Vernon Avenue West of Shaare Zedek, Revisited February 2022

I have been meaning to get back up to the Lewis Place neighborhood, one of the centers of the African American middle class in St. Louis. I looked at it extensively back in 2016, and I remember being amazed at its resiliency, the beauty of its housing stock sitting just blocks north of the Central West End, but also being deeply saddened by the creeping abandonment.

In particular, I wrote about the block of Vernon Avenue west of Shaare Zedek and how deeply concerned I was for its future.

My fears were not unfounded; when I went by on Saturday, I was shocked and how there were only two occupied houses left and what hadn’t been demolished was in a severe state of disrepair.

There is more demolition coming, and not surprisingly; would anyone expect the house above to make it to the point where rehabbers are going to be able to secure a loan and stabilize it? I’m deeply concerned about neighborhoods such as Lewis Place and streets such as Vernon Avenue.

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