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Touring the Northside

It’s always interesting to take someone up to the North Side inside Grand for the first time; last week, I took my friend Jeff, in from China, up around some of my favorite neighborhoods. The desolation, and houses decimated by brick theft, were shocking to Jeff.

I’d always been intrigued by this small, wood frame building, sitting as the last remaining structure on the block just west of St. Augustine. Why this building survived, and nothing else, is one of the great mysteries of this section of St. Louis Place. You can see it in the midst of other outbuildings in the Sanborn map below.

“What happened to that house?!” was Jeff’s first reaction to this brick-rustled house nearby.

But all is not lost, as these two houses below illustrate, up at the top of the hill near the water towers.

The house above was abandoned until it was rehabbed a few years ago. The house below is well maintained, and shows that someone still cares on this block.

Further on up, near O’Fallon Park, the streets are lined with numerous, beautiful houses, well maintained and anchoring this corner of the Northside. If only this level of care could spread further from this area, the entire Northside would be a stunning place to live.

It’s always fun to show people what the north half of the city is really like, good and bad, and I had a great day showing Jeff around the Northside.

3 Comments

  1. As a former resident of this neighborhood who often visits residing family there, I don’t understand how one finds joy in urban decay. My neighborhood is not your pet project.

    • I do not visit North St. Louis for tourism or entertainment. In addition to photographing the architectural wealth of North St. Louis, I get out of my car, walk around for miles on the streets and talk to the residents of these often misunderstood neighborhoods.. Yes, it is “fun” to get to know the African Americans who live in North St. Louis, and I have built many meaningful and lasting friendships with many of the residents of the neighborhoods abandoned by hundreds of thousands of white St. Louisans in the mid to late Twentieth Century. With all due respect, I feel sorry for people who cannot look past the abandoned buildings and see the humanity of the people still living in North St. Louis.

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