I had the opportunity to explore more of Covington, Kentucky, which is directly across the Roebling Bridge from Cincinnati.
There is a stunning quarter of houses built around and after the Civil War to the northeast of the approaches to the bridge, with houses in various styles. You can walk or bike to your office job in a skyscraper in downtown Cincinnati from these houses.
I suspect these mansions were cut up into boarding houses for decades, and that this area was not desirable for a long time, prone to flooding from the Ohio River which is only steps away.
Moving uptown, the city is recovering from demolition for parking lots that has ruined the urban character of what is now a thriving downtown.
Of course, even this city cannot escape the stupidity of the paired one-way streets that ruin the quality of life as cars fly down the unobstructed raceways.
The Italianate architecture in this town is just amazing.
This looks like a former firehouse, adapted for a new use.
And this looks like a former funeral home.
The star of the western edge of downtown is the Mother of God Roman Catholic Church, which offers an interesting counterpoint to the Gothic Revival cathedral on the other side of town.
There was a church service going on so I did not go inside, but you can see photos of the interior here.
So why bother look at Covington or Cincinnati? I often hear civic leaders in St. Louis whine and complain about how companies are moving out of downtown. Why wouldn’t they? Everyone in St. Louis is moving further and further west, and thus the demographic center of the region is moving west as well, further and further from downtown St. Louis. If I were a CEO, I would logically want to have my corporate headquarters as close as possible to that geographic center, in a place, say like Clayton or along Highway 40. I remember when I was young in the 1980s how badly the traffic used to back up on the Poplar Street Bridge in the mornings and evenings. Did you know it doesn’t any more? I wonder why… The bridges across the Ohio River back up horribly in the mornings and evenings–which is a good thing because it means your city isn’t dead.
The solution to getting more business in downtown St. Louis is to move that demographic center of the region to move back east, which quite frankly is not happening right now. Maybe, just maybe if we were to get more people to move to the Metro East, particularly into the inner ring of old industrial suburbs “down the hill” as they say, so there’s people who are close to downtown St. Louis, making it close to where people live again. Otherwise, expect more companies to leave, following their workers, just like how stores left, following their customers fifty years ago.