Excerpt from a letter to Dick Englesmann, from Peter Burg after a visit Ladue area of St. Louis MO. in July of 2010.
It is Thursday morning and you are probably on your way to Michigan. Wanted to update you on events the day I left. After loading my fathers paints from Belt Service, I took your advice and drove I 70 to I 270 to I 64 back to Linbergh Blvd. and arrived at Bob’s in no time at all.
Bob Pommer was on the internet mapping out the areas we would be visiting. We left Country Club near 11:30 AM and drove to Lafayette Park, off I 44. Got off at South Jefferson Ave., and we were lucky locating the first house just as we pulled up at 2233 Park Ave., this was the tall white three story structure. Next we located the red brick two story home at 1512 Mississippi. It is set back from the rest of the houses in the area, so it was a trick to find. I brought along the snapshots that were attached to the back of each painting.
Next on the list was to see Coplin Ave. We took Russell Ave. in Compton Heights, and went north on Compton Hill Pl. right next to Reservoir Park. Bob told me that Eloise learned how to play tennis there and how he played there as a young boy. Also told me how , during World War II, soldiers were stationed at the reservoir to prevent Germans from poisoning the water supply.
We preceded on to Coplin, which is now more a culdesac rather than an Avenue due to the construction of I 44. He explained that the south side of Coplin Ave. was where my father’s house, or rather Oscar Burg's house, was situated. He mentioned about how all the houses had small alleys behind them where the garages were located. We wove in and out of Coplain twice and entered several of those alley ways so I could get a feel for the lay of the area and observe the neighboring homes. The day was beautiful and all the little gardens were lush with greenery and flowers. I was trying to imagine my dad as a kid roaming the streets there.
After Coplin Ave. Bob told me that the Englesmann and Pommer lads lived in a more up scale neighborhood and some how hooked up with the Burg gals. This was the area of Longfellow Blvd. and Hawthorne Blvd. All the houses in this part were of very high architectural quality and lovely design with considerable German influences. In our ramblings Bob relayed information regarding Oscar Burg’s employment. First in a prosperous shoe business and how there was a disagreement which lead to his leaving the company and then his move into the insurance field.
Our next destination was to Roosevelt High (Home of the Roughriders) Just off South Compton Ave. where my father, Richard, attended school. It is an imposing edifice with its copper domes oxidized green…
2233 Park Ave., La Fayett Sqare 1984, St. Louis MO.,Photo by Dick Burg
2233 Park Ave is extremely interesting imagery. The snap shot indicates a scene from 1984, although the painting is a depiction of life in the 30’s or 40’s, rather stylized with cars out of an old Walt Disney cartoon. This is juxtaposed against a looming metropolis in the background…a nostalgic longing for the days of youth in a neighborhood once traversed by the artist.
2233 Park Ave., La Fayett Sqare, St. Louis MO., 1984,18x24. Acrylic on board, Framed, Signed by Dick Burg (Courtesy of Bob Pommer)
Snap shot were attached to the back of each painting
1512 Mississippi, La Fayette Sqare, St. Louis, MO., 1984 Photo by Dick Burg
The pair of paintings is indicative of the frame of mind of anyone who revisits old haunts from childhood…recapturing the setting and mood of times past.
"Remember When", 1512 Mississippi, La Fayette Sqare, St. Louis, MO., 1984, 20x24.Acrylic on Board, Framed, Signed by Dick Burg (Courtesy of Bob Pommer)