Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The mansard that almost killed me...

I run about 10 miles a week, divided between two 5 mile runs. This past Sunday, with temperatures in the upper 70's and humid, I decided to go for a longer run, just to prove to myself at age 40 that I could do it.

I run during the winter on the YMCA treadmills, frequently 7 miles. But running outside in the humidity for 7 miles is a little different. The first run in the summer heat is brutal, and upping my mileage by 2 miles was probably stupid. I ran from my house in Soulard all the way over Sidney, through Tower Grove Park to Kingshighway and then back. About 7 miles. By mile 6.25 I was about to die. I was on the stretch of Sidney between California and Jefferson and there were no trees, I was running uphill and kept looking for something that would give myself permission to stop running (red light, police barricade, chatting with a friends, ANYTHING!).

Saw a mansard in the distance. An oasis of sorts. A weird mansard next to the Bank of America at the city's most confusing intersection of Jefferson/Gravois/Sidney. I stopped and took a picture of a mansard.

This appears to be an art deco addition on the front. It is easy to miss because the house is hidden behind a tree. Goodness do I hate that door. After my badmansard break, I kept running and arrived home so sweaty that all the kids wanted to feel my calves because they were so wet and shiny.

Also featured is a great carriage stone on Sidney Street. I wonder if this is even a carriage stone, or a fancy hitch. A carriage stone is a big rectangle piece of marble or limestone plopped in the front of city homes, usually right by the front walk. The stones would allow the passenger of a horse-drawn coach to exit gracefully. They were installed when the houses were built, usually between 1870 and 1910. Once the automobile arrived people didn't need carriage stones anymore.

Some remain in place in the city of St. Louis in their original spot between the sidewalk and the street, others have been moved into gardens (they make great benches for kids to play and for grown-ups to read) and others were discarded (buried, put in the alley or broken into pieces). I am not sure I've ever seen a top part with a bar. Maybe there was a separate stone and this was the hitch. Or this could be the stone and the hitch together. I have no idea. Ideas regarding my miserable run and the carriage stone appreciated.

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