It sure seems like eons since I last stumbled around a town at night, taking pictures. Parenthood (and winter) sure changes your priorities. Yet, as the cold weather lingers in St. Louis, I’ve been enjoying perusing the collection of photos that I’ve shot over the past 5 years.
The night I took this shot was memorable. After driving to Columbia in a driving rainstorm, I took my camera out in the remnants of that September storm to relive my college years and traipse around the Mizzou campus. It had likely been 2 years since I had last set foot in my favorite college town and much longer since I’d had the time to walk around the city. While the Columbia I found only resembled the place I had left 15 years earlier, it still felt like home. Many of the icons that marked my Columbia remained. Some were weathered and were showing their age. Others soldered on, continuing to mark the Mizzou experience for successive generations of college students.
One of the icons of Columbia that seemingly solders on is the neon sign atop the Tiger Hotel. It’s been standing watch over downtown for as long as I remember, weathering changes to the building and the surrounding town. Imagine my glee when I walked down Broadway and caught sight of this sign on an especially eerie night, a night when the rain covered streets and low clouds conspired to create a classic noir image in this midwestern college town. For just a moment, I expected Sam Spade to walk out of the shadows.