Carrollton, Bridgeton

Update: All of the houses are demolished now, and the streets are blocked off to prevent access to the neighborhood with the exception of a City of Bridgeton park. I revisited the area in November of 2022.

A couple of Sundays ago I headed out to the Carrollton subdivision in the northwest St. Louis County suburb of Bridgeton. Alerted by a Post-Dispatch article, I knew I had to examine and photograph one of the great tragedies resulting from the expanded Lambert Airport.

Bought out by the City of St. Louis for noise abatement, the subdivision has been targeted by arsonists as the houses sit, waiting to be demolished.

What is left is an absolutely surreal landscape; trees delineate where houses once stood, and the remnants of crumbling concrete streets dominate the landscape.

Apparently the area is the playground for local teens looking for a place to party and engage in a little “harmless vandalism.”

It certainly is what is called an attractive nuisance: an area that seems perfect for bored suburban teenagers looking for something to do, however delinquent, instead of ending up at Steak and Shake for the fiftieth weekend in a row.

The presence of asbestos has apparently slowed the pace of demolition, which is where the arsonist(s) come into play. I call them “guilt-free arsonists,” individuals who somehow think it is less immoral to burn down buildings that are under construction or abandoned. Never mind that there is always the risk of someone getting hurt in any uncontrolled fire, however remote.

A former resident has been documenting the demise of her beloved subdivision at 56 Houses Left. This website can imbue the sense of loss that the residents are feeling as they watch their neighborhood disintegrate, much in the same manner as St. Louis Place or JeffVanderLou. Failed government policies lead to yet another devastated neighborhood.

Of all the exploration around the “bad parts of town” in the St. Louis metropolitan area, I can admit that this was the first time I really felt scared. This area is desolate; it’s sort of one of those areas where if something happened to you, no one would be around to come to your aid.

That said, it is still worth a visit just to see the decline and destruction of a whole community.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    When I moved from there almost two years ago, I was the last person left on my street. What was done to a once beautiful community is a crime. Thanks for posting the pictures.

  2. James says:

    I think you'll find my related story interesting;

    1. Holly says:

      I read it after watching Atomic Homefront. I grew up in Carrollton Apartments and walked to Carrollton Oaks Elementary every day. It was a wonderful place to grow up!! I’ve gone back since and it is so sad to see everything gone!! Knowing what we do now, I am sure the buyout had more to do with covering up the radioactive waste than the airport. Unbelievable to think that we were exposed to that long-term without ever knowing! Thanks for the article, it was a great read!

      1. Chris Naffziger says:

        Thank you for sharing, Holly!

  3. Hello! I’ve been following your website for a
    while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from
    Porter Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic

  4. Effie b says:

    My grandparents lived at the corner of woodford way and phelps drive. It’s so sad to look at these photos.

    1. whitney says:

      I grew up on Phelps…broke my heart when I drove through the area last weekend. I had no idea it was lost.

  5. Cheryl dean says:

    My dad James dean ran for alderman for the city of Bridgeton the city of Bridgeton was actually bought off by the fish are in for a chill they knew that this property was slated for future airport expansion some say it may be in contaminated with radioactive waste I dont know about that I know there was radioactive waste at the airport but I do know that fish are in fragile bought off the city and those houses should never be built in the city abortion should be sued because my dad James dean showed me a map of future airport expansion and when that land is slated for future airport expansion it should never be built on for subdivision and residential uses but they didnt care they only cared about making money and the destruction of the lives that ensued and the Destruction of our childhood memories in history or for every raised there in our mind but theyre not there theyre not actually there when you drive through the area it looks like a bunch of streets just running through land with trees no homes its really eerie to drive through and look at that

  6. Cheryl dean says:

    The above comment was meant to say Fisher and Fritchell and the city of Bridgeton
    Sorry text editor is messed up on the speaking part

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