Built St. Louis > > Vanished Buildings > > The Arena
As the sun set on the evening of February 27, 1999, it heralded more than
just the end of the day. For St. Louis, it was the end of an era, the end
of a landmark. The Arena, a city icon and a familiar sight for thousands
of city dwellers and motorists, was destroyed in a 30-second implosion.
Built in 1930, the Arena -- affectionately known by locals as "The Barn"
-- was a dominant sight from the hills south of Forest Park. The building
offered a handsome, unmistakable profile to travelers on Highway 40. The Arena was closed in 1993, when the completion of the Keil Center in downtown drew away the
St. Louis Blues from their historic home -- part of the deal struck by the Keil Partners to ensure their new venue would suffer no competition.
Various proposals to put the
old barn to new use were floated; particulary appealing was the option
of incorporating it into Forest Park, right across the highway -- perhaps
as a subsidary of the Art Museum, or an aquarium. But nothing panned out,
and ultimately the powers in charge decided that a corporate office park
would be a more viable and productive use of the land than anything involving
the old Barn.
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