Fout Place, July 2023

I thought I would check up on the house at Fout Place and see how–oh wait, what am I talking about? Of course it’s doing terrible, just like the last six times I visited!

I’ll have to admit recently I’ve gotten really burned out taking photos of abandoned, burned out and collapsing buildings. As I drove down the street taking pictures of Lee Avenue in the Fairgrounds neighborhood, which is easily one of the most devastated areas in St. Louis, I wondered why I am even bothering? Little changes, other than a few more houses collapse, or the most exciting thing that happens is some historic building goes up in spectacular flames. Or maybe some faux-historic ornamental street lights get installed.

So in the future, we’re going to be looking at more South St. Louis and St. Louis County neighborhoods that I’ve been neglecting over the last sixteen years, some of which have less than ten posts out of the over 5,500 that I’ve written. Lindenwood Park literally has two posts after a decade and a half! Also, I’ve been increasingly interested in documenting historic sites in St. Charles County, considering it is the fastest growing part of the region and much of the past could be erased by suburbia soon. Doesn’t it seem logical to have more balance? I do, and now it’s time to focus on more of the city and region.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Dorris Keeven Franke says:

    You are always welcome in St Charles County Start in OFallon or St Peters though.

  2. Yoji says:

    I understand and support your choice, Chris. I’m sure the great majority of those that follow you do as well.
    Despite your attention to deteriorating neighborhoods, you’ve never fallen into the “ruin-porn” rut. This is a step that allows you to continue to avoid that pitfall.
    Suggestion: to keep one aesthetic and civic foot in the North Side, perhaps you could focus on single, particular individuals or families dedicated to successfully maintaining or improving their properties, no matter how humble.
    Take the camera inside. Shake hands. Record conversations. Document exteriors more thoroughly, along with interiors with permission, without being invasive.
    At any rate — much respect and support from this quarter.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      I’ve definitely been talking to some of my friends in North St. Louis, and I’ve been wanting to feature their stories more in the future. I’ve actually written several St. Louis Magazine stories over the years. Oral histories are high on my list (once I figure out how to upload them here!)

  3. Jonathan Wiegraffe says:

    I for one love your posts and learning about parts of the city that are mostly forgotten. I would love to hear more about the history of the rest of the region however. I specifically would like you to dive into the history of some of the historic homes in Florissant. That one municipality has like half of the buildings on the National Register of Historic Buildings in St. Louis County according to the wikipedia page. The Reeb house (one of 2 Second Empire homes in Florissant) was recently gutted by arson; a real travesty. The historical society is looking for help in restoring it because the outside is mostly in tact. There are other historic buildings that need renovation and they are quite affordable compared to other areas of the county. It’d be great for others outside our pocket of North County to see the beauty of the neighborhood and diminish some of the stereotypes.
    Taille De Noyer could use a spotlight as well. I don’t think many people realize the history of slavery plantations in North County.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Funny you should mention Florissant! Stay tuned…

  4. Mark Preston says:

    Despite your despond over the deterioration of irreplaceable housing stock, you are doing Yeoman’s work chronicling the City. I can only suggest getting some pictures of Soulard, block by block. There time has stood still.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      I definitely love Soulard. I might back there sometime soon.

  5. Joshua Vise says:

    I recommend Columbia, Illinois. There are quite a few historic buildings in the neighborhoods surrounding Main Street, including homes and buisinesses.

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