One man's passion for St. Louis architecture and his desire to preserve pieces of historic buildings coming down has become the National Building Arts Center in Sauget, IL, the nation's largest and most diversified collection of building artifacts. It also has a research library filled with books, journal, photos, maps and blueprints.
Michael Allen is the executive director. He took over when the founder, Larry Giles, died unexpectedly in 2021. Giles had been collecting and preserving artifacts since his days as a rehabber in Soulard after coming home from the Vietnam War. He donated the inventory from his architectural salvage company and oversaw the move to Sauget.
Listen to Debbie Monterrey's feature that aired on KMOX here:
The research library is open by appointment. The collection is largely stored in large wooden crates stored in the foundry outbuildings.
Once a month, the National Building Arts Center offers tours where crated items are put out on display.
In September, they're doing their first curated exhibit at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation called Urban Archeology: Lost Buildings of St. Louis.