Built St. Louis > > Vanished Buildings > > The Arena
News reports offered ample coverage of the implosion, as well as the
massive crowds that gathered to watch. The reactions of these onlookers
is instructive -- many were bereaved, almost as upset as though losing
a friend or loved one. "I don't know why I'm so upset," said one observer
of the Arena's death to reporters. "It's just an old building." But to
judge from the reactions of those watching, the Barn was far more than
A building like the Arena is more than a pile of steel, brick and wood;
it is more than its monetary worth or future viability. It is an embodiment
of the city's history, a common place where millions of its citizens had
come together over the decades. It was a shared experience -- a common
thread that ran through the lives of many dispirate inhabitants of the
city. As a sports arena, it was a place of wonderful memories, times of
heart-stopping excitement, of the highs of victory and the lows of defeat.
It was also an envoy of the city, appearing as the backdrop for countless
nation-wide broadcasts. As a work of architecture, it was a building with
_soul_, a soul that the slick new Keil Center downtown, with its curved
glass and metal facade and bright neon endorsment signs, cannot match.
Perhaps the sort of spirit the Barn had can only be aquired over time,
through years and generations of users -- but I suspect there is more to
it than that.
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