More Devastation East of the Interstate

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Southside and Elsewhere 010

I often tell people that large numbers of people once lived in the areas now east of I-70 and I-55, but that the interstates destroyed their connection to the rest of the city to the west. But what is so interesting is that many of these buildings continued to be occupied, often by people I must say with no disrespect intended, to be a little rough around the edges.

Southside and Elsewhere 008

But certainly it takes a certain level of toughness to live in these forgotten nether regions, once a desirable and short walk to the industry along the river, they became orphans. Technically, these houses were originally part of Old North St. Louis’s original town grid, but that connection is now often forgotten.

Southside and Elsewhere 009

Sadly, even the resilient residents of these houses have moved out now too, and the proverbial dumped tires and devastation follow shortly.

Southside and Elsewhere 011
 

4 Responses

  1. Paul

    06/27/2014, 10:54 am

    Hi Chris,

    I grew up in Belleville in the 1980’s, and my wife grew up in Kirkwood, so we both enjoy your work. It saddens me to see areas fall into disrepair, but as an “architectural geek” I do understand the reasons though, and continue to be fascinated by it all.

    I have one question, in your comments did you mean to say “I must say with no *disrespect* intended,” or is your comment correct and as you intended it?

    Take care,

    Paul Pearson
    Centennial, CO

    Reply
  2. Tim Tryniecki

    10/27/2014, 08:21 pm

    See my response about my grandfather’s AG grocery store at 3619 No. Broadway, posted in the Hyde Park section of this site. His store likely was destroyed by the Interstate.

    I am always bemused, however, by the pejorative and self-righteous tone (see, “cruelly”) of so many posts when discussing virtually everything built after the first generation of immigrant development–as if that didn’t replace something else (native habitat)! And seriously,we all didn’t benefit from an Interstate highway system?

    Nostalgia is fine (see my own in the aforementioned post), but if you want to keep an uneconomic, voluntarily abandoned house so you can drive by once every five years and look at it, or worse, look at pictures of it from the safety of your home, then you better buy it.

    Reply
    • Chris Naffziger

      10/28/2014, 02:46 pm

      I have spoken to actual residents of the areas affected by the construction of the interstate system. Cruelty is in fact the accurate word for what was done to those people.

      The interstate highway system has ripped apart the city of St. Louis. The assumption that cities need interstates to be healthy has disproven by the success of cities such as New York’s Manhattan, Washington, DC, Baltimore and San Francisco where either interstates were not completed or removed.

      I have no interest in aiding the speedy travel of residents from the exurbs of St. Louis to Cardinals games once or twice a year at the expense of whole neighborhoods being devastated. Residents of Old North have told me the interstate ruined their neighborhood. Who am I to dispute that claim?

      Reply

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