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  #61  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2009, 10:17 PM
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I really got to get me a time machine. I'd love to see St. Louis (and many other cities) back in the old days. Though I have a feeling there may be some issues with odor. Sadly, as others have noted, most cities have seen "urban renewal" or special projects destroy much of what our parents/grandparents called home.
Regardless, this is one entertaining thread, pic-wise. Thanks for posting these beauties to all.
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  #62  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2009, 1:52 AM
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Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
Interesting passage. I think it just highlights how different the perspective was circa 1950 - remember that 1950 was before gentrification had entered the popular lexicon and was basically not even considered in the universe of possible outcomes for an older decayed neighborhood. 1950 was also before the effects of urban renewal (slum clearance, etc.) could be fully comprehended. Heck, it was a decade before Jane Jacobs even wrote Death and Life..., which itself was ahead of its time. The past 60 years of experience give us a much different perspective on what politicians and planners confronted at that time.

The lesson to me is the importance of humility - what are planners and politicians missing now that will seem so obvious in 50 years? Confronted with the same knowledge they had (and nothing more), would we have acted differently?
Well, after a little bit of research, I guess we all know now what really happened. In order to receive federal funding to make investment to renew the city, St. Louis had to officially designate the areas as "blighted slums" - even those which were not necessarily slums, but rather high density neighborhoods. Oh yeah, I'm sure it was easy to pass the 33% of those units without private toilets as slums... even I have a hard time imagining so many St. Louis residents having to use communal toilets. Another blog writer said it best that they could have just built covered breezeways from the apartments to the toilet areas, create for those who didn't have, and rebuild the sewage system - kind of like how they did it in Soulard.

But the rest of the destruction? Were they really slums? Or were they prime land that could be cleared for development and enrich the pockets of those in power who wanted to expand development in a land-locked city separated from the county, and who had a hard time raising additional tax revenue that might have come from more outward development had they remained with the county. Plus they could disperse the minority low-income population and attract higher income business. Raising revenue and budgets, and lining the pockets. The skilled worker exodus would simply need high amounts of parking spaces, and they would be lured back in the city to work in the newly created office buildings. I can see how the planners thought that it was all so very logical.

Yes, so very powerful people could persuade the federal government that the areas should be indeed designated as slums - and then receive the billions of dollars (in todays terms) for investment.

It all came down to greed of a few in power- nothing more. I'm such a naive guy to think it could have been anything different. Even with all that money, they couldn't slow the exodus and economic decentralization.

The whole thing is so sad, and nothing really ever changes. What's gonna happen to North St. Louis and McKee? Same thing, except this time much of it is already destroyed - so it's less unethical than what happened in the 50s.

But less unethical is what we've become... not good enough for me.
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  #63  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 3:24 AM
SuburbanNation SuburbanNation is offline
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A few more I have found!

As you can see, St. Louis had a slight issue with smoke. St. Louis was indeed called "Old Smokey," a result of having easy and cheap access to hundreds of billions of tons of southern Illinois high sulfur bituminous coal.


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/24/555_1967.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/17/555_914.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/28/486_396.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/17/555_908.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/1/555_912.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/17/555_911.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/16/485_106.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/10/486_1736.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/28/486_1.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/38/555_901.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/28/486_241.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/32/791_725.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/17/555_905.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/17/555_902.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/17/555_900.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/17/555_899.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/13/718_265.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/30/486_1413.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/21/555_1472.jpg



The next few are of a downtown riverfront Hooverville during the Great Depression

http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/31/548_169.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/31/548_152.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/31/548_149.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/10/548_151.jpg


http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/photos/1/548_154.jpg

Last edited by SuburbanNation; Dec 15, 2009 at 4:37 AM.
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  #64  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 4:45 AM
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And so passed the Vieux Carre of the North.

Seriously, the New Orleans influence is crazily omnipresent.
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  #65  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 9:50 PM
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I say they destroy the arch and rebuild every building that was destroyed. Id take all of that amazing history over a park and an arch any day.
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  #66  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 11:49 PM
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Wow, I had no idea all that was demolished for the arch. Thanks for putting this thread together. Wish I could go back in time.
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  #67  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2009, 2:05 AM
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^^ when the national park service was taking suggestions for the upcoming arch grounds project, i suggested that they recreate as much of the demolished 40 square blocks as possible (knowing, of course, that i was wasting my breath) and posed the question: how does bulldozing 40 square blocks of historic urban structures and replacing them with dead space honor the history of those structures more than preservation? the answer, i think, has to do with money and political egos and nothing to do with honoring anything.
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  #68  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2009, 7:35 PM
palermodude palermodude is offline
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Originally Posted by IWant2BeInSTL View Post
how does bulldozing 40 square blocks of historic urban structures and replacing them with dead space honor the history of those structures more than preservation? the answer, i think, has to do with money and political egos and nothing to do with honoring anything.
Right on brother. You nailed it.
When one studies a detailed history of St. Louis, it's clear: "Mo Money, Please!"
One can say the same thing about natural landscapes as well.
Look at the Florida coast. Sure, some of it has been set aside and preserved, but most of it has been developed with condos.
Or the Miami Urban Development Boundary that keeps getting moved further west, so more developers can build more suburbia and enrich themselves at the expense of an important water ecosystem (where Miami gets much of its water), which incidentally, is being destroyed.

Oh but the look on the face of the girl you brought to your "piece of the pie" penthouse built on former pristine sand dunes with a precious ocean view! Her legs just keep spreading wider and wider for you! So, all the destruction is worth it, if it means we're getting laid!
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  #69  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2009, 8:05 PM
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Originally Posted by palermodude View Post
One can say the same thing about natural landscapes as well.
Look at the Florida coast. Sure, some of it has been set aside and preserved, but most of it has been developed with condos.
Off topic, but funny you should mention that. I'm still in my twenties but I've seen the once beautiful panhandle of Florida change from laid back and quasi rural to disgustingly (suburban, exurban, whatever) since I was a grade school-er. For the record I go camping at Grayton Beach State Park. What a wasted opportunity to preserve that final Florida coast.
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  #70  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2009, 3:07 AM
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i can just picture my grandfather driving his truck there to drop off produce and pick up supplies...

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  #71  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2009, 6:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmourning View Post
And so passed the Vieux Carre of the North.

Seriously, the New Orleans influence is crazily omnipresent.
Well, you guys DO have a Mardi Gras.

I've always viewed St. Louis as what New Orleans would be without the harsh geographical limitations (surrounded by wetlands, zero elevation). Of course, outside of a strip from the French Quarter to the Lower Garden District, New Orleans looks nothing like St. Louis. Brick construction went out of fashion here for almost a century, as big logging outfits cut down cypress forests for hundreds of miles and sold the wood at rock-bottom prices, making brick unaffordable by comparison. The vast majority of New Orleans neighborhoods are populated with these detached wooden structures rather than the brick rowhouses of St. Louis.

But seriously, these pictures are amazing. The posted passage compared it to Dickensian London, and the comparison is extremely apt. St. Louis is really the only place where you can make that comparison, except for maybe Boston's North End and a few streets in Lower Manhattan. I can't imagine what it must have been like to walk around the streets of St. Louis in wintertime, with all the beautiful brick buildings, but also all the grime, vagrants, and criminals as well.
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  #72  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2010, 6:20 PM
palermodude palermodude is offline
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Originally Posted by SuburbanNation View Post
Off topic, but funny you should mention that. I'm still in my twenties but I've seen the once beautiful panhandle of Florida change from laid back and quasi rural to disgustingly (suburban, exurban, whatever) since I was a grade school-er. For the record I go camping at Grayton Beach State Park. What a wasted opportunity to preserve that final Florida coast.
If you think Florida is bad, just go to Italy. Their coast is severely overdeveloped - but it happened decades earlier.

I thought we were supposed to learn from our past!
Oh that's right... greed gets in the way.
It's omnipresent.

If those developers wouldn't be able to make money off of renovating the Washington St. Loft District (in STL), the area would still be abandoned. Do you really believe they do it, because they are preservationists at heart? Or is it because of market demand and tax abatements, which enable some of the projects to be profitable. (I say the latter). Not only that, even if the renovation projects are a bust, money was cheap and credit was easy the past few years, one could take on leverage, pay oneself a handsome salary, and pay out dividends (to oneself) - and THEN risk the rest on a loft renovation project. If you lost, your personal finances would be protected in an LLC.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2010, 6:30 PM
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^I think it's a combination of the factors you mention. There is definitely demand for downtown loft living in St. Louis, as evidenced by the extremely low residential vacancy rate in downtown STL. It is true that Missouri has BY FAR the most progressive historic renovation tax credit program in the country, which has made most of these loft conversions possible. That's a very, very good thing for the city.

St. Louis is definitely not an overbuilt market in terms of housing inventory downtown, which helps keep the city relatively stable in rough economic times. No bubble here.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2010, 6:11 PM
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These threads are all so depressing. It seems like every young American city decided it was better to tear down and rebuild cheaper and uglier... Capitalism at its worst. Sure it created jobs but was it worth the cost?
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2010, 9:30 PM
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Found an aerial photo of downtown before the arch - http://www.builtstlouis.net/opos/ima...alpostcard.jpg

From BuiltStLouis.net - http://www.builtstlouis.net/opos/index2.html
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2010, 6:05 PM
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  #77  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2010, 8:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SuburbanNation View Post
This is an amazing building, Does anyone have any history or know what building that is??

Please contact me!!

Thanks
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  #78  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2010, 9:35 PM
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Wow. I had no idea. I guess I always assumed the arch was built on a marsh, or on reclaimed land (like Battery Park City).

What a loss.
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  #79  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2010, 10:28 PM
IWant2BeInSTL IWant2BeInSTL is offline
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Originally Posted by jerdenart View Post
This is an amazing building, Does anyone have any history or know what building that is??

Please contact me!!

Thanks
jerdenart, that was the McLean Building at 4th and Market. i agree - it's probably one of my all-time favorite saint louis structures. if i could pick one building to recreate out of all that saint louis has lost, this would be the building. here's another photo from the missouri history museum archives:

McLean Building

apparently james henry mclean, the guy who built it, made his money off of magic elixers!

a couple of interesting historical links i found by googling:

http://www.americanheritage.com/arti...63_4_109.shtml

http://www.rdhinstl.com/mm/rs170.htm
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  #80  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2010, 10:35 PM
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I've seen a building very similar to that one maybe in Baltimore or Philly, and it obviously stood out to me because i've seen pictures of that building before.

On another note, if St. Louis can tie together what it has left on the southside of downtown with infill, between the stadium and soulard, all of the trauma of this loss wont be so traumatic. There are enough ancient structures on critical streetcorners to give an idea of the original sense of place.
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