Terra Cotta Owl Architectural Ornaments, Artifact of the Month for May 2012
August 28, 2012
Terra Cotta Owl Architectural Ornaments
May's artifacts of the month are a pair of 22-inch tall, 128 lb terra cotta owls recovered from 121 South Second Street. This building stood at the northwest corner of Second and Elm Streets, an area that is now a part of the Gateway Arch grounds. These architectural fragments perched over the front door of the five-story warehouse built in 1909, once the home of B. Harris Wool Company. As you can see in this 1936 photo, the fire escape overshadowed the owls above the door.
The Winkle Terra Cotta Company provided terra cotta ornamentation for many St. Louis buildings, including the D.L. Parrish laundry building at 3120-28 Olive. The National Register nomination for the building called it, "One of the most impressive and unusual applications of architectural terra cotta in St. Louis" due in part to the colorful accents throughout the terra cotta façade. (Toft and Bivens, "National Register Nomination for the D.L. Parrish Laundry Building, p. 5).
Winkle Terra Cotta manufactured the terra cotta ornamentation for several of the city's most notable buildings, including the Wainwright Building and the Fox Theatre.
Stiritz, Mimi. "Winkle Terra Cotta Company", text for an exhibit for the Sheldon Art Galleries, The Winkle Terra Cotta Co., Architectural Art from the Ambassador & Comet Theaters, February 22-Mary 15, 2000. www.webster.edu/~corbetre/dogtown/history/sheldon.html
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