Chesterfield Commons

Copyright St. Louis Patina -2813

I was stranded for six hours in the bane of my existence, Chesterfield Commons, while my car was having some installation work done at Best Buy. Those subwoofers that I always wanted are now fully installed, and prepared to annoy everyone in a four mile radius. I took the opportunity to photograph what has been described as the longest strip mall, or “lifestyle center” as they now call them now, on the planet.

Supposedly the parking lot is the largest in the world as well, though I have to say I think the Indianapolis 500 probably has a larger parking lot, or even the Pentagon or Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey. Regardless, it is disgusting to behold, in all its blacktop banal glory.

The car is king–no emperor–out here in Chesterfield, as illustrated above in the tiny right of way for pedestrians in front of Sam’s Club. Below is one of the most dangerous intersections in the metropolitan area not just for pedestrians but for motorists. I literally had to run across this street to avoid getting hit. “Pedestrian” is code word in Chesterfield for “poor” and much like the Marquis de Evremonde from Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, people don’t break for poor people out here. “Pedestrian” is also codeword for “non-white” out this way.

Below is one of those megaplex movie theaters, you know, the one no one really likes going to because of the interminable long lines and overpriced concessions. Remember the neighborhood movie? Oh, that’s right, they’re going the way of the dodo.

This picture cracks me up; no one actually rides their bike out here–it would be suicide. I suppose they’re attempting to harken back to the Leave It To Beaver days when children could actually safely bike somewhere. I could have sworn these were red a few months ago.

Below is a fountain that no one can enjoy, let alone visit, because there really isn’t any safe way to get there on foot. Likewise, people are too busy avoiding crashes on the roads to look at them anyway.



Above is what I really hate about the Chesterfield Valley–pseudo-historicist architecture. The name of the restaurant doesn’t really matter; certainly it is mass produced and served to people in troughs like cattle. The whole complex is literally surrounded by a moat; Chesterfield Valley, also known as Gumbo Flats, is a flood plain of course, and is marshy most of the year. I like the implications of the fortress mentality that these uncrossable drainage canals convey.




Below I caught a vehicle rolling the stop sign, oblivious to the possibility that someone might actually be using it. Not that anyone ever does, though.


More crappy, pseudo-historicist architecture masquerading as French Provencal cottages.


The worst part about this gargantuan development is that it was built way too quickly and way too cheaply. In twenty years, these buildings will be in awful, rundown condition. Already, the signs of over-expansion are showing in this row of crappy, dollar store and thrift stores. I thought this was ritzy Chesterfield!?

The best part about it is that you, the America taxpayer, get to pay for its rebuilding in ten or fifteen years when it floods again like it did in 1993! And now that I think about it, that’s rather convenient, isn’t it? Build structures that will only last until the next deluge, and then build brand new ones with federal handouts? Brilliant!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. brian says:

    What a hideous place to call home…

  2. Jim says:

    I enjoyed eating at the restaurant about half-way down. It is the only place that I know of where I can get fried chicken feet.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Gumbo Flats/Monarch Bottoms explosive development irks me as well. Just a couple of weeks ago, an agricultural levee broke nearby, sending archery deer hunters scrambling for safety. I am only 29 y.o. and live two hours away, but I can remember when just about the only things in this area were farms and the airport. The massive development in this area after 1993 should have never been allowed. But it sure did line someone’s pocketbooks.

  4. brian says:

    Hmmm…who could that have been? One of America’s wealthiest families…no, surely not?

  5. Nick says:

    I call it Chesterfield Valley and I enjoy shopping there. You can find just about everything you need in one place. I didn’t konw it was one of the largest of it’s type. Very interesting.

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