Want to own the 70-foot State Bank of Wellston tower that had a revolving lighted ball/weather beacon on top that could be seen for seven miles? Giles had it.
Or maybe you’d like to buy the “Flora Gates,” which once guarded the main entrance to Shaw’s Garden. Giles had that, too.
Still not big enough to fill your needs? Then how about the entire terra cotta facade of downtown St. Louis’ old Ambassador Theater — broken down into 360 crates? You bet, Giles had it.
And it wasn’t just St. Louis he saved.
“We have more artifacts of old New York City buildings than New York City does,” Giles said in 2017, with an obvious shot of pride.
Larry Giles in 1991, atop the old Big Four Route building in East. St. Louis
Technically, Giles was a salvager. After preservationists lost a fight to save a historic building, Giles would come in with cranes and hoists and save at least some piece of vanishing history.
“Larry never really wanted to salvage anything,” said Michael Allen, senior lecturer on architecture at Washington University and Giles’ successor as president of the building arts center.
“He would’ve preferred that the buildings remained standing,” he said.
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Giles’ St. Louis story starts in the Central West End, where he grew up and attended grade school. An older brother, George Giles of Troy, Missouri, survives.
Originally Appeared Here