Olivette Park, East St. Louis

Katherine Dunham Museum 056

In a city of old wood frame homes, the buildings of Olivette Park stand out in their brick construction. The vitality of the neighborhood can be seen in these handsome buildings, such as this old synagogue.

Katherine Dunham Museum 057

Below, this apartment building looks like something that could easily fit in the Central West End.

Katherine Dunham Museum 058

Below, these houses were once owned by Katherine Dunham.

Katherine Dunham Museum 059 Katherine Dunham Museum 060

11 Comments Add yours

  1. David Mathis says:

    When we were kids, we used to live in East St Louis. We lived there from 1956 to 1966. The “synagogue” was a Christian Science church as I recall. It was on Summit Street and (I think) Washington Street. It was across the street from Longfellow Elementary School. The house my parents rented from 1963 to 1964 was next door to that church. It was on Summit Street. There was also a little store run by a guy we called “Ootsey”. The store, house, and school are gone. That old church is all that remains. I remember we built a huge snow fort in front of the church one year. Good memories.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Thanks, that makes a lot of sense architecturally. Christian Scientist churches often looked like that design, as evidenced by the ones on the Missouri side.

    2. Ed S says:

      Utzi Hartstein would deliver groceries to your home on a regular basis. My grandmother would call in her order once a week. I remember her asking how certain cuts of meat were, what was on sale and so on. During those times Wurth Dairy would deliver milk to your house as well. How times were changed when the new A&P supermarket was built at the Shop City Plaza
      The apartment building was, as I recollect, at 1402 Summit. Above the door it read “Murphy Apartments.” Across the street was a city park known as “Sunken Garden” because it was below the street level.

      1. Mike says:

        I googled 1402 Summit and the boarded up apartment building with the words “Murphy Apt” appears. I also went to http://www.findagrave.com and looked up Ulzi Hartstein, but didn’t have any success. There are Hartstein families in Missouri, but no one with that first name. Maybe it was a nickname.

  2. Terry Garrett says:

    Those last two photos look like they were taken on Bond Avenue. They look just like the homes across from Gateway Baptist. If not, where were they captured?

    Do you have any current photos of the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge? I saw the photos of the interior posted by KDSK-TV a couple of years ago
    is there anything happening at the old Alcoa plant, since the solar energy plant failed?

    I was there at the end of May for my Grandparents anniversary, but didn’t get to explore at all, so that’s why i’m wondering.


    One last question………………
    When are you going to get published, your photo work is really good?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Terry, thank you for your kind words on my photography. The most recent photos of the Chain of Rocks were the ones you saw.

      The houses in these posts were all on side streets, perpendicular to Bond Avenue, but very close to that major thoroughfare. Did your family live in ESL, originally?

  3. Donna Juarez says:

    I enjoyed the photos. I went to Longfellow Elementary School. My first grade teacher was Miss Steele, she was strict, she paddled me one time. I lived at 723 N. 16th Street.

  4. Mark Smithson says:

    Chris, I too was born in East St. Louis and we lived in the neighborhood where Utzi’s store was. I never had a last name for him until I found this article. I have a few photos of him because one of my aunts dated him briefly. Let me know if you would like a copy and a location to upload/email it to.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Mark, I would love to see the pictures! I’m always trying to get a better idea of what East St. Louis was/is like. You can email them to naffziger (at) gmail (dot) com.

    2. Bob Nugent says:

      I lived on 14th st you could see Longfellow market from our back door. I knew Utzi and his mom and dad, they lived a couple of blocks from the store on Veronica place. I would love to see the pictures of utzi. Last time I saw him he was working at Illinois cash market. My email is rjnnugent@hotmail.com if you could send pics of utzi my name is Bob Nugent

  5. Leslie Smith says:

    We are starting up a Community Development Corporation in an area of ESL and we are told is Olivette Park however we can not find any maps. We would like to possibly encompass the entire Olivette Park area but we need to know it’s footprint. Any assistance from anyone on this would be great! We have looked at the county parcel map and it lists many additions to ESL however none are called Olivette Park and the parcels you have in these pictures are just listed as ESL platted town which makes me wonder if maybe the original town was dubbed Olivette Park.

Leave a Reply to Chris Naffziger Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.