June 14, 2011

The Green Monster – Topeka, KS

St. Gregory Apartments, a.k.a. the Green Monster, is a notorious eight-story building in Topeka, so-named for the hideous shade of green it has been painted. I’m sure when the building was first designed someone thought it would be fresh and cheery to have a minty green apartment building in downtown Topeka. But over time, the green tiles that cover the building’s sides have become more of a pus green than mint.

Despite the name and the sickly color of the exterior, it remains in active use. The lobby is the Disability Rights Center of Kansas while the upper floors are apartments. I went to an apartment on the fifth floor once and was immediately horrified by the smells. At one end of the hall, I could smell fried chicken. At the other end of the hall, I could smell something rotting, like a dead body. It was the most disconcerting combination of smells ever. I can understand an apartment hallway that smells like cooking flesh or a hallway that smells like rotting flesh…but both? That suggests nothing good in my mind.

And in all probability, there really could have been a dead body there. The Green Monster has been the site of numerous crimes, including murder. An article on a January 2011 murder in the building was met with anything but surprise and prompted the journalists to recount some of the more notorious past crimes committed there, including multiple murders and the brutal “stomping” that left a man with brain damage in 2007. Some people in Topeka have called for the building to be torn down or at least painted (maybe something about the hideous shade of green inspires some kind of criminal inclination in people nearby?) Maybe the building itself is out to get people. On at least one occasion, a tile fell off the side of the building and landed on a truck in the parking lot below.

I’ve heard the Green Monster wasn’t always a monster, of course. Once it was a popular building where government offices could be run in the lobby while government and political employees could occupy the suites on the upper floors. But something happened. Maybe it was when the shade of green began to shift from sweet to sickly. Maybe it was one when the tiles started to fall off the siding and crush the cars below. Maybe it was the smell. I don’t know. But the Green Monster continues to stand, inspiring confusion and maybe a little fear in the people of Topeka.

Total Time Traveled: 1 hour
Total Distance Traveled: 55 miles
Soundtrack: "Sainthood" Tegan and Sara

Photo Source


1 comment:

  1. It is my understanding there was a time that an Order of Catholic Nuns owned and operated this apartment building and that during that period is was a good place to live for low income older people in the downtown area, given proper maintenance and cleaning. But that seems to have ended.