St. Clair Avenue, Revisited

Update: I went back in July of 2020.

You can see the decades of the Twentieth Century pass by as you drive up St. Clair Avenue through East St. Louis out to Fairview Heights, where it changes its name to Lincoln Trail. I drove back on the road from Fairview Heights a couple of years ago, and I wanted to go back and see how it had changed.

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Past abandoned grain elevators, and the medium security prison, Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center, the American Bottoms spread out before the visitor.

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French Village, now famous for its demolished drive-in, really was an early settlement of French colonists. It is a 1950s crossroads, with a great sign for the motel.

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Heading up the bluffs from the river bottom, the 50s and 60s await. This Spanish Revival conference center or restaurant sits abandoned.

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The Trailway Motel is still operational, though now offering weekly rates.

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Update: The Denny’s was demolished by June of 2020.

This Denny’s is still empty, having ejected its second occupant, which I think was a Chinese restaurant the last time.

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It’s interesting to see how suburbia moved its way up the miles of bottomlands and forested bluffs before arriving at the crossroads that became a major shopping center. But just a block off the Lincoln Trail, a bean field remains.

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