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City Museum Founder’s Studio Faces Demolition Again

The owner of the Lafayette Avenue studio, where City Museum founder Bob Cassilly crafted his iconic sculptures, seeks to demolish the building once more, raising concerns among preservationists about its condition.

The St. Louis Preservation Board will review the demolition permit request for the brick structure at 2655 Lafayette. Details remain scarce, but the building shows signs of extensive damage, with bowing walls, open entryways, and accumulated debris. Preservationist Jackie Dana is urging fellow advocates to voice their concerns at the upcoming meeting, pushing for the preservation of both the building and its ornate façade, which bears Cassilly’s artistic legacy.

Max Cassilly, Bob Cassilly’s son, emphasizes the historical significance of the façade’s artifacts, supporting efforts to save them. Known for his imaginative sculptures crafted from salvaged materials, Bob Cassilly aimed to infuse art into architecture, a vision manifested in his studio’s creations.

The Lafayette Avenue building, formerly a grocery store, served as Cassilly’s workshop before his passing in 2011. Despite previous attempts to demolish it, the building stands as a testament to his artistic vision. Its current owner, Shilpa Sheevam, has faced challenges in maintaining the property, which has suffered fire damage and neglect over the years.

While concerns linger about the building’s fate, Max Cassilly proposes repurposing its salvaged elements for a new park, envisioning a space that reflects the City Museum’s spirit of exploration and creativity. Amidst debates over preservation and progress, the fate of Cassilly’s legacy hangs in the balance, prompting reflection on St. Louis’s commitment to its cultural heritage.

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