The Environs Around JeffVanderLou

The theme this summer in many divested neighborhoods seems to be green, where plants and trees have grown up and swallowed buildings. I looked at some of these houses back in May of 2021. I’ve looked at this building before; I think of the story of the three little pigs, and which houses were blown…

3039 Doctor Martin Luther King Drive

I’ve always really liked this house, and how it tells a story through the layers that have been revealed over the years. I’ve photographed it at least once, back in 2012 (fourth picture down) and maybe more than that, but what is most striking about that almost decade-old photo is that the Formstone hasn’t fallen…

James Cool Papa Bell Collapses

When I heard about the collapse of a building on the Near North Side, I went and checked old posts to see if I could figure out which building the news was talking about. The street in question, the 2700 block of James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell Avenue, has deteriorated so badly since I first took…

Outtakes, Spring 2021

They’re cleaning up the ruins of the John Loler House relatively quickly, though I was a little worried to see workers standing on the wood floors now loaded up with the debris of bricks and limestone as they stacked pallets. I had some leftover photographs from when I visited Dunbar Elementary this winter. I’ve always…

Dunbar Elementary School

Originally opened as the William B. Glasgow Elementary School in 1912, this school is now known as Dunbar. Designed by William B. Ittner, and it is a great example of the Tudor Revival period in the architecture firm’s history. It reminds me of the designs for Horace Mann and Mullanphy Elementary schools in the southern…

Near North Side, Early May, 2020

I love this corner storefront on Cass Avenue. It looks like it once had a turret that was higher, as there is no decorative terracotta on its parapet. I suppose it was removed at some point. It has sat abandoned and boarded up as long as I can remember. I looked at this building back…

The Wall, Back from the Dead

Update: Here is a piece written by a resident of the Ville neighborhood explaining why the name Homer G. Phillips is so sacred to African Americans in St. Louis. The wall was taken down by construction workers in late 2020. Remember the preposterous wall that was knocked over in high winds on the site of…

North St. Louis, Late Summer, 2019

I met new people all over North St. Louis this summer, including members of the congregation of the Original Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in the Ville neighborhood, on St. Louis Avenue. Better Family Life had organized dozens of churches to host barbecues all summer long, and the Church had been one of the participants. I…

North Broadway, Near and Far North Riverfront, Summer 2019

North Broadway never ceases to fascinate me. As usual, I refer to it as a street, and also an area. For example, the above and following two photos are on or around Holly Avenue. The image of east of Broadway, if you have one, is usually one of warehouses, factories, or sadly, abandonment. It is…