North of Delmar, west of Jefferson is a very important part of St. Louis’s architectural history.
Why? Because it represents an era of St. Louis history that was almost entirely demolished in the first half of the Twentieth Century, first by the commercialization of the central corridor of the city, and then by urban renewal that swept away large amounts of the oldest parts of the city.
But just northwest of downtown, the relics of St. Louis’s post-Civil Wat residential character cling to life, but only barely.
Though devoid of major landmarks, and bypassed by major avenues to the north and south, this part of the city should be highly desirable due to its close proximity to to downtown and Grand Center.
But it sits in isolation, blocked off streets preventing the natural movements of automobiles and mass transit through the area, with large swaths of vacant land permeating the area.
I distinctly remember this area in the 1980’s, when my family visited a church in the area. It was a maze of completely intact, though probably partly abandoned rows of houses, giving the sense of a real neighborhood.
Just to the east is the former Pruitt-Igoe housing project site. Older housing stock, such as Second Empire and Italianate houses are now increasingly rare in the city, and are primarily found in neighborhoods like Benton Park or Soulard.
Will help come to this neighborhood before the remnants are swept away and forgotten forever? Sadly, I have a bad feeling it will not.