The Cyclone is gone. Why bring it up now?
Here’s why. Nothing that I have seen, read or heard since the Cyclone was demolished has changed my mind from thinking that we shouldn’t have let it go. It was part of the historic industrial complex. It was structurally sound needing only a paint job. It could easily have had a useful second life as a commanding 3D presence advertising the historicity of the mill complex and the new businesses located within. With a bit of money spent on it, it might have become a community centerpiece.
In 2006-7 the Internet sites such as Facebook had not evolved to the point where they could be useful in this effort. The only options available were an appeal to the Historic Preservation Commission and to the Maplewood City Council which were both done. As for rallying the troops, we had to rely on The Mid-County Journal (the free newspaper) or the Post-Dispatch. The Journal published a front page article about the art contest with a photo of Steve Turner and his award winning painting. The Post-Dispatch published nothing.
By 2007 a great fellow by the name of Bill Sorby and I had a new idea. That idea was to use the Cyclone as a backdrop for projected images of the art that had been entered in our Let Them Eat Art contest as well as images of classic instantly recognizable art. To promote that idea I created the poster whose image is included in this post.
This would have been fun. Bill was an owner at the time of the Maya Café which was directly across Sutton from the Cyclone. Ideally we would have liked to mount a large projector on the roof of the Maya. Then as the sun set on the day of Let Them Eat Art, we would have started the show. This would have made a very dramatic scene at the location which was already a prime spot during LTEA.
The thinking behind the idea of the projected images was that any wild decorative paint job applied to the Cyclone was liable to be controversial. Projected images ephemeral by nature would be much less so. Hopefully this might have become a regular weekend event in warm weather.
On June 19, 2007 about a month before the second LTEA, the Cyclone was demolished. Of course, this eliminated any chance of following through with our idea. Who knows? It might have become a very popular feature in our community.
If you haven’t gotten it by now, the lesson is: If we don’t preserve what’s unique about our community, how are we going to tell it from any other? Need a glimpse of the future? Take a look at Big Bend and Manchester.