Category Archives: Surrounding Region

Lincoln Trail, St. Clair County, Illinois

The so-called Lincoln Trail is no longer a trail, but more akin to your standard strip mall artery. I saw traces of interesting roadside motels and drive-ups, but like so much of America, it’s all just sort of looking the same now. I probably could have labeled this Manchester Road, and a lot of people couldn’t have told the difference. Is this what we want America to become?

St. Clair Square, Fairview Heights, Illinois

I’d never been over to St. Clair Square Mall, and I wanted to view this important component of sprawl out of East St. Louis in the 1960’s. The old Famous Barr dome brings back memories of the now lost West County Mall counterpart, though I found the latter more elegant.

Brutalism abounds, as can be seen in the JC Penny, which in its shear size and massive bulkiness almost pulls off a certain level of beauty.

I like the clean shadows and lines cast by the corner of the department store as well.

The Sears continues the trend, as well. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this mall was how it had seemed to completely weather the economic storm that has closed so many other malls built at the same time on the Missouri side. Renovated recently, the mall, much like West County and South County Malls, seems to have been judged by the shopping center gods as healthy, and will not be a victim of triage as other malls have seem to fallen victim.

River Bottoms, St. Charles County

Some parts of the metropolitan region will never be developed hopefully. I had spotted this swath of river bottom north of the Missouri River from Google Maps in the past, and last weekend we drove out and took a look around.Despite having hundreds of thousands of people living around this river bottom, you’d think you’re out in the country considering how isolated it is. I hope it stays this way, since river bottoms inevitably flood, so agriculture is the best use of the land.