Chesterfield studio faces foreclosure
By: Sheila Frayne Rhoades
St. Louis sculptor Don Wiegand has faced fire and flood to keep his beloved Chesterfield Valley property safe. This beautiful and historic studio was severely damaged by fire in 1971, the flood of ’93 nearly washed away his dream and, in 2009, another near loss occurred. The Army Corps of Engineers announced they were intending to demolish the home/studio and its surroundings in order to upgrade the Monarch-Chesterfield levee. Fortunately, after strong public outcry, a compromise was reached that saved the studio and most all its property.
Today Wiegand faces his greatest battle to date – the threat of foreclosure.
“I’m thankful to Bremen Bank for doing their job, however financial pressures all over the country have caused this problem,” Wiegand said.
Wiegand began his childhood dream to convert the old Smokehouse slaughterhouse into an art studio, museum gallery, and residence in 1965. With sweat and determination, a teenaged Wiegand and some buddies rescued the main room from the wrecking ball. Today the site holds three acres of mature trees that Wiegand personally planted.
This local landmark was placed on Chesterfield’s historic register in June of 2008.
For nearly a half century, Wiegand has given himself to the community and to America. The Bob Hope Spirit of Hope Awards, The Donor’s Memorial, and other numerous projects are among his contributions. Now Wiegand is hoping for a public rally.
“I view this situation as the tsunami after the earthquake. We still need an SOS (Save our Studio) public outcry!” Wiegand said.
The city of Chesterfield has expressed interest in a partnership with its Parks Department as part of the Monarch Walking Trail.
Wiegand has a Dec. 5 deadline before the property is to be auctioned off.