The Horseshoe, Completely Gone

Update: By February 2017, the area had been completely transformed beyond recognition, with a large storm water retention pond having been constructed. Other portions of the street have become a parking lot for a church. There has been substantial demolition of buildings on the streets around the Horseshoe, as well.

I had the opportunity to get a ride up to the infamous Horseshoe, a section of one way street that loops around a desolate corner of Wells-Goodfellow.

I asked one of my students, a St. Louis police officer, about the area, and he informed me that he actually grew up on the Horseshoe, and its terrible, violent reputation was well deserved.

Sadly, what a developer had thought would be a perfect neighborhood where children could play in the streets without fear of vehicular traffic became a recipe for another kind of traffic. Since the street was one way, the police had to enter at the top of the Horseshoe, providing plenty of time for drug dealers on the lower half of the loop to be warned of their approach by their confederates.

The official explanation for the Horseshoe’s demolition was that it was in a flood plain and the land was needed for MSD’s use as a retention pond.

Maybe so, but I can’t help but think it worked out well that Wells-Goodfellow was finally rid of this street.

It’s so sad to see what was clearly a beautiful quiet oasis in the city to come to this. Every house is gone now.

Watch a sensationalized show about the area.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. I watched about 20 minutes of that video; to call it "sensationalized" is an understatement!I could picture someone in other areas seeing it and thinking "My company will NEVER transfer me to St. Louis – I will quit before then."Lots of irrelevant cut-and-paste in it.Note that I am not minimalizing the violence or the accuracy of the actual gang info.

  2. Chris says:

    I agree, Tom; the violence documented in the show was twenty years ago, but they tenuously link the present day with them. Do these gangs still exist? apparently yes, but it does a disservice to act like this is contemporary St. Louis

  3. I watched some of it, and all I could think was how glad I was that I didn't live in St. Louis anymore. As it is, STL is ranked, depending on who is doing the ranking, as either number 1 or 2 in crime per capita. And it's a shame because the city is so beautiful. Fact is, I think it still is contemporary St. Louis.

  4. samizdat says:

    Seeing as you don't live in the City anymore, and are unfamiliar with it most every way–beyond perhaps the hearsay and third-party gossip of fools–I don't think your judgement can be relied upon to provide a balanced or accurate picture of life in the City. Perhaps in the nabe you once lived, the acts of violent crime were somewhat common. They are not in mine, and my wife and I live in Dutchtown. We do hear gunshots, but I have come to the opinion that 100% of these occurrences that I am within earshot of arise from the insecurity and immaturity of the individuals responsible for them. As in, "Lol, I've got a gun, and that makes me a man, blam, blam". Haven't found too many gun owners–black, white or whatever–who are responsible for their weapons. BTW, my wife and I have not been victims of any criminal activity worth noting, and we have lived in the City–respectively–sixteen and nineteen years, including the past nine in Dutchtown for the both of us. As for the statistics you have quoted, my guess is that you are quoting that media marketing whore at Quinto Press, which puts out a notoriously and wildly inaccurate breakdown of data. Even the FBI has basically called bulls**t on this tool.

  5. joe says:

    I think the murder rate is skewed because of the size of STL. STL city limits are relatively small 62 square miles. STL is not in the top 150 in area in the country. Most folks living in STL city limits are poorer and disadvantaged. I have never been anywhere like STL that has so many cities and towns that operate independently in such a small area.

    I think a more telling stat would be the murder rate of Metro STL. Personally, I have never felt unsafe in STL the few years I have lived here. With the meth epidemic in America today, you can get killed anywhere at anytime by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Be alert and be smart and you are very safe in STL.

    1. admin says:

      I agree, Joe.

  6. Rolf says:

    I used to drop off a coworker to his house on that street in the late 90’s. Rough does not begin to explain that area. Always wondered if they would stop me at the other end. People always congregated on the south end at the stop sign. Needless to say, I rarely ever stopped there. Went on for a year or so, no one else would drop him off, not even taxis. Not sure if he sold his families house. Where are you Maurice?

  7. laisha says:

    Not too many places in the Lou scare me….but the horseshoe always has. It was infested with heroine addicts that sell crack to support their habbits….clearly not the only neighborhood on the northside or north county that is like that but yeah the young ones have no regards to life! Not only that you have to worry about st Louis city & county police doing the same stuff the criminals do….smh

  8. Chris says:

    I live in Atlanta now for twenty years. But a part of me has died because I grew up on the Horseshoe, even before the crimes hit in the early 90’s(5665 Hebert St.). I can pen point activity on every spot. And the t-bone alley….. Let’s just say you better know somebody walking through there……

  9. Bill says:

    I lived here, in Hebert Street when it was at its worse. I was about 6 years old and I have many stories to tell. I got away from it, went to college and am now an engineer living in Central West End. I have a story to tell.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Bill, I’m always interested in hearing stories from people who actually lived in and experienced the places I photograph. Please feel free to e-mail me at naffziger (at) gmail (dot) com.

  10. Justin says:

    Same here Bill, Ill buy you lunch or dinner and hearing your first-hand experiences. Please reach out at justinnealbrowne at hotmail dot com. Thank you and Happy Holidays everyone!

Leave a 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.