Embarrassing Blight on One of the Most Important Thoroughfares in St. Louis

Update: The last public housing tower was demolished in 2015.

Imagine, instead of the Church’s Chicken, stately mansions once sitting on this exact stretch of North Grand just blocks from Powell Hall. Luckily, some of those houses still exist, but sadly, they sit in a state of decay. In the background, the last vestige of Twentieth Century St. Louis’s failed housing projects, the Blumeyer Homes, possesses the last Modernist high rise built for the Housing Authority.

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Update: This house was demolished in November of 2013.

Take this house, for example; its various colors of brick tell a fascinating story. While there was obviously once a residence here, at some point in what I suspect the 1920’s, it acquired a one story storefront facing Grand. If I remember correctly, this was a funeral home until only a year or so ago, and perhaps that use precipitated the expansion. This was the period when Grand Center had changed from a tony residential quarter to a bustling and sometimes a little run-down commercial district. I would imagine that the hearses passed through the arch on the left side of the façade. Eventually, a silly Colonial Revival front was added, and the front wall of the expansion received another story.? It now sits vacant and trashed, with abandoned and probably stolen vehicles sitting in its parking lot only a block or two away from Powell Hall.

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Update: The house below has seen extensive rehabbing.

This beauty, below, was for sale for only $24,000 a couple of years ago; its sits across from St. Alphonsus Rock Church. Slathered with white paint, it would easily go for a million dollars in the right neighborhood of St. Louis. There is a certain irony to that.

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On the side streets, many of the houses still stand, though they are not in the best condition. I do not fathom why an area so close to a dozen cultural attractions is so undesirable.

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At least the Rock Church is still standing proud, and even restored since a fire a few years back. But I must admit to a certain disillusionment with the leadership of this institution and others in Grand Center, such as the St. Louis Symphony. Simply being a small island of stability, beauty and cultural or religious significance is no longer good enough for me. These institutions must start allowing sediment to accumulate on their shores, allowing their islands to grow. Simply hiring private security to keep out the neighborhood is not a solution, and morally untenable. Oceans of blacktop are ridiculous, and embarrassing. The institutions of Grand Center must start working harder to bring a real, urban neighborhood to Grand Center. I can see how this could easily happen in an isolated corner of the city, but a dumping ground for old, or possibly stolen, cars existing two blocks from Powell Hall is just kind of pathetic.

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38 Comments Add yours

  1. Bryon says:

    St. Louis never caught people’s imagination. There is nothing about it, other than some quaint French inspired architectural decoration, that even sets it apart from Memphis. It sits surrounded by the nation’s two largest rivers and yet unlike Chicago or Detroit you don’t see sailboats on its waters. At best you may find a few disparaged persons fishing under a bridge and that bridge will never be compared to a bridge like the Golden Gate in beauty, scale or traffic levels.

    This is a city of necessity. The Civil War and Great Depression brought desperate people in by the droves. Very few ever said “I think I’ll retire and move to St. Louis”. It is a work camp not a retirement mecca, business center, Vegas style playground for the rich, cultural icon or storehouse of any past glories like Boston or Philadelphia. Sure some tried and there are tiny little areas of one or two blocks where a rich industrial corporate endowment landed and built a Fox Theater or a Powell Hall but that is it. As Eddy Murphy said “Sprinkles. It’s just sprinkles” in describing how, as a child, he would eat an ice cream cone even after it had fallen in a pile of $#!t. That, to me, describes most of those hanging around saying “We can fix it! We can fix it!”.

    Case in point… two days ago Michael Allen’s response to the home gutted in Lafayette was “Historic tax credits can help with the rebuilding”. What alternative universe does he reside in? The same one that most everyone else here resides in. The one that says even though there are fewer people here who are making fewer dollars… tax money is still our ticket out. That particular home was occupied part time by an elderly couple whose children have all moved away. They are not likely to spend their last few years overseeing the renovation of a home blighted all along its east side by the Peabody housing project that guarantees its value will hover just below ridiculous.

    The examples you’ve given above are perfect and I honestly appreciate your efforts in documenting them. However, they speak to a truth about St. Louis that most are either comfortable with or are paid to ignore. It’s the truth that there is no money here. Sure a few blocks that cling to the north side of Forest Park still have gated communities full of Jewish people who are rolling in $’s from incomes on Barnes, law offices, realty/management outfits or private investments but where else? Is there anyone downtown who has millions and is just sitting around waiting for the right time to give the city a face lift? No.

    The only people remaining here who have enough money to do anything with are busy buying hundreds of properties for pennies, through shill entities, in an effort to build a moat around their islands. Do I blame them? No. What they are doing makes perfect sense. All of those blocks for a mile north of Delmar and from Grand 2+ miles to the west are a wasteland that the police can’t even secure… their only option is to make that area uninhabitable. So the blight we see there is not due to lack of interest, no, there is plenty of interest – interest to see it scraped clean. There is no way in #ell investors are going to dump the funds to attract more entertainment seekers to an area notorious for street walkers, pan handlers, muggings and murder.

    The only hope St. Louis ever had was industry. Sadly, the lion’s share of that is gone and it doesn’t look like it is ever coming back. The city needs to re-envision itself. There needs to be a new purpose for it because the old purpose is gone. 100 years ago to have a large business you needed access to printing operations, shipping, efficient public transportation and easy access to residential properties for your workers and downtowns were the only places that offered those. Those days are over. Anyone can print anything anywhere. There are dozens of shipping co’s that will pick up / drop off anything anywhere. People have their own transport and can live 50 miles away from work. Downtowns have no purpose anymore!

    This http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylDubzxSB7w is doable and would give the city a purpose again. It would create jobs and produce an actual product. More importantly it would inspire those who remain here as well as those across the country and around the world who are looking for something with meaning, to move here and be a *part* of something instead of St. Louis just hanging onto the revolving door of ushering in college kids to blow through their credit and their parent’s nest eggs dropping $’s into dive bars and trendy resale shops. Vertical gardening is the future. 90% less water, 100% less soil erosion, 0 runoff, 0 fertilizers (fertilizers being the main source of cancer causing radioisotopes), 0 insecticides, nearly 0 shipping/transport and a major dent put in the importing of fruits/produce from Mexico or Brazil. I see no reason that the city itself could not run such a business even if it had to put it under the parks and recreation umbrella. At the very least it could endorse it and shop it around.

    Salvaging old buildings is a noble cause but it is not going to happen by clicking our heels or hoping that more server farms or a few Co’s in Creve Coeur bring in enough new people with big $’s that have any sympathy with our home cooked nostalgia or more coffee shops accepting credit card payments on their iPhones. $#!t needs to start getting real and that has to begin with our acceptance of the realities we face. St. Louis needs a new game.

    1. Sue Castro says:

      Wow. I agree with almost all of your comments, Bryon. St. Louis is number two in crime, major industry is no longer in the city, and there aren’t enough moneyed people interested in reviving the city, even if they knew how to do that.

      I grew up there, spend the 60s and early 70s in the suburbs, but my father loved the city and would take me on weekly drives through many of the places this site captures on film. My grandmother lived in Wellston, she lived in the same house from 1910 until she died in 1971. Then my uncle moved into it until the mid 1980s. The house still stands on Plymouth Avenue, up from Wagner Electric. The tavern on the corner is gone, as is the name of the cross street, Delaware, replaced by some name I am not familiar with. That town is so blighted even the high school closed. It was horrible even back then. There is no hope for it, and there is most likely no hope for the rest of St. Louis, save the few places you mentioned.

      But there is always a nostalgia for your hometown. That is what the purveyor of this site conveys through his photo’s. No need to go on a tirade about it, is what I’m saying.

      1. samizdat says:

        Wow…just, wow. The ignorance here too astonishing to comprehend.

        Vertical gardening? The proposals I’ve seen involve constructing massive skyscrapers to house the ‘fields’, an expensive proposition at best. And the society you envision (which admittedly exists at least in part) in which we transport everything from one place to another is one which is unsustainable. We are already seeing its demise in the increasingly dicey manner in which energy is extracted from the ground: MTR coal mining, fracking, tar sands and shale oil development, these are all efforts which are indicative of desperation on the part of the various companies involved in the extractive processes.

        Damn, the mindless negativity (and misinformation worthy of PRAVDA)–second in criminal stats, work camp, lack of culture, paucity of human decency–is tragic, and so mind-numbingly inaccurate as to give me a headache. Certainly, this City has numerous challenges, many of which you state with a bitterness worthy of an insanely hoppy IPA, but none are insurmountable, and there are many people who are working to fix them. (In our own small way, including myself and my wife) It’s obvious, you and Ms. Castro have given up, and that’s sad. But others have not, and there efforts are bearing fruit every day. If you choose not to see that progress, then I can’t help you, and neither can anyone else.

        Enjoy your Labor Day weekend. I’m going to go take some ibuprofen and cut my postage stamp-sized front lawn. Then I’m going to go to Soulard Market and see not-culture, and see not-people, and interact with not-humans, all the while hearing at least half-a-dozen different not-languages in the process. Crap, and I thought I was negative. Truly, I pity you both.

        1. Sue Castro says:

          Oh, I left St. Louis in 1972. I go back sometimes. Once when I was staying at the Laclede’s Landing Embassy suites, when it was still there, the guy checking in had his car stolen from IN FRONT OF THE DOOR! In less than 5 minutes, one of the reasons St. Louis has such a high crime rate stole this poor schlepps car. That’s why I would NEVER live in St. Louis. Good for you all who choose to, but you are few and far between.

          1. samizdat says:

            My apologies, Ms. Castro, for the bulk of my comments were meant for Bryon. As for the stolen car, well, in many cases, even if the keys were not in the ignition, the blame can be placed at least partially on the automakers. Remember the Saginaw steering column in GM cars? Nowadays, the Chrysler and Honda products are notoriously easy to jack.

            I am coming to the conclusion that the REAL reason people leave the City is not high crime rates (though that admittedly may be a factor), but the infuriatingly commonplace nuisance crimes and situations. See Toby Weiss and the latest post on B.E.L.T. for some insight into this. http://www.beltstl.com/2013/08/south-st-louis-breakdown/

            I have had my own experiences with these nuisance issues, and believe you me, they lead the pack over serious criminal acts as a reason I would even consider leaving the City. (I live in Dutchtown, BTW)

          2. Chris Naffziger says:

            Indeed, people of low moral, but not necessarily criminal immorality, is what is really destroying the city. The police do not care.

    2. m.c. says:

      Trade is the purpose St. Louis had and always will have. It was built as a trading post and it must continue to use the two rivers it sits on for its trading advantage. It must become a great port.

  2. Imran says:

    ‘St. Louis never caught peoples imagination’

    This is where you lost me.

  3. m.c. says:

    Eco laboratory will definitely be a game changer for St. Louis.

    But also, when you look at Europe’s most beautiful cities, like Bruges for example, they were actually very poor for a very long time. They couldn’t build anything new and so their buildings stayed the same since the middle ages or thereabouts. St. Louis must preserve its architectural heritage because one day it could be a tourist mecca for the United States. The more and more St. Louis creates atmosphere by its architecture, the more it will be better off in the future.

  4. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

    Gee, Bryon – are there no Gentiles who live North of Forest Park on those swell private streets?
    You wrote an interesting letter, espousing your view, whether I (or others) agree with it – but then you spoiled it with the ethnic rant; for shame.

  5. Andrew says:

    I have to say that the opinions expressed in this blog are usually diametrically opposed to my own. I tend to like the things the author regularly deplores, but first a little background for the sake of perspective.

    My grandfather parked cars at Sportsman’s Park and attended some classes at Harris Teachers College. My grandmother also lived in the city, but when they returned after my grandfather’s stint in the military he got a job in West County and they moved to unincorporated South County near Gravois and Tesson Ferry. Then they moved to unincorporated (still) West County where my grandmother still lives in the same ranch house they bought unfinished in 1966 – when there was no 141, Chesterfield, or Chesterfield Valley. Northwest Plaza was apparently a swinging place though.

    That entire side of my family grew up in the County. I didn’t grow up in St. Louis myself, but did go to college (commuted in from Maryland Heights) and got a job outside the city.

    My point is that, to me, the real St. Louis is St. Louis County, especially West County. It’s where I want to be and where I think the life is. And when you look at the big businesses, they seem to agree. Boeing is clustered, understandably, around the airport; Edward Jones is split between Maryland Heights and Des Peres. Scottrade is across the road in Des Peres. Enterprise Rent-a-Car is in Clayton and Monsanto resides in Creve Coeur. I like driving down Lindell as much as anybody, but I’d never want to live there or own one of those houses. My dream life would be a McMansion in Town and Country or a condo in Clayton. I quite enjoy windy roads lined with trees, shielding homes on acre plus lots, leading to multi-lane thoroughfares nearby. I think that some of the best of the city, and I suppose by extension the country, is represented by sprawling office parks, even more sprawling shopping centers with acres of parking, and private schools with Astroturf fields.

    I was actually mostly serious when I was telling a friend that St. Louis is the only place where one of the wealthiest zip codes in the state would have to debate the legality of shooting squirrels in one’s yard. You don’t see that in Beverly Hills or Wilmette.

    It’s certainly no coincidence that the only part of Chesterfield the St. Louis Patina author seems to like at all is a stone’s throw from a trailer park. Documenting the past is a noble goal, but trying to shoehorn the past into the future is often a fool’s errand. I think that more and more, the heart of St. Louis isn’t really in St. Louis, but I also think that it isn’t a bad thing at all.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      How many history books have been written about West County? How many have been written about St. Louis City? Part of being an historian is rejecting one’s own personal bias–I grew up in West County, but to claim what was a poor, rural farming community for most of the last two hundred years is greater than the City of St. Louis, which has been a cultural hub for over two centuries, is ridiculous. What will be remembered in two hundred years? Cheaply built suburbia in West County, or the buildings of Soulard?

      You’re free to start your own blog glorifying the cultural, economic and political powerhouse you claim West County to be.

      1. ppagano says:

        That blog would run out of worthwhile topics to after 3 posts.

      2. Andrew says:

        Any history book about West County would be awful short, because there isn’t much history there. At least, not a long history. But the newness is the attraction. Carving a metropolis out of nothing is the appeal of it. Going from nothing to the sprawling landscape of business and housing it is today is quite something.

        History is great, but at some point you have to let history be history and let the future be the future. Do you want to celebrate two hundred years as a cultural hub or do you want to create your own culture? Do you want to admire someone else’s architecture or are you going to make some of your own? For what it’s worth, the two are very rarely mutually exclusive.

        And as far as being cheaply built, that’s a question of technology. I’m sure many builders a century or more ago would have killed to have the prefabricated and advanced building materials we have today.

        Furthermore, the old stuff used to be new too. I highly doubt that anyone ever actually set out to construct a historic building – they just set out to construct a building to serve whatever purpose they had in mind. And even if they do, whether or not it will actually take and be considered historic is a crap shoot. Some examples of fifties’ architecture is considered kitschy, dated, and over the top while others are considered space age wonders worthy of preservation. Which is which can’t always be seen with the naked eye.

        Who knows what people will remember in a century or two. For example, the famous Hollywood sign started out as a cheap billboard. What bits and pieces people latch on to and believe to be important is not always in line with what the people who built it thought. It isn’t like their aren’t people who love ubiquitous mid-century ranch houses, and I can understand that, but I doubt anyone would have expressed those sorts of opinions when such houses were new.

        1. TW says:

          >> “I highly doubt that anyone ever actually set out to construct a historic building…”

          Are you kidding me? Not only have architects throughout history striven to create structures that will last, and be known throughout the ages, some have gone so far as to ensure their works will continue to look good as ruins, thousands of years from now. Europe has its share of ruined cathedrals, and they don’t actually look as nice as ruined Greek and Roman temples. In light of this, much of what was built in the Nazi era in Germany intentionally envisioned the end-state of the building as ruins in the aesthetic considerations of their designs. Now, certainly this smacks of the worst kind of hubris, but nevertheless…

          I can’t imagine what planet you are from where you think that architects of any worth do not attempt to create works that will stand proudly in their historical context.

          OH RIGHT, you’re from West County.

  6. ppagano says:

    @samizdat – Excellent response(s).

    @Bryon – You obviously have some strong opinions, which is great. That said, it’s hard to take you seriously when your very first paragraph clearly shows that you don’t know the difference between large lakes and volatile rivers (and the term “surround”, for that matter). Likewise, your first paragraph mentions bridges yet omits any mention of James Eads. You should look up his work sometime; he designed a pretty significant bridge built right here in St. Louis (that’s still in use…139 years after it was completed).

    @Sue Castro – I don’t know that I’d call a population of 319,000+ (2010) “few and far between”, nor would I cite a stolen car as being the epitome of the crime that has apparently driven hundreds of thousands of people away from the city. Crime – including the stealing of cars – happens every day, everywhere. For what it’s worth, I’ve lived downtown, the CWE, South Grand, South Hampton, & Holly Hills…and never been the victim of crime in those neighborhoods or anywhere else in the city.

    Overall, the idea that a lack of “big” private money is the major detriment to St. Louis is a joke. That line of negative, unimaginative thinking – “we don’t have eleventy billion dollars, I guess there’s nothing we can do” – is the detriment.

  7. Bryon says:

    Those who have accused me of being or insinuated that I am a racist for pointing out gated communities full of $1-$4,000,000 homes mostly occupied by Jewish people obviously have fairly thin skin about anyone even mentioning that those areas exist. If the Hill had such gated communities, was bordered on 1/3 of the clock by what looked like a war zone and there were only Italian lawyers fronting the shill companies who were buying hundreds of properties in order to let them rot… I would have said “communities full of Italian people” instead. Check out my twitter profile https://twitter.com/stldesktop … I follow, am followed by and converse with probably more Jewish people than any other ethnicity. Many of them read this blog and know what? I’ve not heard a word from one of them about me being “shameful”.

    Take a look across Europe, here in the states in Chicago, NYC, SF… you don’t need a 200 IQ to know that a neighborhood is predominantly Italian when you see homes with rod iron on all of their doors and windows. Why is that a thing? I don’t quite know but it’s definitely a real thing. Look around the exact same places and who is living in gated, walled-off communities? Doesn’t appear to be a British, French, African, German, Japanese, Chinese or Hispanic thing does it? My view on this is that if you don’t want to be seen as an isolationist… then don’t isolate yourself, wall yourself off, set yourself “apart” and then claim that you don’t.

    Seriously, like Miles Davis said “Hold a little back. Don’t give it all away”.

    My main point, and what I was trying to get across earlier, is that St. Louis is beating a dead horse and certain communities have begun to take things into their own hands. For example, the north side has its own laws, vigilantes and even mercenaries. Some would call those gangs but let’s be real and extend to them the courtesy of a full English vocabulary. Why is isolationism becoming more and more of a thing? Because the greater community has broken down even amidst great efforts to sustain and rebuild the social safety nets. Just because Cherokee street or a few blocks of Delmar or Washington have become beaming rainbows of multi-cultural renaissance doesn’t mean that there are thousands of other blocks that haven’t.

    The city needs income and not just the movement of money from within. Just like water… when it sits it becomes stagnate. Stir it all you want and it’s still just stale and stagnate. There needs to be a flow, a refreshing movement of it. The coffee shops, clubs, restaurants and sports teams bring in what? Mostly money that is already here. What did Chrysler or Ford bring in? Money from sales all across the country. AB and Purina now owned by the Dutch and Swiss respectively. Still jobs, for sure, but a reduced amount of the income coming in from abroad stays. In other words that’s only half of the picture not a full refreshing.

    Consider the phrase A nation of shopkeepers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_of_shopkeepers

    For the most part that about sums up St. Louis. One guy in a shop staring across the street at another guy with a shop. Each isolated, walled off and waiting for the other to visit his shop first so that the very same dollar can pass hands yet again. Does anything get produced? Are they making any actual products? If anything, very little. Why? Because the only thing most individuals can afford to do is be retailers. A little tea from China, some cotton from America, gold from Africa… middle men in form and function living on margins alone. When people begin to embrace that stagnate form of isolationist economics it’s not long before outside investors dry up if for no other reason than necessity. But, thanks to our lucky stars, we’re all now able to pass around our $1 with a square white plastic device stuck into our iPhones! Oh joy.

  8. Sue Castro says:

    Well, this was certainly entertaining. For clarity, let me say that although I would never live in St. Louis again, I think it is by far the loveliest city in the nation. The architecture, the history, the very patina of St. Louis is magnificent. And I *am* sorry to see such splendid homes being torn down for whatever reason they are torn down. I’m grateful for Chris for keeping this blog up, just as I was for the Built St. Louis site.

  9. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

    Bryon –
    The person who “insinuated” that your writing appeared to be “a little bit ethnic” would be me.
    I know it – and you know it as well – that the religious identity of those who inhabit the area in question (or any area) is totally irrelevant to the topic. It no more identifies the area than mentioning the high proportion of Catholics (of Italian descent) who live on the Hill (forgetting the “old” name for the Hill) any more than mentioning the high proportion of Catholics (mostly Irish) who lived in Dogtown – where my relatives lived for many decades.

    Incidentally, you pretty much were hoist by your own petard when you wrote “full of Jewish people who are rolling in $s from incomes on Barnes, law offices, realty/management outfits or private investments.”

    If you would write of the history of bygone University City, for example, would you identify it as “mostly inhabited by Jews and Catholics who are rolling in dollars from middle management and WashU?”

    Your explanation of your association of a religion – any religion – with an area rings hollow.

    1. Bryon says:

      I never once, anywhere, mentioned religion nor did I imply one. If you feel a need to publicly interpret ethnic based groupings of people as religious in nature more so than cultural that is your thing not mine. To me the word sacred is simply tongue in cheek for insinuating that God plays favorites. He doesn’t and neither do I. Feel free take your finger off of that anti-semite trigger at any time 😉

      1. mark says:

        Didn’t you say this?

        “Sure a few blocks that cling to the north side of Forest Park still have gated communities full of Jewish people who are rolling in $s from incomes on Barnes, law offices, realty/management outfits or private investments but where else?”

        Or was that a different Bryon?

        1. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

          Perhaps Bryon would substitute “Sephardims” and “Ashkenazims” in lieu of “Jews?”
          If he emphasizes culture over religion, as he claims, then I’d think that would be more important.
          Of course, he COULD have just used “…full of people who are rolling in…” in his sentence…

          1. mark says:

            Perhaps he would, assuming he’s familiar with them, but I don’t think “culture” was on his mind. And you’re right, most of us would have used a term like “people” rather than “Jewish people,” because most of us really have no idea who is living in his “gated communities.” I wonder why Bryon assumes these “gated communities” are filled with “Jewish people” anyway.

          2. Bryon says:

            Nice to see you two teaming up in your efforts to crucify me. How ironic.

            Can’t say you didn’t walk right into that one 🙂

          3. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

            Bryon – your use of the word “crucify” in the context of the religion mentioned is itself ironic – and quite calculated.

            Mark – and myself – raised a perfectly valid question which you have failed to answer: “Why” did you use the term “Jewish people,” when 99.9% of commenters, as Mark pointed out, would have simply said “…people who are rolling…”. You must have had a reason to so identify those people.

        2. Bryon says:

          I’m still not seeing where I mentioned religion, mark. If you believe that being “Jewish” is, in and of itself, a religion then you might want to inform the 50+ million Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox (Eastern, Judaist, Russian, etc) and Buddhist Jews in the world that they already have a religion by birth and should denounce their faiths. Otherwise, you might just want to stfu.

          1. mark says:

            What the hell is a Catholic Jew? You clearly don’t even understand what “Jewish” means.

          2. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

            Bryon – when anyone uses the term “Jewish” to identify a group, that is identifying by their religion. A convert from Judaism to any other religion is, by definition, no longer a “Jew.”
            They might be an Ashkenazi Catholic or they might be a Sephardic Jehovah’s Witness, but they are no longer a “Jew.”

            By the way – what does your closing word of “stfu” mean? I’ve not seen that used in this Forum before.

          3. Bryon says:

            Tom… No. Many would like for it to be that way and many try their very best to make it appear that way but it is not so. When an Irish person converts to Mormonism from Catholicism they do not become *non-Irish*.

            This idea that Jewish people suffered more in the Holocaust than any other race has ever suffered … thereby somehow magically making them above reproach in any subject or place in society is insane, further it is insulting to all other races who have ever suffered. Their suffering was not any worse than the millions of Native American Indians, Africans, East Indians or Chinese under the British nor was it in a larger number. Yet, none of those races that I just mentioned account for *23.6% of the population of New York City. None of those races account for 50% of the personalities in mainstream media news be it television, print or digital media. None of those races account for the lion’s share of Hollywood ownership, it’s producers, actors, legal or clerical positions. Why? Because they don’t have a Holocaust industry to fall back on for near unanimous empathy or a Holocaust network to rely upon for nepotistic advancement from *within*.

            That all makes perfect sense. Why? Because none of those races ever told themselves or others for over 3,000 years that they are God’s favorite people nor did they attempt to convince other races that they are inferior simply because “God said so”. Those who do so are not only the very definition of racism but are in fact those who define the split between Zionist, such as yourself, and all other Jewish people who understand why historically when the Priests told Israel it was ok to kill other Mid East communities and take their things because they were *evil* it was always a Prophet who later negotiated their freedom. What’s so hard to understand about Christianity, which espouses that “Sons of Abraham can be made from stone” and relies on Prophets (not Priests) being a freeing belief system and Judaism, which purports that “You’re God’s chosen race and every other race are just dogs”, being the system which invited the actions of the Egyptians, Syrians, Babylonians, Romans and eventually Germans? How is that so difficult to understand?

            Do you think that God the Father and Michael (or “The Lord God”) are the same person? Do you believe that Michael, one of the chief Princes who stands for your people (as he is described in the book of Daniel by his messenger Gabriel), is a Leprechaun? Do you think that by Jacob wrestling a stranger to the ground and demanding a blessing until that stranger knocked his hip out of socket was a nice thing to do? Do you think that stranger didn’t know that Jacob had lied to his father Isaac and already stolen his brother’s blessing from the son of the man he himself had years earlier blessed? Do you think that stranger knew that Jacob would be crawling on his face to his brother the very next morning admitting that he had stolen from him what was first given by that stranger? Now… considering all of that consider what the word/name Israel means… it means “To struggle with God”. It is saying that that person has an issue, a problem, is a hard head and has a very difficult lesson yet to learn.

            Let’s move forward. Jacob’s 12 sons. 11 of them beat their brother, took his coat, threw him into a hole and left him for dead. Why? Because of jealousy. Nice guys. Lovely guys. Such respectful people indeed. Such moderate, understanding, diplomatic people. Each one convinced that they were God’s favorite! Beyond that each one, having learned directly from their father’s example, also believing that all they had to do was cheat a brother, lie to a brother or steal from a brother to become just like their father, in effect to become the next Jacob! I think you can see where this is headed. It’s headed to Michael telling Moses that he would sort many things out at his visitation. It’s headed to Jesus saying “I have not called you servants but friends” and giving 2 separate parables about how Israelis were [1] called to the feast so many times, never came and the master eventually opened up the invitation to *anyone who would come* echoing what Jeremiah 6 says and [2] having sent many servants (Prophets) to collect and being denied then finally sending his own son (Jesus) and they killed him which echoes many earlier prophets who spoke of the covenant being broken. Get the picture? Still Israeli’s, still in a struggle with God, still “His people”… but not now nor ever being “better” than anyone.

            Ever wonder why the Prophets would spend 40 days in sacks full of ashes lying on the ground outside of the cities? It was so the Priests would see them. The Priests who only spent a few moments a day caring for the ashes. It was God’s way of showing to the Priests that only those who wanted something to the point of dying for it were worthy, not those who did it like punching a clock, taking a lunch break and flippantly running through the paces. Add this up and it’s basically God’s way of saying “I’m not a slot machine. I’m not a number system that you can calculate or that has buttons you can push in some secret order. You don’t just pull my handle and I’ll spit out coins at a pre-determined interval”.

            Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwGJAQ2OMWg and pay close, no pay VERY close, attention to what Dr. Norman Finkelstein says about Judge Richard Goldstone and why the Israeli’s have such a hard time labeling him as an anti-semite, a self hating Jew or a Holocaust denier. The days of falling back on finger pointing and false claims of deep seeded hatred of Jewish people are drawing to a close. No longer will people like Billy Graham, Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomski, Norman Finkelstein, Marlon Brando or even Mel Gibson be quickly labeled and set aside or used as warning posts for others who are weary and fatigued by being treated like Isaac, Esau, Joseph, nearly all of the prophets, John the Baptist, Christ, his apostles or the countless thousands of others who didn’t buy into the clique of Salvation by association.

            Oh and stfu means “shut the fk up”.

            *see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City which states that NYC pop = 8,336,697 and see also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City#Demographics footnote [160] http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/world-jewish-population.htm#_Toc26172080 which states NYC Jewish pop = 1,970,000. … 1.9M is 23.6% of 8.337M.

          4. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

            Bryon –
            I could reply in several veins to your long and labored screed, but I will only ask:
            “Do you ever loan out your copy of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’?
            For that matter, how about any of your back issues of ‘ Der Strmer’?”

            Thanks for (almost) spelling out your definition of “stfu;” it told us a lot about you – as if your rant did not…

          5. Bryon says:

            Tom, I have hope for everyone no matter race or religion. The point is the two are separate. Once anyone starts believing that their race is superior, especially because their religion says so, bad things start happening. They begin to treat other races and religions as inferior. Others become resentful. It’s a mess just waiting to happen. It’s a slaughter of Canaanites by Israelis, it’s a slaughter of Native American Indians by the British, it’s a slaughter of Jewish people by Germans… it’s a never ending circle of hatred. What it is NOT is “I have called you friends not servants” nor is it “love your neighbor as yourself”. If you want to play the game of there being a *favorite race* then good luck convincing all of the other races of their inferiority. Just try not to freak out so much when that doesn’t work, it backfires and you are shown to be the racist standing there with a handful of “Anti-Me” cards you never got the chance to pass out.

          6. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

            Bryon –
            I would suggest you reread and actually think about what I’ve typed.
            NOWHERE did I suggest or recommend or hint or claim that any one race or ethnic group or nationality or religion was preeminent.
            I cannot imagine where you got that idea.

            This whole thread started when you, for obvious reasons as mentioned in later posts, characterized the bulk of a specific area as being populated by people of a specific religious conviction.
            You also characterized that specific group as being involved with specific occupations.
            You could have used the generic – and also accurate – description of “people,” as pointed out by “Mark” and myself. Yet you did not.
            The question, still tellingly unanswered, is why you chose those religious and job identifications.
            For that matter, where is the proof to back up your assertions?
            Did you take a poll? No.
            Did the Census Bureau provide your proof? No.

            Incidentally, Bryon – you might want to look up the national origin of my last name; of course, it exists also in the Arab Middle East and India and Pakistan as well as the Emerald Isle. Hmmm…

  10. Jenn, South City says:

    Hello All,
    All this back and forth is wearing on this crazy crackpot, so heres my two cents:

    I take in stray animals, give cash to beggars, keep an unfenced community garden, recycle as much household waste as possible, and support historic preservation. Someone has told me at some point that each of these things is a waste of time. That doesnt mean that I will stop doing what I think to be right.

    I dont have the answers and I dont have the money. I dont even have a college degree. But I do know that those who forget where they have been cannot know where they are going. The winding, tree-lined roads and office parks of the wealthy suburbs will not last forever, and to think they will is pure hubris. The Campbell house on Locust used to sit in such gilded splendor outside of the dirty, crime ridden city.

    Call me foolish, misguided, ignorant, stubborn, dense, and destined for failure. You wont be the first or last person to do so. I know that I cant save all the crumbling Victorian mansions and disappearing edifices of robber baron industry that are unremarkable and surrounded by crime. But I will still try, because I think it to be right.

    I <3 St. Louis Patina

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Thanks Jenn, well said.

    2. Andrew says:

      I have no illusions about McMansions or office parks lasting forever. But with the acknowledgement that such things are not permanent, there should also be acknowledgement of the hypocrisy in insisting that older things should be permanent. How many log cabins were demolished or allowed to crumble to as people moved to Victorian houses? How many of those were replaced (physically or in practice) by ranch houses? How many mid-century ranch houses were replaced by McMansions?

      People move and things change. I fail to see how that’s a problem, it sounds more like progress actually.

  11. Sue Castro says:

    Hmm.. actually, as someone of Jewish descent, I can say that while Judaism is a religion, being Jewish is a race. There are many Jewish people who are atheists, and many who are Messianic Jews, as myself. Just wanted to clarify that. God picked the Jewish people as His chosen race.

  12. Ron Jones says:

    I a 40 year old African-American male who was born on the Southside of St.louis..Lafayette to be exact. I was a stones throw from Compton Hill Reservoir Park. We as St.Louisans tend to take our city for granted and dont understand what beauty we have here in our own backyard. As I mentioned earlier in the opening, I was raised near Compton Hill Reservoir Park. The Compton Hill Water Tower, built in 1898, is the youngest of three remaining stand pipe-water towers in St. Louis. Whereas, in 1901, more than 423 stand pipe style water towers existed in the United States, as of 2008 only 7 remain standing, three of which are in St. Louis (the other two being the Bissell Tower and the Grand Avenue Water Tower located in North City.

    My family moved to the Walnut Park area when I was 7 years old and I remained there until the age of 12. At the age of 11, I attended Creve Coeur Elementary part of the famous DeSeg Program. A year later we packed up and moved further downtown to the Hype Park Neighborhood. I attended Parkway Northeast Middle School & Parkway North High school respectively. Ive always had one foot in the city and one foot in the county and at a very young age I noticed the difference. I would always ask questions but, I could never get a straight answer and I kept hearing different stories from the elders in my community of how St.Louis City was such a great place to live, but those days are long gone and people left the city and moved to greener pastures.

    The historian within myself kept searching for answers. Now 3 kids later and a brief stint at UMSL,I was turned onto a book titled: Mapping Decline: St.Louis and the fate of an American City by Colin E.Gordon- Ill give youll a brief synopsis of the book below.

    Once a thriving metropolis on the banks of the Mississippi, St. Louis, Missouri, is now a ghostly landscape of vacant houses, boarded-up storefronts, and abandoned factories. The Gateway City is, by any measure, one of the most depopulated, de-industrialized, and deeply segregated examples of American urban decay. “Not a typical city,” as one observer noted in the late 1970s, “but, like a Eugene O’Neill play, it shows a general condition in a stark and dramatic form.”

    Mapping Decline examines the causes and consequences of St. Louis’s urban crisis. It traces the complicity of private real estate restrictions, local planning and zoning, and federal housing policies in the “white flight” of people and wealth from the central city. And it traces the inadequacy–and often sheer folly–of a generation of urban renewal, in which even programs and resources aimed at eradicating blight in the city ended up encouraging flight to the suburbs. The urban crisis, as this study of St. Louis makes clear, is not just a consequence of economic and demographic change; it is also the most profound political failure of our recent history.

    Mapping Decline is the first history of a modern American city to combine extensive local archival research with the latest geographic information system (GIS) digital mapping techniques. More than 75 full-color maps–rendered from census data, archival sources, case law, and local planning and property records–illustrate, in often stark and dramatic ways, the still-unfolding political history of our neglected cities.A lot of the question your Bloggers might have can easily be answered in this book.

    Theres also a great DVD titled Brick by Chance and Fortune-A St.Louis Story that goes into great detail about the history of St.Louis architecture and the brick making industry that we created here in St.louis and how St.louis brick is the finest in the country because of the clay mounds we have here in our own backyard.

    Lets face the fact that St.louis is still being controlled by the old-guard who are clinging onto their purses tighter than an old lady standing at the Metro-Link station. St.louis 2013 is different than St.louis 1940. I now live in the Tower Grove area where I see tons of different nationalities. Young kids of today no nothing of the racism of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. If you truly love St.louis which I believe all your Bloggers do..then lets get to the ROOT of the problems here in St.louis. Lets talk about cities in the U.S. with a growing population and why are people moving there? Why are people moving to the suburbs vs living in the cities? Is it because of open spaces and better school districts?

    We need fresh new ideas and fresh new industry! St.louis does have some of the best brick structures in the country and yes brick thieves can contest to this fact because they travel far just to steal bricks, so it must be something we don’t know about our structures that other have taking the time to educate themselves on. These red brick structures need to be preserved and alot of these homes were built at the turn of the century and are still standing. Which goes to show you the craftsmanship that went into building the places.

    We as African-American, Jews, Hispanic, Asian’s and Caucasians and some point are going to have to sit down and equally devide the pie and allow everyone group as chance at the American Dream. St.Louis sits between two major rivers and the youth of today are waiting for a bright indiviual to come to the planet and lead us into the next century. I’m tired of hearing “FEAR” about what we cannot do.

    With a vision and man power…..Dubai sprang up out of what use to be a fishing port into a metropolis that would rival Chicago, New York and Paris. The future is ours and we just have to be open to new ideas. I’m ready to make a change for the better are you? (Jenn-SouthCity) you are a beautiful spirit and the world can use more people like you.

    Last Imagine if the St.Louis Cardinals had that same mentality…we would not be the second winningest team in the nation. St.Louis has a stream of talent sitting in pools..someone just needs to connect the pools to flow into a rivers….

    This is Ron Jones- and my email is ronn2nd@yahoo.com/ I’m looking to get with anyone who has the balls to move this city forward

    1. Jenn, South City says:

      Bravo Ron, and good luck to you! It seems that since our city is lacking both on big ideas and the resources to implement them, we brick huggers are left to make small changes to our own neighborhoods as best we can.

      I also live in the Tower Grove area, in a small pocket that was considered “sketchy” a few years ago. But then the neighborhood started a safety and beautification program – nothing much more than a few flowers, paint, and a neighborhood watch. But it made enough of difference that people felt safer and business picked up at the local establishments. More business in turn generating more tax dollars for things like the school across the street.

      Sure there have been setbacks along the way. But nothing worth having is ever easy to get.

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