf openings cut into the stone panels below the building's cornice.

Stepping onto the roof was a thrill; half of downtown lay at our feet, and the perspective on neighboring buildings like the Paul Brown and the Syndicate Trust was fantastic. A different kind of thrill came from knowing that the roof was not in the best of conditions after 30 years of neglect; we were told to avoid several large areas. I shot some high-powered views of our surroundings before we headed down.

We made a quick descent, pausing only to collect a few soveniers we'd gathered: non-original fittings, and a couple of bits of old door hardware too damaged for restoration. Pyramid intends to reuse original materials wherever possible, so we avoided taking anything that could be restored.

It was a fascinating two hours; I could have stayed there all day. I'm enormously grateful to Pyramid for providing me access to the last of downtown's abandoned great skyscrapers.

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