The Eerie Remains of the RFT’s Old Shell Building Offices — 21 Years Later


In the fall of 1996, the Riverfront Times moved from its home in the Shell Building in downtown St. Louis to the Delmar Loop. The paper had been in the ninth floor of the curved building at Locust and 14th for eight years, a period that writer Thomas Crone remembers fondly in his essay in this week's 40th anniversary edition. "Like much of downtown at the time, the Shell felt a bit worn, not unlike the neighborhood surrounding it," he writes. Lots of empty space was the rule, and 'Wash Ave' was steadily transitioning into a district of underground arts activity."

After the RFT left, the ninth floor has remained empty -- for 21 years. The building as a whole, which was the corporate headquarters of a subsidiary of Shell Oil from 1926 to 1940, is largely vacant today.

With the Shell now slated for redevelopment, photographer Monica Mileur visited the paper's former home to see what's changed in the two decades since we pulled out of downtown (and last month, returned, moving into a building just about ten blocks west of the Shell). She found some old office equipment, a box of old phones, and hallways that echo with the ghosts of the writers, editors and sales reps who once called the place home.