Harris Avenue Between Green Lea Place and Penrose Street

I have long said that this website is about giving an honest picture of all of St. Louis, showing that much of the City is unfairly stigmatized and stereotyped. I stand by that. Occasionally, however, I come across an isolated corner of the region where I am deeply distressed by what I see.

One such street is Harris Avenue, in between Green Lea Place on the northeast end and Penrose Street to the southwest. It is lined with beautiful homes, but many are abandoned, their roofs missing, and a huge amount of litter just covering the streets in front. This is also one of the few times in close to thirteen years where we agreed we needed to stop taking photos and just keep walking.

But what concerned me more is that there is something much more sinister going on in this street, and I while I could just walk away from it, I want my readers to realize that for many people, life is not so simple.

Many of the people living in this area are elderly and/or poor and/or disabled, and they’re stuck, and no, not everyone in the world has someone who they can turn to to escape the most dangerous neighborhoods of this region.

Eventually all these houses will be abandoned, will collapse or be demolished, and the problems will move on to a new community.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I experienced something similar recently. I was photographing a school at Green Lea & Fair and some guys began yelling at me from a nearby porch. In all of my North City exploring that was literally first time I’d ever felt unsafe or unwelcome.

  2. Jtw says:

    I’m curious about your ” much more sinister” comment…..I have worked on a lot of homes on the north side until recently, earlier this year I began to feel unsafe over there, something I hadn’t really thought much about…..for me anyway, this feeling that something is different is going to keep me away…..

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      There was obvious gang presence that was far open and menacing than any other place in St. Louis that I’ve visited–including anywhere in North St. Louis. I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling as safe to work on homes in North Side neighborhoods after years of doing so; it’s been my experience as well in the last year.

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