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Aug 2001 / the ordinary eye :: email this story to a friend

River City Phoenix
By Meg Studer

This church, St. John's, located in Midtown, is strangely picturesque, horrific and beautiful at once to me. I'm not religious, but there's still something tragic and touching about the physical center of someone's spiritual community being laid waste according to chance. In fact it seems to hold a symbolic concentration of meaning for the surrounding neighborhood. It is surrounded by vacant lots on one side and more sites of recent demolition work just across dangerously wide streets. It seems to signal a sense of life once present, and now maybe just hibernating. The traces of people in lingering brick shells are swiftly disappearing, hopefully for meaningful development, while it is in the ash and stone window frame that a sense of the community is visually contained. Perhaps it is this tension, the sense of life present in ruins and the sense of potential for new community in the surrounding blocks, that makes one wonder if St. Louis is a mythical phoenix.


Romantically captivated by the culture, people, place, and bustle of the city, Meg Studer is an architecture and anthropology student who intends to work/research in community design, cultural landscape, housing, and the arts.

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