There are many tags on this site that don’t fit into any of the categories neatly. They’re not neighborhoods, cities or counties. But many of them are families, famous businesses or churches, along with what I might call general interest. Here they are, organized into sub-categories.
Pretty self-explanatory, these are tags that I use frequently for various subjects.
Normally, my posts simply show a new neighborhood or building I’ve discovered or revisited, but Commentary posts are times when I look at various topics and voice my opinion on urban and architectural issues.
Those moments, both good and bad, that encapsulate the American experience in St. Louis. Click on the Americana tag to see what I’ve discovered people doing around the city and elsewhere.
Pretty self-explanatory: every year, and every five hundred posts, I write up a special entry. Anniversary Posts go all the way back to my third anniversary.
There are a lot of great people around St. Louis that make this a special city. Cool People is the tag I use when I feature one of those people every so often.
They Don’t Build Them Like They Used To
While there are still many skilled and hard working craftspeople in America, the simple fact is that there’s a lot of poorly built garbage being built out there in modern America. They Don’t Build Them Like They Used To is a series that focuses on the lost pride in quality in this country.
Northside TIF (Blairmont)
One of the few tags to actually change names over the years, this one documents the horrible, inept and failed urban redevelopment of Paul McKee, whose Northside TIF development has now been stumbling along for over a decade. Originally called Blairmont because of one of the shell companies that bought up properties anonymously.
St. Louis is famous for its beer, and the city once boasted (and perhaps again today) over forty breweries. Originally drawn to the large German population in the city, and aided by caverns on the South Side altered into lagering cellars, St. Louis’s breweries pioneered the use of refrigerated rail cars, pasteurization and national marketing.
Anheuser Busch Brewery
Perhaps one of the most famous breweries and companies in the world, the Anheuser-Busch Brewery still dominates the Soulard neighborhood of South St. Louis. The massive, Romanesque Revival brewery buildings, particularly the brew house are icons in the city. Of course, the Busch family, starting with Adolphus, created this incredible St. Louis icon, steering the company through Prohibition to become the largest brewing company in the world.
Founded by Adam Lemp before the Civil War, the Lemp Brewery produced more beer than even Anheuser-Busch for decades. Outfitted in a brand new, state of the art brewery on Cherokee Street, the Lemp family grew fabulously wealthy, building Lemp mansions in the city and out in the county. The main patrilineal line is extinct today, but St. Louis’s fascination with this tragic German family of brewers is stronger than ever.
Originally produced by the Lemp Brewery before Prohibition, the label was revived by the Griesedieck family, long an august brewing family in St. Louis, owning various breweries such as the National Brewing Company and Griesedieck Brothers. The Falstaff Brewing Company rose to third place in national sales in the 1960s, before the brewery collapsed in the 1970s. Today, the family still brews Griesedieck Bros. Beer.
This is a mixture of monuments, streets and places in St. Louis that don’t fit into nice, neat categorization. But they all have a special character and importance that warrants my attention.
Gravois Avenue and Road
Beginning just south of downtown, Gravois Avenue, which turns to Gravois Road at the city/county line, heads southwest through the heart of the South Side. Originally an old dirt path, eventually some of the most iconic landmarks of the city rose up along Gravois, from breweries to St. Francis de Sales to Bevo Mill.
Sometime, very early in the life of this site, I created a separate tag for that desolate, fascinating and architecturally rich stretch of industrial buildings and lone houses that is North Broadway. I still love driving down the empty street, admiring the old warehouses and remnants of long-vanished neighborhoods.
St. Louis Avenue
Really a cobbling together of multiple streets, St. Louis Avenue stretches from North Second Street near the Near North Riverfront all the way to the west in Wells-Goodfellow, where it ends in an abandoned overgrown industrial site. Along the way, the two-lane street passes through a cross section of the North Side, with stately mansions in St. Louis Place, parks, apartments, the historic Ville, and desolation.
I’d long considered creating a special tag for this wonderful stretch of incredibly well-preserved mid to late-Nineteenth Century St. Louis streetscape. While there have been some losses, and some interesting Twentieth Century additions, I still find South Jefferson one of the most beautiful major thoroughfares in the city.
Once just another street in the Petit Prairie, a streetcar line changed the destiny of Cherokee Street forever. After its bustling commercial days ended, Mexican immigrants arrived, bringing new vitality to the street. Now, artists and other young people have begun to open businesses along the revitalized corridor that runs through five South St. Louis neighborhoods.
Stretching from Grand Center all the way to Skinker Boulevard, Lindell Boulevard passes through the heart of St. Louis. Along its path can be seen some of the city’s major institutions, including two universities, a cathedral, numerous theaters, dozens of mansions, venerable hotels and lavish apartment buildings that the elite of St. Louis history once called home.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Known to most locals as simple the Arch, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is actually a cluster of several buildings, including the Gateway Arch, and the Old Courthouse. Demolition of the original town grid of St. Louis in the 1930s created the land for the large monumental park that now composes of the land between between I-44 and the Mississippi River.
An attempt to create a grand ceremonial spine going through the heart of St. Louis, the Gateway Mall never quite turned out the way that its planners during the City Beautiful Movement had intended it. Once planned to stretch all the way to Grand Boulevard, it ends unceremoniously at the aborted Highway 755 interchange in western downtown, but the Old Courthouse and Civil Courthouse stand in the center, with the Gateway Arch anchoring the eastern end.
Down below what was once the heart of the city, where hundreds of thousands of people first stepped foot in St. Louis, or worked for generation, is now largely vacant. It extends up and down in front of the Arch, and to the north and south a little ways. The Levee is a relic of the city’s steamboat past, and one replaced by the railroads.
Named after the creek that ran east from the hills of Central St. Louis, Mill Creek was dammed and turned into a mill pond. When it was drained, it was replaced with rail yards. Nowadays, it refers to the thriving but impoverished African-American community that filled the buildings west of Union Station, and sometimes also called the Chestnut Valley due to the nearby thoroughfare.
St. Louis is a city of incredibly beautiful historic churches, and these are some of the more notable of these structures. Almost all are threatened with demolition, or finally were destroyed in the last decade.
St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church
The giant German parish on Lismore in the St. Louis Place neighborhood, the former St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church sits abandoned, vandalized and ravaged by thieves. The huge Gothic Revival structure towers over desolate blocks of ruined houses and vacant lots. Damaged by fire the evening of December 8, 2022; will help come to save my favorite church in time?
St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Oratory
One of the tallest spires in the world anchors this massive church, now an oratory. But once it housed a thousands-strong congregation of German Catholics who worked and owned the breweries in Dutchtown and the South Side. St. Francis De Sales Roman Catholic Oratory is a treasure in the Fox Park neighborhood on Gravois Avenue.
St. Liborius Roman Catholic Church
Sitting at a prime location on North Market in the St. Louis Place neighborhood, St. Liborius Roman Catholic Church was closed decades ago. It lost the top of its open-work spire a half century ago, and is still occupied by a group of artists. Like many German parishes, it hemorrhaged parishioners in the late Twentieth Century. Converted into SK8 Liborius, an indoor skatepark and arts center, it was gutted by fire in late June of 2023. Its future remains uncertain.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
Demolished in 2014, Bethlehem Evangelisch Lutheran Church served as a beacon and major landmark throughout the Hyde Park neighborhood. Foolishly destroyed through lack of maintenance, the church represented the large Lutheran population that once lived in the city.
Rock Hill Presbyterian Church
Demolished in 2012, Rock Hill Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill was originally built by slaves owned by James Marshall, whose Fairfax House also sat on the property and is extant. After a fire in the 1930s, the church was renovated in a Gothic Revival style, and then received a Modernist Sunday School wing in the mid-Twentieth Century. The church was demolished and the house was moved for a gas station in 2012; a small memorial marks the site at the northeast corner of McKnight and Manchester roads.
Crumby Run Down Malls of St. Louis
1) St. Louis Centre
2) Crestwood Mall
3) River Roads Mall
St. Louis Mills
5) Northwest Plaza
6) Chesterfield Mall