Blues home ice sits on birthplace of the blues

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The odds were astronomical, but local engineers Rick Lodewyck and Mark Birchler did the legwork and research to prove one of the most incredible coincidences in St. Louis sports history. The home of the St. Louis Blues is in many ways the birthplace of blues music.

"It's fate," says Birchler. "This is a good thing for the Blues."

Lodewyck and Birchler head up CDG Engineers in St. Louis. Both men have a deep passion for local history. They're working on a project that could change the way Blues fans look and think about the team's home ice.

"Frankie and Johnny" is considered one of the first great blues songs. It's based on a murder that happened in St. Louis in 1899. Lodewyck and Birchler flipped through an ancient St. Louis history book and noted that the crime happened on 212 Targee Street.

Frankie Baker shot and killed her two-timing lover, Allen Britt. The story was put to music (Allen's name was changed to Johnny) and it quickly became a hit in saloons and music halls all over the United States. There are hundreds of versions of the song, with recordings from Bob Dylan to Louis Armstrong.

Targee Street no longer exists. So what's there today? Scottrade Center. The home ice of the Blues.

It gets even stranger.

On one of the city street maps Lodewyck and Birchler obtained from 1893, for some reason the draft artist who sketched the map put a giant blue note logo on the land where Scottrade Center is today.

"I think it's fate! I think it was supposed to happen. This is a good thing for the Blues," Birchler says.

Both men are working with the Blues and the City of St. Louis to eventually have a plaque installed somewhere inside Scottrade to inform Blues fans about the different kind of blues history they're standing on.

And, no, Lodewyck and Birchler do not believe in curses.

"No, not all," Birchler says.

"It's the opposite," Lodewyck, a longtime Blues season ticket holder, smiles. "Maybe this discovery will be thing that turns it all around!"


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