On December 12 at the Tivioli Theater Joe Edwards, Delmar Loop’s iconic entrepreneur, will kick off the second year of quarterly networking programs for Construction Forum STL. Programs for 2014-2015 will address the theme “What Will We Build Tomorrow?”
With that theme, what better speaker could we choose to present our “coming attractions” than Joe Edwards and what better venue could we meet in than the Tivoli? The theater is located in the heart of the Delmar Loop – named one of “Ten Great Streets in America” by the American Planning Association .
Even as we were confirming arrangements with the Tivoli last Thursday, Edwards and his team were across the street finalizing décor and training staff for the opening of the Peacock Diner, Edwards’ latest entrée into the Loop. The Peacock opened this past weekend, on Washington University in St. Louis’ Parents Weekend.
It Started With a Burger Bar
When I returned to St. Louis after earning my undergraduate degrees 40 years ago, I lived a few blocks from the Loop. With friends who lived and worked in the Central West End I used to hang out at a burger bar, then two years old, called Blueberry Hill. It was a huge leap of faith on the part of Joe and Linda Edwards to invest in what was then a very sketchy part of town.
Over the years, Joe Edwards kept demonstrating that faith in the St. Louis region and its people with one great idea after another – the Tivoli, the St. Louis Walk of Fame and then the BIG leap of faith, going East of Delmar with the Pageant, Pin-Up Bowl, the Moonrise Hotel and other ventures.
His move across the St. Louis region’s invisible line of Skinker and along the north side of Delmar, which has received international attention as a line of demarcation between rich and poor in St. Louis, holds a special symbolic place in my heart. I spent the first year of my life in an apartment my parents had rented on Delmar, just inside the city limits.
Joe Edwards continues to bring people together and to stretch limits with ideas like the revitalization of Delmar Station and the Loop Trolley.
Beautiful, Elegant, Multi-Cultural
An article in Washington University’s Student Life website on the opening of the Peacock discussed the symbolism that peacocks hold for Edwards, who is displaying his large collection of peacock-themed items in his new all-night diner:
To him, the peacock symbolizes all that he is trying to create on the Loop—it’s beautiful, elegant and multi-cultural, he said.
Certainly, his favorite piece of his extensive collection is the diner’s sign. It’s hard to miss the active neon sign featuring a multi-colored peacock’s tail hanging above the Loop. Alongside his daughter, who is a graphic designer, Edwards commissioned the piece to be a fixture on this new section of the street.
“The signs are the artistic anchors to the Loop,” he said. “Can you imagine the Loop without the signs? It would be not nearly as cheerful or as inviting.”
Beyond an obvious, scrutinizing attention to detail, Edwards has a much larger vision that connects his various efforts.
“On the Loop, you have people from all economic strata interacting, and that’s the key to the future,” he said.
He prizes the diversity of those who visit the Loop, from Wash. U. students to local high-schoolers to families and residents of University City. Seeking to foster community interaction, he designed the counters of the diner to be U-shaped so as to encourage casual conversation with neighbors.
Join us on December 12, as Joe Edwards leads Construction Forum STL in a discussion of the shape of things to come.
Construction Forum St. Louis ©October 2014