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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2008, 4:01 AM
SuburbanNation SuburbanNation is offline
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st. louis - the riverfront before the arch

This thread is about st. louis antebellum riverfront - bounded roughly by the eads bridge on the north, poplar street bridge on the south, 4th street on the west, and the mississippi river on the east - prior to the construction the jefferson national expansion memorial. 40 square blocks of heavy antebellum and victorian urbanity were demolished for the creation of the memorial. I'll add to this.


http://www.shorpy.com/files/images/8..._0.preview.jpg


http://www.shorpy.com/files/images/8..._0.preview.jpg


http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/levee.JPG

Last edited by SuburbanNation; Dec 20, 2008 at 12:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2008, 1:54 AM
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during demolition for the arch grounds.
"Third and Chestnut Streets, March 1, 1940"


http://www.landmarks-stl.org/images/...s/oldrock2.jpg
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2008, 2:34 AM
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The Arch is very cool, but I can't believe the sheer scale of what they leveled to make way for it.
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  #4  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2008, 10:06 PM
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Who'd have thunk it. Was this an example of slum clearing?
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  #5  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2008, 12:21 AM
SuburbanNation SuburbanNation is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brickell View Post
Who'd have thunk it. Was this an example of slum clearing?
no, it was however an underused warehouse/low rent district. the city fathers deemed that this underutilized 40 blocks presented an opportunity for a museum/monument to western expansion-something that had been mulled for many years before.

http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s...and/scan-2.jpg


http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/m...s/099211pr.jpg


http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s...nd/stlouis.jpg

you can see in this 1875 sketch the old rock house, built in 1818 as a fur trading post - before the mansard roof addition, at the levee and chestnut.


http://www.landmarks-stl.org/images/...ts/oldrock.jpg

heres the old rock house as the oldest neighborhood in st. louis is brought down around it. it was the first one in, and the last one out. its a matter of controversy that this particular structure was brought down. Built in 1818 by Manuel Lisa who came up river from a Spanish New Orleans family, it was built as a fur warehouse. Throughout the 19th and 20th century it was a variety of things, from a sailmakers shop to a speakeasy and at one time it belonged to James Clemens, Jr., Mark Twains cousin. It was supposed to become a fur trade museum, but was eventually demolished and never rebuilt under dubious circumstances.

http://www.landmarks-stl.org/archite...is_riverfront/

Last edited by SuburbanNation; Dec 21, 2008 at 7:19 AM.
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  #7  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2008, 8:05 AM
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Incredibly beautiful area, and, accordingly, very sad to view from the present. As cool as the Arch is, and as much as it distinguished St. Louis for the better, it's hard for me to think that all of the destruction that made way for it was worth it. Well, that's hind-sight for you, and you know what "they" say...

I wonder, though, if they used the building of the Arch as an excuse to proceed with such large-scale destruction of an existing urban environment; the implicit intentions would probably tell an interesting story. I know one thing, though: if that area were still intact today with the Arch framing all of its dense, urban glory...
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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2008, 2:28 PM
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Sad, sad thread. Here's a picture of present-day Laclede's Landing, the last remaining vestige of the historic riverfront district. Lacelede's Landing is sandwiched between the Eads and Martin Luther King bridges, and is the only remaining section of the original French settlement of Saint Louis:

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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2008, 4:26 PM
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Kind of off topic - the CBD - but The Railway Exchange Building just looks ridiculous in its scale in all of these pre modern skyscraper pictures...like the borg sat down in the middle of downtown. That is this massive cube poking above everything in all the pictures after 1914. Fortunately its still standing.


http://www.builtstlouis.net/opos/ima...ange-color.jpg
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  #10  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2008, 11:09 PM
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Ugh
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2008, 4:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STLgasm View Post
Sad, sad thread. Here's a picture of present-day Laclede's Landing, the last remaining vestige of the historic riverfront district. Lacelede's Landing is sandwiched between the Eads and Martin Luther King bridges, and is the only remaining section of the original French settlement of Saint Louis:

no buildings front leonor k sullivan anymore, however. i really like the combination of the elevated tracks and the levee, i hope we get some storefronts/cafes facing the river again on the landing. in fact the landing needs a partial overhaul...i've only been down there twice in two years (mississippi nights was the reason i ever even went down there). it needs residential and density.

Last edited by SuburbanNation; Dec 21, 2008 at 4:41 AM.
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2008, 5:00 AM
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http://www.stlouistimeportal.com/ima...al_stlouis.jpg

Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, formed in 1770 under the Spanish crown by the French speaking subjects of St. Louis. The current structure - the sole survivor of this otherwise completely demolished area - was constructed 1831-34. I'm struggling to find other images of this church in its historic urban walking city context.


http://www.thecommonspace.org/2003/03/pict/eye/five.jpg


http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s...kland/cath.jpg


http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/fsa/8a0600...0/8a06299r.jpg


http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/fsa/8a0600...0/8a06301r.jpg


http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/m...s/098410pr.jpg


http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/m...s/098411pr.jpg

Last edited by SuburbanNation; Dec 21, 2008 at 7:15 AM.
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  #13  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2008, 5:20 AM
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http://www.mssdar.org/fortsancarlos/images/battle.jpg

heres an engaving of the area during the revolutionary war - when, according to various sources - st. louis was assaulted by british and indian troops. it was the only battle of the revolutionary war west of the mississippi.


http://www.nps.gov/archive/jeff/lewi...ock100Plan.jpg

"The successful if costly defense of St. Louis prevented the British from obtaining control of the Mississippi River Valley. The St. Louis battle was fought by the predominantly French citizens under a Spanish governor and a small number of Spanish troops, African-American slaves, and a smattering of American settlers."

http://www.nps.gov/archive/jeff/lewi...Battle1780.htm
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  #16  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2008, 10:09 AM
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This reminds me so much of everything that was taken out on Detroit's riverfront to make way for Hart Plaza, the RenCen, and Cobo Hall. It's funny, though, because when they knocked down Detroit historic wharf district, they actually found pieces of the original town under that. lol

BTW, I've always loved the Railway Exchange Building for its sheer dominance of downtown. It's so ridiculously out of scale that it's charming. How many hundreds-of-thousands of square feet is it, and what's it used for, today?
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  #17  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2008, 3:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMich View Post
This reminds me so much of everything that was taken out on Detroit's riverfront to make way for Hart Plaza, the RenCen, and Cobo Hall. It's funny, though, because when they knocked down Detroit historic wharf district, they actually found pieces of the original town under that. lol

BTW, I've always loved the Railway Exchange Building for its sheer dominance of downtown. It's so ridiculously out of scale that it's charming. How many hundreds-of-thousands of square feet is it, and what's it used for, today?
Theres a Macys on the first 6 floors or so...it was our own much superior Famous Barr until 2006 (until Macys came in and took over), I feel like Macys is going to can our downtown store at any time ...I have no idea what is in the other 15 stories or so...its 1,200,000 square feet! I've heard that it was the largest office building in the world when it opened, but I've never been factually convinced of that.


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/54/19...ab440e.jpg?v=0
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  #18  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2009, 9:53 PM
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This is an excellent thread.
A rare glimpse at the northern 'vieux carre'.
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  #19  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2009, 11:22 PM
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I think the downtown Macy's store looks better now and has done so much more with the store than Famous ever did with it.

As for this district being torn down... it is ashame, but it also flooded every year in the spring and fires broke out often here in the early years. When the arch was built it was also for flood control - the park was designed to be a new flood retaining wall as well - which protected the main business district and streets of the city - and it does so yet today.
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  #20  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2009, 4:23 AM
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Oh dear.

Tragic, but great thread.
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