Update: See the second post in this series here and third post here.
Historic photographs prove the valley between Chouteau and Forest Park Avenue was never some Lafayette Square-type neighborhood full of beautiful houses that deteriorated into a wasteland. No, it was always a gritty, industrial, traintrack-laced warren where coal dust and smoke scarred the landscape.
In fact, it’s probably the cleanest it’s ever been since the 1870s, when the railroad pushed out the Mill Creek Valley from downtown. There are still some very cool old industrial buildings, most of which are in fact occupied, providing jobs and taxes to the city of St. Louis.
It’s not the most glamorous part of the city, and ironically, when we talk about the north-south divide in this city, I find it ironic since South City has always been cut off from the rest of St. Louis by the huge railyards and industrial area that lines it, only broached by huge bridges such as the old Grand Viaduct (which I hear was in bad shape when it was demolished).
Oh yes, I forgot to mention it!
Luxury condos are on their way! You too can live in the Mill Creek Valley, and watch the trains come rumbling by out your window as you prepare dinner on your granite countertops!
There are some great Streamline Modern buildings, as well.
East of Compton, there are some more cool buildings, with tenants catering to a clientele that do not worry about being in relatively remote and out-of-the-way locations.