Bill Mellett Photography

Using my own life's experiences as the canvas for my work.

Front Door, Back Door St. Louis

St. Louis stands proud on the banks of the Mississippi River. It has a very rich history. Mark Twain wrote a memorable story about the Adventures of Huck Finn on the riverboats. I don’t know if any of it actually took place in St.Louis but it is easy to imagine that it could have. It seems like a friendly place. It has a home town feel. Strangers make eye contact and say hello when they see you. There are colorful flower boxes on some of the buildings. There are green parks that people congregate to. The Gateway Arch makes the boldest statement about the city’s proud role as the gateway to the American west.

I also walked down the alleys behind the hotel that I stayed at and between some of the other downtown buildings and parking garages.

There was one doorway in an alley that caught my attention. The doorway was deep and there were bars even with the line of the building thereby creating a tiny jail cell looking room. Even more curious, there was a thick chain and padlock hanging ominously from the brick wall. You could almost imagine a prisoner locked to the wall in there.

I’m sure that the reason for the little cell and chain were to allow the inside door to swing open and the chain was probably to hold it open and allow air in the building without allowing vagrants to wander in from the alley. It just seemed odd that it appeared like someone went out of their way to create an ominous looking image to make a statement. Mess with them and you might find out the hard way what the little room on the alley with the chain on the wall is really for.

What’s with the chains?