Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Snell Arcade Building

The Snell Arcade Building, built by C. Perry Snell is one of St Petersburg's gems. It's on the National Register of Historical Places and the architectural style is one of many.

The architecture is partially Spanish-Moroccan, Gothic tracery, romanesque capitals, Egyptian half-columns, baroque brackets, classic running moldings, renaissance portrait medallions, multifoil arches and fanciful finials. Even with all of these very different styles, one would think it would be hideous. It's just the opposite. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in downtown St Petersburg.

One part of Snell’s creation that no longer has it’s former glory is the arcade itself which was built as a passage from Central Avenue to First Avenue North. I agree with Lowe’s impression from the photographs, “To say that it was lavishly decorated is clearly an understatement” (p. 121). Perched high along the arcade were seven Venuses as well as a large mosaic tile imported from Europe that depicted a Baroque Venetian church. The name of the mosaic is Baldassare Longhena’s Santa Maria della Salute. The tiles were uncovered during a 1983 restoration and Snell himself removed the statues when he sold the building (Lowe, 2006).

Today, there are a few stores on the ground floor in the "arcade" and some offices on the first couple floors. The remainder of the building houses condos--one condo per floor!
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