What do grilled cheese and architecture and history have in common?

Here's some quick and dirty history to make you sound smart the next time you're headed to watch some baseball:

This building...

General American Life Building - corner of Market and 8th

General American Life Building - corner of Market and 8th

...which looks like a juicy grilled cheese sandwich, being picked up slowly…dripping architectural cheddar on the sidewalk, has multiple layers of awesome.  First of all, as far as modern buildings downtown go, it's one of the ones that matter.  (I defer actual information to those that actually know things)

But even more importantly. this block was originally the center of the Chinese community in early St. Louis, for over 100 years.  YEARS, y'all.  Known as "Hop Alley" (possibly an opium reference, possibly a reference to Cantonese mis-pronunciation) until the 1930's, it was a dense residential and commercial district, most noted for a robust industry of Chinese hand laundries.  

Wanna know more?  Click here to head over to a blog that my blog is totes crushing on.

Reference:  Ling, Huping. Chinese St. Louis. 2004.