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Jefferson Avenue at Interstate 44

Here we go again; more crumbling infrastructure has to be torn down and replaced; in Baby Boomers’ lifetimes we are now going on the third bridge in some parts of St. Louis, such as the Grand Viaduct. Interstate 44 has caused irreparable damage to South St. Louis; the Barr Branch of the St. Louis Public Library is just to the north of the interchange, and it is impossible for any pedestrian, ie children, to access the building from the south without risking their life. It is like a death strip for anyone who cannot break into a run at a moment’s notice to dodge a car hurtling towards them, the laws of right-of-way for pedestrians be damned. I’ve touched on how horrible the pedestrian experience has become in this post from way back and in my St. Louis Magazine article last week.

J. Edwin Roesch, Tornado, 1896, Jefferson Avenue Looking East Down Lafayette Avenue, Missouri History Museum, N20376

This area has been battered before; the infamous 1896 Cyclone destroyed buildings that were never replaced. By the way, if you look closely all the way down the block on the left, you can see the original–and damaged–roof of the future and now former McLaughlin Funeral Home building. Or look below, in what is now called the Gate District, we see the buildings that are now replaced by a parking lot for what would become the Food Lion, itself now replaced by redevelopment.

Richard Gruss, South Jefferson at Eads Avenue, early 20th Century, Missouri History Museum, N40340

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