St. Louis: Good Moon Rising

photo by JoAnn Greco

Over the decades, developer Joe Edwards has opened an eclectic mix of bars and entertainment venues in the St. Louis neighborhood known as The Loop. Smelling the promise inherent in these funky blocks abutting Washington University, vintage boutiques and art galleries have followed, and the place has earned recognition from urban planners as one of America’s “ten greatest streets.”

For Edwards, the next piece seemed obvious: a boutique hotel.

An enthusiastic collector of pop culture ephemera, Edwards chose the Futurama allure of space as a theme for the property he would dub Moonrise. He turned to Chicago-based designers The Harrick Group to make it all happen. “I was charged with finding stuff,” laughs partner Joe Hartness. “Lots and lots of stuff.”

Most of that stuff — often culled from eBay sales — takes space age kitsch as a jumping-off point. Vitrines overflow with moon-faced cookie jars, toy robots, and photos signed by astronauts. Commissioned art works play on the theme by echoing the look of space age comic strips like Flash Gordon. Guest rooms feature enlarged photos of the moon taken from America’s early space exploration days.

A concurrent nod to the mid-century era naturally finds itself in the furnishings that outfit public spaces. Central to that motif is the work of Charles Eames who was, after all, from St. Louis.

The St. Louis influence is also felt in 10 suites that reference the  “Walk of Fame,” a civic project, created by Edwards, that lines Delmar Boulevard outside. These rooms pay tribute, via bio information and photos, to native St. Louisians in the entertainment biz, from Virginia Mayo to Redd Foxx.

Frances Folsom offers a closer look at St. Louis’ greatest attraction, the Arch, here.

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